What could be more important than friendship?
I am a schizophrenic combination of very social and somewhat introverted. I love people, but I can't be around them too much. I need emotional intimacy with different kinds of people, but I am very hesitant to share much of myself with anyone.
On the other hand, some of my friends are excellent friendship role models.
Some of them are very far away, but they always send emails, letters, updates on how their lives are going, little "I'm thinking of you" packages, funny photos, and invitations to whatever's going on. Even though I don't see them very often, they always seem close by.
Some of them are not so far away, but have incredibly busy lives. School, work, family, volunteer stuff, saving the world... yet, they are never too busy to make a call or send an email to say hey, here's what's happening, come on over on Friday.
Not me. I am terrible at all these things.
I am the sort of friend who has your birthday in my calendar, thinks about you all the time with great affection, but doesn't call. Why don't I call?
I am the sort of friend who will spend weeks making you a present but never send it. Why don't I send it?
Maybe it's a fear thing. Emotional intimacy terrifies me sometimes. But it's so fulfilling! I often find myself diving in headlong, especially with someone new, plumbing the depths of our souls, living through something kind of incredible together... and then never calling. Only answering when called. I am like that guy the girls warned each other about in college. The nice guy who will string you along. He doesn't mean to be mean, he just can't commit...
I am really grateful for my friends who put up with this unreliability from me. On the one hand, if you are sick I will totally cook you some vegetarian chili and cornbread (even if you don't want it). On the other hand, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD don't ask me about my feelings. Opinions, yes. Feelings, verboten!
So on to the New Year's resolution: I resolve to follow the example of you beautiful friendship role models, and be a better friend.
I will send you a card on your birthday. Maybe even call.
I will answer your email.
If you call me, I will call you back. Maybe I will even call you first.
I will remember the Incredibly Major Thing you told me the last time we talked, and I will check in to see how that worked out. And also to see if you need some chili.
If I am very sad or happy, I will share. God help me, I will share my feelings. Sometimes.
I'm starting by writing some long-overdue letters and emails. This has the added incentive of letting me use pretty paper and stickers, which I find motivating. I am also motivated by the fact that since my friends are so kind and responsive, they will probably write me back, which will be really cool.
So thanks to all of you for putting up with me. This is the year that I do better. And sorry about all the times I didn't call you back last year... can I make you some chili?