As an introvert, I have a hard time making new friends. I have a very small but very close circle of friends and the idea of losing one of them upsets me deeply.
I’ve been referred to as a friend by someone lately. This made me realize that I don’t really know what it means to be friend, or at least that I needed to be clear on what it means for me and others. To me, being friend means enjoying to spend time together, to discuss topics that matter to one or both parties, to be interested in the other person’s life and want to know more about it. Also, all that needs to happen without any obligation (work, interests…). It certainly doesn’t mean agreeing on everything or doing everything together.
As an introvert and someone who hates phone calls, I tend not to contact my friends enough. When you see your friends every day, at school or work for instance, maintaining these relationships is fairly easy. But when you grow up and leave school, you tend to lose contact, especially if one or both parties change a bit too much.
That what happened to me recently. During my first year of Uni, I was friend with three girls. Two of us changed Uni when going for another major. Ironically, we are the only two of the four still in touch on a regular basis. Meeting new people, having less in common and spending less time together drift us apart. I can’t identify clearly the factors that made that change happen, but I’m sure that work, not enough time spent together, geographic distance and the influence of other people played a key role in our relationships.
So when one of these friends contacted me again asking me for a favor, I saw a chance to reconnect and be friends again. Obviously, if I’m venting on my blog today, you can guess that it didn’t work out as planned. She got what she wanted, but gave nothing back in return (not even a mere “thank you”). I didn’t expected much, only a genuine interaction I guess. Being used by this person makes me feel sad for her and what we had, but also angry at myself for being too nice and helping her.
There is little I wouldn’t do for my best friend, even though I don’t call her enough. This little episode made me realize how precious she and her family are to me and made me want to put more efforts in our relationship. And as usual, she supports me through all of this, just because she wants to.