I have this friend.
She’s quick with a joke or a light of your smoke, but there’s someplace that she’d rather be.
Where the Billy Joel quote comes in is that she’ll joke and laugh with me, but if I poke into the real, she ghosts…. then, after a while, she’ll try me again and see if anything has changed… do I want a relationship that’s only as deep as an orange juice glass?
It troubles me because I am all about the real. It’s not that I don’t have time for pleasantries, it’s that after a few minutes of small talk, I get bored. I’m not interested in the weather unless there’s three feet of snow on the ground or taking pictures of a thunderstorm’s destruction. I’m interested in what she thinks about love, politics, the chessboard that is the world stage, how the NSA can get my good side while popping popcorn, how my head is in the clouds because I see things the way they could be instead of the way they are. Talking about idealism and how I wish I could do more to change the world in which we live.
Telling her when it’s time for me to take a chance on romance.
Telling her when grief overwhelms me.
And, because relationships are a two-way street, being supportive of everything she says and does, because even when I don’t agree, they’re her feelings and all feelings are valid. Even when the logic regarding them is upside down and backwards, they’re still right and good, because logic is often inversely proportionate to emotion. With logic, there’s always a black and white answer. With emotion, there are shades of grey all over the place. To put emotion in logic’s box is not bothering to listen. It’s treating every issue as if there’s an immediate solution instead of a process.
For me, the process is how to deal with lopsided affection, because I want to delve into conversations she can’t or won’t have. I suppose we all have friends like that, the ones that are only supposed to be good for a glass of wine now and then, where everything emotional is put away for a few laughs and that’s both the beginning and the end of it.
This may sound weird, but I’ve never had any friends like that. They all know me as the one to come to when they need to vent, or that I’m excited about big picture ideas and leave small things on the side of the road we’re walking.
It’s a conundrum, because I don’t want to put emotion where it’s not wanted… in some ways, it’s too late for that. She’s just yet another friend that I screwed over when I was too emotionally ill to see what I was doing, thus wanting to have a relationship with me, but not one that really explores either of our thought processes.
I called her on it, and she said I just think it would be cool to talk about regular things, like regular people do. Herein lies the rub. When has anyone in the history of my life known me as a regular person?
To be a regular person, or not to be a regular person. That is the question.
I’m not the hard-ass that says it has to be all or nothing, because it doesn’t. I just don’t know how to navigate it, and I don’t see it as a fault or a flaw. I am not opposed to just being regular people, but what is it that you people do? Of course, if you’re one of my readers, I’m betting you’re not a regular person, either, so maybe I’m asking the wrong audience. 😛
What is too much? When is too much? When have I stuck my foot in my mouth because I have delved too deep? How do I know when I’m bringing something up that would have been fine years ago but is not fine now? How do I erase history for the greater good? Moving on is essential, right, and good… but when I think of how to proceed, Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know goes through my head… not because any of the lyrics in the song ring true for this friendship, but because I want both of us to let go of anything that has happened before to let those people be somebodies that we used to know and our present relationship to just be.
Therefore, I feel foolish that I don’t know how to just be. My mind is always going to be cycling at a thousand miles a minute, I’m never going to be one of those people that can talk about surface platitudes very long, and most of all, I don’t think I’ll ever change… and it’s not for lack of want. It’s that my personality is already set. I’ll be 40 in September, and especially as I age, I learn more and more that people can modify behavior, but their core, malleable in youth, has solidified from cartilage to bone.
But seeing someone flip out due to a host of external factors is not the same thing as seeing into their core. The thinker/overthinker was set when I was a baby, because even though I have no memory of actually being a baby, I can’t imagine that being nearly immobile until I was almost two didn’t lead me into living in my head…. a natural part of digging into the personality type (INFJ) already there.
It means the world to me that she thinks it’s cool to have any relationship with me. I think she’s cool right back. But is that relationship really accepting me for who I am? Who I’ve always been? Can I turn back the running faucet that is always my mind into the drip she wants? I’m not tryin’ to drown her when she only wants a sip.
I’m also not trying to make her into anything she’s not, either. People were born to be different and to connect on their similarities, although there are some relationships that are just too different to work. It has been shown over and over that opposites attract in the short term, similar attracts over the long haul…. mostly because you’re not trying to hammer a round peg in a square hole EVERY. DAMN. DAY. hoping that eventually it will fit effortlessly.
I’m sure there has to be a compromise somewhere, the medium that will make us both happy. Friendship is not marriage, where you have to compromise all day, every day. You just don’t see each other that often, therefore, no need to work that hard.
So why is this hard for me?
In the end, I have no idea. Well, I do, but it has so much more to do with me than it will ever have to do with her. I suppose the answer lies in just being me, and if she ghosts because of it, than it means I need to lean on the friends that see me for exactly who I am, and have no need or want to change it.
Maybe that’s what I don’t have time for. It’s not small talk. It’s the lack of real talk. I will talk about world issues with people I just met in order to avoid surface-y questions that don’t go anywhere.
I want to know the times in your life when you’ve thought of yourself as a badass, or when you feel like you’ve failed miserably. I want to know the travel on your bucket list. I want to know the interesting conversations that you’ve had with the people around you… from the big picture to the smallest detail.
I could give a shit where you bought your shoes… unless it’s a precursor, the first floor on the elevator down.
Then, I’ll want to know if they were on sale.