Sunday, February 6, 2011

Friends

All my life, close friends have been hard to find, and easy to lose.

I think I would be the most loyal of friends. If everyone is putting my friend down, I would stand up for her. If she told me something in confidence, I would never reveal it. If I saw a chance to take advantage of her, I would spurn the thought.

I get wistful when I see a hanging on someone's wall that says, "Friends Forever". I've lived 52 years and have never received such a gift. On the other hand, I would feel it presumptuous to give such a gift to someone else.

I've always wondered what was 'wrong' with me. Do I even understand what friendship is? Do I have unusual and unrealistic expectations? Would I recognize a friend if one were to present herself?

I have friends...195 of them on Facebook at the last count. Obviously that's not what I mean when I say I don't have a friend. I don't have a 'close' friend.

A close friend can't be long distance. A close friend can't be unaware of what I'm hurting over, or what I'm really and justifiably worried about. I can't find out later they had a crisis and I was the last to know.

I have a coworker I talk to at work, mostly about the job. We vent our frustrations to each other, but when quitting time comes, I know I won't have any contact with her (other than FB) until the next working day. Should she move to another position, which is her current goal, I will probably never see her again, unless I should run into her at Wal-Mart.

I'm not big on social gatherings, but I would enjoy someone to go to get coffee with, someone with whom I have an ongoing relationship, someone who knows the current goings on in my life (and visa-versa). Someone who won't settle for "I'm fine" when she asks me. Someone who won't think I'm being nosy when I won't settle for 'I'm fine' from her, either.

I can imagine what such a friendship might be like. I've written hundreds of pages of stories about characters who are friends. It's fantasy. Does anything like that actually exist?

And then I read that the older you get, the more unlikely it is a person will gain a close friend if they don't already have one. That's depressing.

My Aspiness must make people think I don't care for them. Or maybe I come across as weird. I don't like to look deeply into someone's eyes. I don't care to gossip with them. Sometimes I don't know what to say next in a conversation. Sometimes I'm distracted or anxious. Often I can't discern their body language.

But there's a loyal, devoted, caring friend inside me. Someday, maybe, I will have an opportunity to let her out.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tabitha,
    it's a pity you are so far away, in Alaska! We have a great deal in common, and it was the friendship issue that nudged me into finally putting together all the pieces of the puzzle to the point where the picture emerged... I don't just have a lot in common with people on the spectrum, I do actually have Aspergers. That was after losing my one really close friend (who probably also was an aspie, and whose daughter almost certainly is) to secondary breast cancer. It has been about two months now of reading and getting my head around it, but it's as though all the inexplicably confused interactions with other people suddenly make sense. What is emerging as really positive is that now I understand what may actually be different about me, I am able to understand the other person's "strange behaviour" a little better and make more objective decisions about my own interaction with them. Oh, if only they could appreciate how hard I am working at it!! But I wonder if I will ever again be able to make a close friend. I am 56 years old, parent of one daughter, musician and married to a lovely man who is my second husband. All that is happy stuff. But I miss that friendship every day.

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