Recently, I was having a discussion with a friend over what makes an “acquaintance” versus a “friend” and while we both could go down a list of names and agree that so-and-so was a friend while so-and-so was an acquaintance, we couldn’t quite find a clear line that put a person more solidly in one category versus the other. Every attempt sounded like some lame e-mail chain with those dancing cartoons of Precious Moments figurines usually littered with the same kind of bad poetry your wrote when you were five and asked you to forward it on to 50 of your closest friend otherwise you were going straight to Hell and making Baby Jesus personally weep because he died so you could have friends AND bad poetry and you’re clearly an unappreciative little ingrate.

So, these past few weeks as I’ve been driving home listening to NPR, thinking about how this one trip just cost me enough in gas to feed several small developing nations and possibly a recently industrialized one to boot, I started trying to make a list of “friend qualities”. Here’s some that got tossed around (and mostly got tossed out).

  • A friend will call my house. Well no, that would make telemarketers my friends and while I’m sure there are a few I could get along with under different circumstances, we’re not friends much less acquaintances. Plus, I don’t like the phone and most of my friends respect that and don’t try.
  • Friends come over to visit. Well again no, I’ve seen the UPS man at my house more than many of my friends and I feel closer to the pizza guy on some days. Hmm. My friends just never bring quality pizza (or subpar pizza, for that matter).
  • Friends share their most intimate thoughts. Ok, that had some promise, because you do share more with your friends (in theory) but then I started thinking about how I’m a world class freak magnet – to the extent that other people (usually my friends, who I obviously can’t define) comment. In fact, if you’ve a stranger with serious problems, you’re probably sitting on my doorstep right now waiting to unload your creepiest thoughts. Just remember that these doors don’t open until 10am on Saturday. It’s only fair to let Jay sleep.
  • Friends laugh with you, cry with you, [insert another cheesy Hallmark/e-spam sentiment] with you… and so will crazy people. I guess an argument could be made that my friends are nuts.
  • Friends will come get you when your car breaks down? And so will AAA. Granted, it’s better when your friends get you (or are there when the crazy drunk slams into you while you’re minding your own businss, following the rules, waiting for at a stoplight after bowling, and your friend hears it and doubles back because it might have been you – but I swear I’m not still bitter about the drunk lady who slammed into my car and said “all things happen for a reason” – nosirreee – like water under a bridge that moment is.)
  • I want to say “friends accept you for who you are”, but that is almost gag inducing and it makes me afraid they might want to hug and all of my friends know I only hug on special occasions and my “real” friends actually know where that line is and could call me on it. I think my friends “accept me for who I am, but they also see room for improvement and sometimes aren’t shy… hey people, a little more shy please!!”
  • I guess my conclusion is that I don’t actually know what makes my friends my friends. (Probably a healthy dose of either bad taste, boredom or pity.) I could go down the list and point out the reasons, but each friend is different. If there are three things they all seem to have in common, they would be: “forgive me for being the mess I am… on occasion”, “back me up even when I’m wrong” – (even though I suspect they get out of site and make faces – guys, I can sense those – and OMG wait until you’re at least 5 miles away before calling your SOs to discuss “my crazy”) and more importantly, “have walked the streets of New Orleans with me – and “offered” to beat people down in the street when they were “wrong” – true story… that’s the way I remember it at least *cough* – how about that 4th of July firework display, eh?”. Oh, and I suppose there’s a 4th – “understand that you’re way too lazy to install scanner software on your new computer at the moment, so you won’t be scanning pictures to add to your blog that show proof that you might have friends – or at least know people who were too slow to get out of the picture with you – and really, I start posting some people’s pictures and not others and the next thing you know there are riots in the streets and mayhem… don’t forget the mayhem – I think there’s a law about the mayhem”.

    And did I mention…

    Are going to Dragon*Con 2008 August 29 – September 1 for my -0 1/2 birthday? I’m pretty sure that’s a fifth. And it’s not too late to get tickets. No pressure.

    … and they never tell you when you’ve typo-ed on your blog – bless their hearts – they let you figure it out hours or weeks later.

    3 thoughts on “Friends

    1. Anonymous says:

      I read this and then went to my next favorite Sunday read, PostSecret ( which has a card this week that says:I’m ready to lose everything because I’ve found the people worth failing with. ~April

    2. Anonymous says:

      A friend is someone that will tell you when you have food stuck in your teeth and will really tell you what looks good/bad on you.

    3. Beth says:

      I think I’m going to quote that and send it as a reminder to my friends. They’re of that “have a good laugh while… you have food stuck in your teeth, skirt tucked into the back of your house, put on the exciting outfit and let you step outside” – their motivation — getting to have something to tease you about for years on end. I have those “mean” friends.One of them even pretends there’s food on my face just to watch me freak out and spend a good half hour wiping the invisible food away. She’ll just look up, catch my attention and then brush the side of her fact. It sends me into fits every time and even when I don’t find food there and I know what she’s doing, I wipe my face like mad.Again… I have that “mean” variety. Thankfully, I’m the saint of the group.

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s