You know, I find myself writing on friendship a lot. Perhaps with the elimination of a romantic relationship I focus more on my friendships? Or as I think it to really be, perhaps as I get older the more they mean to me. In turn, they affect me stronger. When they are good, they are great, and when there is a bump in the road, I feel like the Princess and the Pea. I feel that damn pea with every move I make.
Add the socializing I do between Faire and Travel on top of my normal life, I am lucky enough to meet some really cool, interesting, — truly fantastic people. Some develop into real friendships. Some we don’t see each other much outside of these areas, but it’s always a warm reunion when we reconnect.
I guess ultimately I consider a friendship real if I would be willing to host you in my home. I take my home serious, and I take my friends serious. So combining them both is equivalent to having earned your badge in Friendship to me. I think my friends are pretty aware of this, because I seem to host a lot of small get-togethers.
Have I mentioned that I took badge earning in Girl Scouts pretty damn serious? 😉
There is also the flip side to these quick meeting friendships, because you are sizing everything up in very short spurts of time, mostly during times that consist of alcohol and frivolity. Two of my favorite things. 🙂 I love everyone after a cocktail or two, which is hindering, because I definitely do not love everyone the next day. Additionally it really doesn’t give you a good and true indicator of a person’s character if you only spend a few days a year with them, and maybe talk via text or Facebook.
Your bullshit meter reader, your intake of what sets these people off, what makes them good, bad or indifferent has to be pretty tuned up, or you’re bound to have hurt feelings or worse. Those who know me well, know I had a recent friendship born of my travels turn very ugly, and very southward. I regret nothing (she screams, as she is led to the gallows!) outside of allowing this charlatan of a person into my home. See, back to how serious I take my home. The rest is on me.
Sometimes it’s the little things that shine the most light.
I was having a conversation with someone I was bonding with this past weekend at the Opening Weekend of Faire. We were in those early moments of drunken friendship love when she mentioned to me quietly, “You know, I really don’t like many people…” and I responded back, “Me either!”, laughing in agreement, which is honestly how I felt that moment. Not that I hated everyone, but that I could relate to her comment about not liking everyone.
I realized in a more sober, less fawning moment I would have clarified that statement to say, “I like most everyone I meet, I just don’t become friends with them easily.” – Close friends I should clarify. Those few rarities where the friendships move at lightning speed? They have a tendency to end like the above mentioned charlatan. I am a sloth when it comes to friendships that will last. I am moving very slow so that I can size things up, because if it moves too quickly and I get caught up in? I will ignore my meter readings, and ultimately – well I’ve explained it twice now. 😉
I think I am pretty damned friendly. I might be quiet when I first meet you, because deep down I am shy. I know, laugh your asses off over that, but trust me it’s true. I overcompensate that shyness most of the time with an overabundance of in your face love, but that’s usually only after a couple of drinks, and then I’m just like a big friendly Saint Bernard, licking and slobbering all over you.
I’d say most like me when they meet me. That’s how I feel when my confidence is at a normal rate. I’d say most tolerate me, on those days my confidence is ebbing low. And let’s be fair, some simply won’t like me for whatever reason. I have a few of those too. But through it all, my mother raised me to be nice and damnit I am, no matter the circumstances. Manners are a huge thing to me, and I try my best to abide by what I was taught.
What might change your meter on whether or not you like me is that I am direct. Very direct. Not Asperger’s direct, but a hair away from that. I won’t ever embarrass you (unless it’s something I think you could take, or if you’re embarrassing someone else, because I loathe meanness), but unfortunately If I get to know you, and feel comfortable with you, I might overstep some boundaries. More than likely it’s because there are times I really think we get one another and for that reason it’s okay for me to ignore those boundaries. Or think they don’t really apply to me.
Like I might try and counsel you, or give you unsolicited advice. I really am trying to work on that, and if you give me a moment to reflect I will realize my boundary crossing was out of line, and trust me I will slobber apologies all over you.
I did that with a new friend I had met on my last cruise; She was one of those super sweet gals who wouldn’t hurt a fly and I (inadvertently) got in her face (metaphorically because I’m not a physical in your face person unless you really piss me off. Like nuclear piss me off, which has probably happened once or twice in my lifetime) with advice she neither asked for, nor needed. Truth be told I was a little frustrated with her issue, and I liked her and I was a little too comfortable with her too soon. Honestly the second I looked back at not what I said, but how I said it, especially with someone I really didn’t know all that well, I couldn’t apologize enough to her. Today when I think back, I realize despite my intentions (which were good) I cringe to think I offended her.
So there is that. I stick my foot in my mouth way more than I should. That would be the side effect of having me as a friend. May cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, and foot in the mouth said the announcer off camera. And I feel horrible about it, because hurting people’s feelings is a big no-no for me.
I do get that I am not everyone’s cup of tea, and that either you will be on the end that gets me and loves me, or you will be on the end that is possibly offended by me. I offer sarcasm, a wretched potty mouth (that ironically is always at its highest volume carelessly, when a small child is around), a wicked sense of humour, linebacker sized shoulders to cry on, tons of humility and ferocious loyalty. I’m like if a Dog and a Cat could mate, this weird hybrid thing would be me. Not like CatDog the cartoon (for those of you who had children in the 90’s). I’m aloof and speak what I think a little too freely, but I will run and fetch that stick if it makes you happy. I’ll protect you, even if I am the size of a Chihuahua. (Which I’m not)
When Eva, my cat, needs attention, she talks to me. When I am dense, or playing dense because it entertains me, she bites me. Not hard. Never broke the skin, but enough to say, “Hey! Stop being a total dick here and play with me or talk to me!” I don’t get mad at her for biting me for those reasons, because she’s not getting through to me in other ways, and I know she didn’t mean to hurt me.
Are you following the parallel here?
Now there have been a few times when I am being lovable, or tending to her needs and she is just in a crappy mood and her bites come thru a little harder. For no reason, other than she is being a dick. Once when I thought we were having cuddle time (or as close as cuddle time is possible, because this cat doesn’t cuddle) she almost bit my ear. Now I was the pissed off one, and telling her to stop being a total dick. Do I think she was aiming to maim my ear? No, I just think she wasn’t paying attention to how hard she was coming across.
Totally get that. Pissed me off, but I totally get it.
Sometimes I am irritated, or sometimes I am dense and I totally don’t get how I am coming thru. But the times that the bite came thru stronger, it wasn’t because I aimed to hurt more. I get that Eva doesn’t understand if I call her a total dick (which for the record I haven’t used that term with her. Not certain why I am using it here so much), but she KNOWS if she has gone too far. My words, my tone – they tell her. Does she care? Well, she’s a cat, so no, not really, but let’s pretend she has some human or at least dog tendencies. – Anyway, my point is getting buried in cat fur here – my point is that if I bite a friend I usually know based on their reaction. It’s rare that I find out “Whoa, that comment you made back there really offended/hurt/angered so&so” leaving me in absolute surprise and confusion.
But guess what? Sometimes I apparently have no idea my teeth brushed by you. Maybe I didn’t even bite. Maybe I growled. Fuck, maybe I smiled and you took it as a growl. I know with some animals you aren’t supposed to show your teeth, because it’s a sign of aggression. I think that must have been what happened. I smiled, or just apparently breathed wrong at this new friend and offended him.
That manner’s thing I mentioned above? I really mean I have good manners. I am an abundance of “Thank you” and “Yes, please” and “Excuse me” and “I’m Sorry”. I’ve never had an issue with saying “I’m sorry”. When I offended the sweet travel friend, I didn’t excuse my behavior by saying “Oh that shouldn’t have offended you.” No, I said, “I’m so sorry.” And I meant it.
Sometimes I will even say I’m sorry without knowing why I am apologizing. Not because I am a pushover, but simply because something I did – carelessly or by mistake – offended or hurt you. BUT – so that I know not to do this again, I really appreciate you at least fucking telling me what I did wrong. I mean, seriously.
This weekend during a conversation I offended a friend. I didn’t know because this friend said something, I knew because they didn’t say anything. I could only get out of him that I did something. I asked and got no reply. I groveled a little bit and asked again. Crickets. By the next day, we all pretended it was good. I wasn’t completely vested into the conversation that day, so I sort of let it slip thru.
Only by that next day, that VERY DIRECT side of me? She wanted answers. Not rudely. I tried to sit on her, because I realized “Hey, we apparently don’t know this person that well, and you might just offend again!”. I tried to muzzle my direct self. Muffle her questions, but to no avail. I didn’t think it was rude of me to ask what I did wrong, so that I wouldn’t do it again.
But apparently it was. I was overstepping those “boundaries” again. I was, I believe the word used was presumptive. About what? Your guess is as good as mine. I had fretted over it the first night, tossing the conversation to and fro. Re-reading it (because it was all online) and for the life of me, couldn’t find a thing. I looked at from an outside perspective and still came up blank. And just when I figured “Oh well!” and moved on, it happens again. Bite me once, shame on you. Bite me twice, and — fuck you.
I could have been a bitch. I certainly toyed with the idea. Like Eva, I’m bitey too. Only unlike Eva, I do sometimes leave marks, and it’s nothing I am proud of. I figured if I already offended him without trying, what kind of damage would I do if I did try? So I rearranged the issue, and didn’t make it mine anymore. I figured this was something that I discovered about this person that ran absolutely the wrong direction of who I am. Instead of direct, this was evasive and well — to be perfectly frank and since we are so fond of the word in this post – a little dickless and cowardly — but “who am I to judge?”, she says in her most judgy voice.
It bothered me to think I hurt a friend, but later I realized I didn’t have the friendship with this person that I thought I did. A friend, even a burgeoning one, would have answered my countless questions asking what I did wrong? How can I fix this? Maybe I assumed too much. Maybe I was too freely Me. Thankfully, after this post, the issue is no longer mine and seriously I am okay with it.
I AM a good friend damnit. Confidence high or low. I am a flawed human, but a good damn friend. And if you don’t believe me, just ask my cat.
But watch it. She bites.