"Run where you'll be safe,
through the garden gates,
to the shelter of magnolias."
-The Hush Sound
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Circle of Friends
I don’t make friends easily. It’s not that I’m a hermit or no one likes me. Though I doubt I’ll ever win Miss Congeniality. But I’m not social. I’m horrible at small talk and meeting new people. I don’t mingle. Which is why I’ve met all of my friends through circumstance. Having to be in the same place for a certain amount of time and getting to know them. Not because I met them at a party once and exchanged phone numbers to get together again.
My circle of friends starts near Terre Haute. My best friend from home lives there with her husband and two children. About 20 years ago, we started hanging out in junior high because we were in the same classes and our families were close. She’s been there from virtually the beginning and probably knows me better than anyone ever could. Luckily, we don’t live too far apart and I see her a few times a year. Most recently at our high school reunion, and some shenanigans before and after.
Next stop is Indy where my sorority BFF lives with her husband and two children. We actually met in high school because she lived in a neighboring county and worked with one of my friends. But I didn’t really get to know her until senior year when we roomed together at college. We visit about twice a year during our “summits” where a small group of sisters get together at someone’s house for the weekend. And occasionally, we see each other in between if one of us happens to be in town. Her sister lives here, so that’s a bonus.
Head over to Louisville and you’ll find another one of my college besties along with her husband and two children. You see a pattern here? I met her freshman year when I went out for track. She was a sophomore and the only girl thrower who wasn’t exactly thrilled about me invading her turf. But that quickly changed when we spent some time together outside of practice. Let’s just say she and the boys introduced me to a side of college life I hadn’t seen before. And I’ve pretty much been enjoying it ever since. A group of us try to get together at least once a year, but I don’t see any of them as often as I should.
Further south, you’ll meet a single girl in Nashville who’s like a sister to me. I was married to her brother for a short time, so I guess I’ve known her for almost ten years now. We got acquainted during holidays, family gatherings and other events. She’s always been my counselor. Her ability to listen and give advice is quite unique. I can talk to her about all kinds of things: relationships, religion, careers, you name it. We try to meet up for lunch and/or shopping a few times a year. Though as I write this, I realize I haven’t seen her in a long time and I’ve had a note to call and catch up with her on my to-do list for several weeks now.
The circle ends with Evansville and my work friends. These are the people I see on a regular basis and who are most up to date with my life. Although with Facebook and this blog, pretty much anyone knows what’s going on with me. We often go out with 2 of my friends and their husbands for dinner and usually karaoke. In fact, that’s what we’re doing tonight. Each couple has a child so it all depends on getting babysitters. But it usually works out about once a month. I have other friends from when I used to work evenings that I don’t see much anymore. Sometimes breakfast plans can remedy that.
After writing this, it’s apparent I have plenty of friends. I just wonder if I’m settling for what’s in front of me instead of breaking out of my comfort zone. Am I being content with the people who have walked into my life instead of getting out there and meeting others? Should I open up the circle?
Then I realize I *do* make an effort. I work to keep the friends I have. It’s hard to stay in touch with people, even if they live in the same area, but especially if they’re out of town. I think I do a pretty good job of sending emails or getting on Facebook to check in, even make plans.
I’m not so good at picking up the phone. Unless it’s for texting. Digital correspondence is somehow way easier than calling. I still send cards in the mail for baby and bridal showers or weddings I can’t attend. But writing a letter? That’s a lost cause. No friend, old or new, wants to try to read my handwriting.