Seven totally uninteresting because I am not at a fancy blogging conference takes
I've submitted my resignation

Have you hugged your best friend today?

I am not the best friend. 

I'm not very good at helping, for one thing. You know those people who bring meals or clean up the dishes or watch kids? They suggest they do these things before you even hope that they'll offer? Yeah, I'm not one of those. I will bring you lasagna, but more like a month or two after you've had your baby, and chances are it won't be very good, because I'm talentless in the kitchen. 

I hardly ever know the right thing to say. I know people who do. They're amazing. When they listen it's like they're tuned into the right station, the one where you are saying exactly what you mean and everyone understands you. They hear what you mean for for them to hear, and the things they say are the things you need. I'm the one who listens, who listens hard, but who can't figure out which of the nine thousand things I'm thinking and feeling is the one that needs to come out. So most of the time I say nothing. Or I murmur sympathetically. I'm pretty good at that.

I'm selfish with my time. Sometimes I'm available, but I don't want to go anywhere. Or talk to anyone. I'm an introvert, albeit a pretty social one (it's possible!), and I'm hardly ever unhappy with my own company. I can find a million things to do on my own and it's a long time before I miss the sound of someone else's voice. I jealously guard my free hours. I'm discerning with my weekends. I love you, but I don't need to hang out with you all the time. 

I'm awkward in groups. I would rather - SO much rather - hang out with Just You, than you and other people. I can't compete with them. I know I'm not the best friend, so I need to maximize my opportunities. That's really all it is, you know. I'm at my best with Just You. I can sit and talk to Just You for hours, honestly. But when there are others around, I get anxious. Sometimes it's really fun, so I keep trying. But sometimes it's exhausting. Sometimes I come home feeling so out of sorts, so disappointed, so confused about how it all worked out. 

I'm a dork, too. Everyone has their dork subjects, I know, but I tend to think mine are dorkier than yours. Practically no one I know blogs, yet I can wax rhapsodic on Blogs, my Blog Friends, my Favorite Reads, and The Latest Blogging Gossip until your ears bleed. I'm sorry. It's awful. Same goes for whatever stupid thing I'm currently hooked on, like the enneagram or that article in the New Yorker or that new thing I learned how to do with CSS or that earthshakingly important revelation I had while packing up my grandmother's china. Sometimes I'm trying to find out if you're a dork too and sometimes you are and that is a happy moment indeed. Other times I just feel like a... dork. 

I am, I know, all sorts of other things I don't even know to name. 

I'm not as unhelpful and silent and withdrawn and awkward and dorky as I used to be. I feel like I know what people mean, now, about getting to know yourself. There's a difference now, there is. I'm no longer afraid to show myself. I can handle it. And I don't worry about that label 'best friend'. I don't have to figure out which friend is my best one. I don't have to figure out which friend thinks I'm her best. Honestly, the last time I had a best friend was three schools ago. 

But I have best friends. I do. I have this group of women who - and I honestly and truly believe this - God was saving up for me way back when I was a lonely unhappy fifteen-year-old kid, with plenty of friends, none of them good, sitting in her bedroom closet praying for a real friend. A best friend.

If only I'd known that on my third day on campus I'd get a knock on my door inviting me to a new student barbecue and twelve years later we'd be driving somewhere and she'd say, "When we're old, we should totally get rooms next to each other in the nursing home." That when my first child is born and my mom is halfway across the world, my dishes get done, my refrigerator gets filled, I'll shower and nap without even noticing how it happened, certainly without having asked for help. That we'll almost miss our flight because we're so busy talking. That when she moves back home I'll feel like my arm is chopped off, and I'll cry like it too. That there will be a wedding I can't even imagine not attending.

These people help. They know the right thing to say. I am not afraid of being the third wheel, because there's no such thing. They bring me out of my awkwardness. They tolerate and even engage the dorkness. They are nicer and better people, more likeable and friendlier and, let's face it, so much better looking than I am. So yeah, I am not a best friend, but I am inexplicably blessed to know people who are. 

I hope you have a few of these in your life too. Bonus points if they are the types to not pass judgment if you spend every hour of your 48-hour girls' weekend away stuffing your face with assorted baked goods.  

Comments

Christina

My throat got tight reading this. I can relate - being a self-centered unhelpful type myself and a dork too - it really is such a blessing to have friends who you can be your real self with and know that they will be there for you. If only we really could live next door to our best friends...

Brittany

I can relate to this. I am socially awkward in groups, and I'm also a little antisocial... I like being by myself, too. The way we move with the military has been in some ways really hard on me, because I don't make friends easily, and also strangely suited to me, because I'm ok not immediately knowing anyone in my new area. I wish I was physically close to some of the true, close friends I have.

Christiana

Isn't it interesting how truly rare one of those people who can do all those things really is? I have a couple of people I would put in my "best friend" category, but really, with the exception of my husband, there are some major flaws in my friends if this is the definition of a best friend.

I was a better friend (especially by this definition) before I had kid(s). I now focus way more on my child and her needs (soon to be children! argh!) than the needs of my friends. I was the friend who came over the day my best friend's husband left her without warning 3 weeks after their son was born. I cleaned her kitchen and made her food and sat with her all night, making bottles when the baby was hungry and holding her hand so she didn't have to be alone. I brought dinners to my friends within a week of them having their kids (I was the last one to have kids in our group) and brought thoughtful gifts their kids, etc. I was always up for helping them out when they wanted to go to Wal-mart or the mall 3 days before Christmas and basically needed a glorified babysitter to help them w/ their kids while they shopped.

But now? Not so much. My toddler has a naptime that is a priority. Her addiction to Sesame St will make me late for a play date, etc. I still bring meals for my newly babied friends, but it might be take-out instead of homecooked and (thankfully this hasn't come up again) I don't know how flexible I would be able to be if my friend had a crisis like when her husband left her - I'd like to think I'd do something about it, but it might have to wait until my kid is in bed or whatever...

Life happens. (hmm, I wonder if this is a good topic for my 300 words...)

Jess

I have several friends like this, but I'm greedy because I want one more. And I want the new one to be local. All of mine are so far away. Hmph.

Amy --- Just A Titch

First of all, HI, YOU'RE WAY HARD ON YOURSELF. When I think of you, I think of your friendly, "No, please come to the Blathering! Everyone is welcome!" email. I think of how fun you were and how awesome it is that you're willing to organize fun events for others.

I'm also of the firm belief that there's no one best friend. I have friends who listen and friends who make me laugh and friends who love to shop and friends who like concerts like I do and friends who I can be snarky with. I think I'm blessed to have all sorts of role-fillers, but not one best friend who does it all.

craftyashley

I am the same exact way. I mean well, but I'm bad at cooking, knowing what to say in hard situations, and I only do one social engagement a month- max. The rest of the time, I will FB to congratulate you on the birth of your new baby. I feel like I'm so busy, I'm not a lot of help anyway. I will always drop off something on your doorstep, though. I am good at finding treats and presents, then graciously dropping them off during my errands. I love people, but I'm busy, and when I'm not busy- I want to be napping or watching TV for my own sanity.

HereWeGoAJen

I have friends like that now (that I've met via blogging, I have to go far and wide for friends, I am picky) but we've never lived close enough to hang out on a regular basis. Which sucks.

mommyhaynes

I think you just described me. & your coments, right one. My good friends are far far away. I would love to have a single good friend in the area to just have tea or sit in the evening while the kids play to chat.

I love my hubs, but sometimes I need girl time too.

Elsha

This sounds just like me. Except I don't have any best friends right now. I wish my online friends lived here so I could be real life friends with them. Sigh.

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