Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Me and Mes Amis

As for me:
Yesterday was kinda icky. Had a bit of a relapse. Might have been from the alcohol (1/4 cup of red wine) and the 41 miles I biked in 3 days - maybe some heat exhaustion from Sunday? But I felt ok Monday so I'm not sure what's the cause. Biking 41 miles in 3 days was something really minor in the "olden" days, but which really worked me out at my current level of fitness. So I slept 13+ hours yesterday afternoon/evening. This morning I was really fuzzy in the brain and a little ill, but most of that's gone away. I'm going to try biking home from work tonight, so we'll see if I bounce back or slide further into icky.

Pour Mes Amis:
The past year I've developed more casual friendships/close acquaintances than I've had in a long time. It's a marvelous extended support system. *as a side note, I LOVE extended support systems and suggest them to anyone who can get them/handle them/maintain them! Growing up with 4 parents and a gazillion family members who actively raised me I obtained far more balanced perspectives on life, was introduced to many ways of thinking, and always could go to someone who loved me. It was fantastic.

Anyway, friends are good, healthy, positive. But they are also relationships that require work. I don't quite remember relationships requiring so much work when I was a kid. Do we all forget about what happens when we're children, or was it really just easier? For me I think they're much more work than an actual relationship with someone you're seeing romantically. They require understanding, time, attention, allowances, and effort. I'm realizing lately that I haven't really worked at cultivating relationships since I was in middle school. Since then, I've had a lot of people I hung out with, activity acquaintances, casual friends, but no one that would really stand up to the test of friendship - that 2 am call for help that might happen once every 2 years.

What follows is basically the criteria I've determined is - for me - the definition of a true friend.

They answer the 2 am call and come riding to your rescue not because it serves their interests, not because it makes them feel good to do so, not because they were up anyway, but because they care about you enough that they'll be there to support you in your time of crisis (regardless of how ridiculous that crisis might seem to them.)

A true friend will "Love and Care about each other to one of the highest degrees." Being there when they need them. Listening to what they have to say because you genuinely want to hear how they are doing, or understand the benefit they get from simply having someone pay attention to them. Listening is very important.

Be within the margin of error. This is the part that typically comes first, but is very crucial. They have to have enough mutual interests that it's easy to do stuff with them on a regular basis. They have to have a similar enough mindset that they're not constantly confused by what comes out of their mouth. They have to be going in a direction in which they can still cultivate that relationship in the future (i.e. one of you can't be a super hippie living going to live in a tree and the other a ruthless financial wheeler and dealer). Your paths have to be close, but the margin can be quite wide if the groundwork and love is there. Again, the margins are WIDE, but you have to occasionally be able to reconnect on footing that is comfortable for both of you.

So these are my criteria. They don't seem ridiculous, I don't feel like what I'm asking is outrageous. This is what I want in a true friend. I've had a couple recently, but making new ones, or finding others, isn't quite what I was expecting - it's puzzling, difficult, lots of effort for a uncertain reciprocation. But then again, when doesn't life throw in new obstacles for you to puzzle over?

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