Thursday, April 24, 2008

Categorically, Friend

~ A friend in need is a friend indeed~

~Friends for a reason, friends for a season, friends for a lifetime...~

~A friend is a present you give yourself~



I hate these platitudes. Mostly, sadly, because - as precious and cloying as they are, they do have a fundamental grain of truth to them. And I so hate when hackneyed old adages become self-fulfilling prophecies. Because, really. It completely undermines my (perceived) sense of total knowledge and control. Over. Everything.

The categorization of friends is a tricky one, and a sacred cow that the Baroness tries to give wide berth to. Please understand, I have more than my share of reason-, season-, and lifetime friends, and I wouldn't trade these chicas for all the Godiva Dark Chocolate Cherries* in the world (although, if you should feel compelled to bribe me with confections, I might not say no).


Something's been picking away at me. Something about why friends are friends. Something about the line between casual acquaintance and beloved friend, and that grey area in between.

How is that line is crossed over, and by whom? Can it be crossed over, back and forth, time and again? Whose responsibility is it to stride that barrier? If one person takes the leap from acquaintance to friend, and the other lags behind, what then? How is this reconciled?

If it were to somehow be quantified by the scientific community, we would find that the effort exerted to be polite - especially when it is not in our nature to do so - burns a hell of a lot of calories.

It is, then, a puzzlement to me as to why I am not mistaken more often for the unknown triplet sibling of Mary Kate & Ashley. Because I have been on the dance floor doing the Politeness Minuet for far too long, and people - I am tired.

I'm tired of not asking the questions I really want to, because it could be construed as judgmental or prying.

I'm tired of not saying the bilious, vitriolic things I really want to say, because I would come off as a first class hag.

I'm tired of trying to hold my bottom jaw nearer to the top, when all it wants to do is drop open at the sheer stupidity of things said or deeds done.

I'm tired of backflipping, headstanding, cheerleading and acting the court jester for the mopey and blue, because that is the right thing to do.

I'm tired of bad manners, and insensitivity and general carelessness.

Screw the right thing, the kind thing, the proper thing. I'm tired of it all. And at this point, I could care less if I am thought of less.

One of my dearest friends is my dearest friends for the very reason that we each can show each other the good. The bad. And the irksome. It's very liberating. I can call her anytime on her crap, and she feels free to do the same (I think she secretly delights in this). Regardless, I respect that. It invigorates me.

What tires me out is the recent realization that all those old adages are true (damn it, you old people, for being smarter than me).

There are basically two categories of friends:
1. The No-Holds-Barred Buddy, and
2. TheTreading-Lightly-Oops-I-Didn't-Mean-To-Hurt-Your-Feelings-by-Saying-Hi-In-The
Wrong-Tone-of-Voice Associate

The odd thing is, I have met #1's in the last few months that could potentially be life long friends. And I've know scads of #2's, where the nature of the relationship is stuck in the primordial ooze, never to evolve. How many #1's do you know? How many #2's? Have you mistaken 2's for 1's? Are you tired like me? Are you through with your dancing? Rest your feet, doll - I'm cooking up a plan.

The Baroness doth declareth: I think it's high time to schmush up these two categories into one.The Number Ones will love it. Who doesn't want a little nicety thrown in with the candor and disclosure every once in a while?

And the Number Twos? Well, the name kind of speaks for itself.

* Re: Godiva Dark Chocolate Cherries. This offering could help just about anyone climb up the friendship ladder.

Like a bullet.

If bullets climbed ladders.


Mental P Mama said...

This plan just might mesh nicely with my hormonal qualities. I have mistaken many a 2 for a 1. Nevermore. Great idea...

MommyWizdom said...

Dear Boroness:

I made that decision in high school that I was tired of having only #2 friends and few #1s. Where does that leave me over a decade later? With four (sometimes six) people that I honestly call friend. I had more before my kids were born. But you soon find out who your friends are after the kids come along... Anyway, I too spend time trying to add to my "friends" list but it is not easy. I find that people are generally too lazy or afraid to truly become a friend. I count my blessings for the ones I have though. Best of luck with yours.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess MPM: Good luck with the schmushing. Let me know how it goes.

Countess MoWi: Ah yes, children. The great friendship litmus test.

Good to hear that you're still trying to add to your friend list - don't give up! As for my current posse, I cling to them lovingly - each and every one brings something absolutely fascinating to the table.

Asthmagirl said...

I can't help but adore you for your honesty and forthrightness (is that a word). Well said!
Yes, I have mistaken twos for ones often. I'm to the point where I'm not sure there is a one. But there's a couple of twos that might be. The rest are total twos.

I do weary of hearing myself apologizing over and over. Just in case. I must be a first class wimp.

I continue to dance, but my feet hurt.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess AG: If hearing yourself apologize over and over, and explaining your meaning makes one a wimp, then move over, Rover. The Baroness is taking over. The words fly out of my mouth like released birds, before I have a chance to realize what I've done. It doth sucketh.

As for your aching feet, maybe we better find some more sensible dance shoes to wear...

Stella said...

Unfortunately, I live within a driveway's distance of two number 2s that I mistook for 1s. The fall was hard when I realized that they were really number 3s- Not worth its.

I am ready for your plan...bring it on! I need it!

The Queen said...

My Dear Baroness...

You have nailed it perfectly!! This world is full of number twos-that heaven forbid if you hurt thier feelings and ruin thier "perfect" lives.
And then you have the number ones that are the rock of civilization. You can say anything and express yourself to embarresment and back and nothing will be held against you!!! I love that!

Well done your Baroness!

The Queen

P.S. Thank you for the birthday wishes. :)

Momma said...

I think I have exactly one #1 in my life, but I have some potentials that could get there with a little effort. My #1 friend and I have had knock down/drag out fights. Well, we never took a physical swing at each other, but she did break a bottle of beer on my front door when I refused to see her because she had pissed me off beyond belief. She has always seen us as #1s, but it took me a little longer to understand that she would be there for me no matter what, and that I loved her no matter how bull-headed she could be. We have stood the test of time for 17 years. (Ok, now I feel really old). We will be friends until we die, unless she like runs over my dog or something.

Like you, though, the dance with the #2s is something I find tiring. But sometimes the long waltz is worth it. You may end up with a gem who will come to the hospital and hold your hand when the doctors are doing something atrocious to you.

I wish you many #1s...Peace - D

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess Stella: I think that you're well on your way to culling the 2's. The 3's dressed up as 2's? Hmm. The word "hope" springs to mind. Maybe they just need some Spring sunshine to grow a little.

Your Majesty: Long live the Number 1's! They are exactly what you said - the Rock of Civilization. I love that.

Countess D: I so agree with you about having the patience to see if a #2 will bloom or not. I have found many #1's that way. But, on the flip side, I'm not the most patient woman in the world (gasp), and sometimes the waiting bites.

As for the feeling old - don't. I've got one friend I've known for almost 30 years, and another I've known for 27!

maggie, dammit said...

So true, so true. I think one other thing we can learn from old people (and I think this because the older I get, the truer it feels) is that acting like something you're not is not worth it. Go ahead, be exactly who you are, do what you need to do, and the #1's will fall into place and everyone will be happier. Quantity, not quality, right?

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess Maggie: I'm with you - time is fleeting, and I'm finally at the age where I'm tired of facade. Either love me as me, or hit the road. I'm done pretending.

Lisa said...

As you may have guessed, I have far too little tact or patience to hang on to anything other than a number one. The sensitive sulkers .... no thanks.

More importantly, those dark chocolate cherries sound damn delicious! I gotta get some!!!

....Barbra Peapod

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess Babs: Those dark little orbs of ahhh-ness were what got me through my months of chemo. I have a soft spot for them, and in turn, they make me one huge soft spot!

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