|[this has nothing to do with anything, I just needed a picture]|
A few weeks ago a student and I were talking and she said something that resulted in me commenting, “Now I’m tying to decide if I’d want to be friends with myself…” And so I started writing a little blurb on Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts not long ago and it ended up being the basis for a stand-alone post. So, here we are. And I know that there are many parties, close and far, young and old, who might take this personally (as we all do when things are posted by people we know on the internet!), but it’s really the simple musings that resulted from a casual conversation.
And here we are.
Would I want to be friends with myself? The short answer is yes, yes I would. And the simple reason is because I don’t expect things from others that are more than I am able, or willing, to give to them of myself. I also don’t expect my friends to give more than what is realistic for their lives. For example, one person may be able to meet for breakfast once a month, while someone else has life obligations that make getting together more than a few times a year tough. And I get that, and it’s cool. I love both people.
I don’t expect friends to respond to my texts within minutes, make a big deal about my birthday, ask me how Sawyer’s well-baby check up went, know exactly what my husband does for a living, or be able to tell me how old each of my siblings are and what they’re up to. I do expect friends to let me know if they’re running late, not sell my secrets on the internet, refrain from harming my loved ones, return my books back in the condition they were lent, and answer important texts within a week or so. I’d prefer they’d tell me if I have something stuck in my teeth and not be intellectually, culturally, or emotionally stunted (perhaps one of the three is permissible). I’d hope that if I had a true problem I needed help with they’d listen and that if someone super important to me died they’d go to the funeral or at least meet me later for a drink or huge bowl of ice cream. I know it sounds like the bar is not set high, but, frankly, my friends are my friends because of who they are. Maybe it’s because of similar interests, shared experiences, personality connections, or because we are a damn fun time together (well, maybe before we had kids). And it’s not to say that my friends don’t go above and beyond, because many of them have and do, it’s just that I don’t expect them to and don’t hold it against them if they don’t. We’re busy. We’re tired. We’re distracted. I get it. It’s okay.
But am I the Universal Best Friend? Definitely not. I’m not going to offer to help you move, paint, or drive you to LAX for you six am flight (but if you ask I’ll be there after I’ve sufficiently caffeinated... just don't expect great conversation). I can be deeply private, I am prone to playing the devil’s advocate, and I frequently have to coordinate around childcare. I’m going to probably decline going to your Pampered Chef Party and will refuse to wander around antique stores with your boring out-of-town aunt. I don’t use emojiis, Snapchat, or go to those wine drinking while painting parties, either. I might notice a Facebook status that I should respond with some sort of emotion to, but forget to do so until so much time has gone by it’s obvious that I’ve dropped the ball. I sometimes forget to ask people how their weekends, their vacations, or their family gatherings went. So, yes, the deficiencies are aplenty. I'm aware.
But here’s something else to ponder- I think it’s important to have friends that are different than I am. Just like when you select a significant other, opposites attract, at least a little, anyway. But I think this idea, of wanting to be your own friend, can extend into other important questions. Would you want to be your own daughter? Would you want your child to have a teacher like you (or whatever the professional equivalent is in your field)? Whatever hats you wear, would you like to be on the other end of the equation and have to deal with yourself? It’s an interesting way to reflect, that’s for sure.
So, yes, while admittedly flawed, the answer is yes, I would like to be my own friend. Even if I wouldn’t help myself move.