Recent events have inspired me to explore friendships.
We make our first friends as children. Do these initial encounters help define us as we grow? I’m not a psychologist but have a feeling this is the case.
My first friends as a child were a household of many siblings, all girls with the youngest at least 6 or 7 years older than me. We lived out in the country and didn’t have many neighbors. On the other side of us there was a boy, right about my age. At the time I remember realizing the boy was different but it didn’t make much difference to either of us. We played and got along. We had fun. We were about 5 or 6 yrs old. We were friends. The other family of all girls had a what I will call a snotty snot, the one closest in age to me. I feel she was a bully and very jealous that I was an only child. I was a little spoiled and she had to share with many siblings. I remember feeling compassion and did share with her, but sometimes she just took without asking. This was the beginning of the world of friendships for me. Sometimes I think it’s still defining how I interact with people today.
I’ve always felt that I was a little different. I’ve often thought that being an Aries female compounded the problem, if you believe in that sort of thing. I’m not sure I believe it but I know that what I have read makes sense. I always preferred and got along better with male friends. My spouse is aware and accepts this, just in case anyone was wondering. Earlier in life this was not a problem. The problems started in and around my teenage years. Parents of my female friends frowned upon the fact that I had close associations with many male friends. They all had dirty minds. Yes, I had boyfriends, but the majority of my male friends were just that, friends. Had it occurred to anyone that I found dirt bikes and watching someone skillfully or clumsily taking engines apart more appealing than the latest gossip and hair styles? No. I was more comfortable around males. They think more logically, as I do. There is much less drama, which I prefer. They tell you the truth. Well, the friends do. The lovers are most often the ones who lie. It’s complicated but such is life.
It’s important to note when you start to shift into your middle age years and find yourself with plenty of family but not really a lot of friends to speak of you feel a little lonely. Friends are important. Of course you confide in your spouse, your parents, and other close relatives, but when you are an only child, it’s nice to have a friend who will listen, share a secret, a joy, or a concern as you would with a sister or brother. So what do you do? First you attempt friendships with other women. Office politics and other things I’d rather not mention globally ensue to make coworkers seem as a less than acceptable option. You join a church and enroll in an adult Sunday school class with hopes that the fellowship will bring friendships too. You still feel that you connect more with the men and I can guarantee you this is not the venue to even want to bring up that issue. Then you reach out on social sites, which leads to a lot of “oh we should get togethers”s that really don’t turn into the close “bff” friendship that you are looking for.
Now that you’ve explored the socially acceptable avenues you revert back to what you know. Having a spouse that works in an all male work environment, you become close, and friendly with some of his coworkers. This is fine. It is acceptable. One even belongs to your church. Of course it’s not the relationship you really want because they are friends with your spouse first, and you are second, more of an acquaintance. So your spouse is aware of this quirk and thinks it’s ok with him. You know others with this “problem” and even another female relative with a close male friend. Armed with this knowledge and acceptance you revert back to the social sites and try again.
You do a little research and find both some expected and some interesting things. You find that there are men who are uncomfortable being friends with a woman, even some old childhood friends find it difficult to view you as a friend. Weeding out the perverts is yet another task that is unpleasant but necessary. You do find some males that think that’s just fine and dandy, they even stop by to chit-chat, but their wives would not appreciate it, of course, and that is a situation no one wants to be in. Yuk! You think to yourself that possibly those playing for the same team might be the answer, but you know few, and those you do know are too young with which to have much in common.
The main problem is that you are looking for someone as rare as yourself. It would take a special combination to really fit the bill. You would need the right amount of respect, trust, and everything else you’d find in a girly relationship with a little extra bit of something so things would be comfortable for all parties involved. It is doable? I would enjoy a lot of common ground including being on the same plane intellectually, being astrologically compatible (which sounds on the romantic side but is not and really helps, again, if you believe in that kind of thing) and surprise, with no perverse vibes present at all. Is it too much to ask? That remains to be seen. Life is a work in progress. We’ll see how this works and then progress.
All this trouble because your best friends as a child were boys and your nemesis was a girl. Maybe it will turn out to be a blessing instead of a curse.
Some celebrity friends without benefits…
Julia Roberts and George Clooney
Gwyneth Paltrow and Mario Batali
Kirstie Alley and John Travolta