Instant Friends

OK, so here goes. I take a deep breath (and forget to breath out), feel my eyes widen. Extend my hand, say my name. “Hi, nice to meet you”. Listen to you introducing yourself and secretly panic that I’m going to miss your name, and very often, because of that, I end up not catching it properly. Conversation moves on and by the time I get over the initial freak-out, I’m too embarrassed to ask your name again. My tactic in this situation is to wait until someone calls you by name – I usually get lucky, but it still adds to my stress levels. Why does meeting new people and making friends have to be so hard? (Naturally, there are exceptions, but they are few – I occasionally get lucky and meet people I instantly click with.)

Upon reflection, I realise, of course, that the problem is in my head. And unfortunately, my head seems to be pretty well hard-wired, because no matter how I try, those new introductions don‘t seem to get any easier. My solution? Like with some other things I can‘t change, I try to just go and live with it. And surprisingly, it helps, even if only a little.

When I was a kid, I used to marvel at those kids who would just come up to me (or you) and say “Hi, can we be friends?” (come to think of it I still find those kids pretty fascinating). I never knew what to answer them. So, sadly, I usually would end up being rather rude and just saying “no”, and quickly walking off. I couldn’t (and still can’t) instantly be friends just like that. I don’t make friends like pudding from pudding mix. At least not in my definition of friendship.

I hate going into semantics, because then the argument fuels itself like perpetuum mobile and there’s no getting out of it, but in this case, I think, I should clarify what friendship I’m talking about and looking for. My standards are pretty high – maybe that’s the reason there are so few people I call friends “for real”. Don’t get me wrong – I think I’m very friendly: I try to be nice to everyone, even people I don’t like (because I hate being angry). But being friendly doesn’t mean I’m so comfortable with you that I’m going to pour my heart out to you. In fact, I think there are only four people in this world I say all (well, nearly all) my mind and heart to, though I like to think that I have a few more close friends. I don’t know if four is a lot, but it’s quite enough for me, because to be happy I need to foster my relationships, and I’d rather spend more time with people I really like than spread my time among dozens of friends and end up trusting and knowing nobody. But that’s just me – I know people who have dozens of good friends, and I admire their ability to take care of so many relationships.

Ever since I read about Harry, Ron and Hermione taking down the troll, I’ve dreamed about friendship like that. Or from even earlier times – Holmes and Watson, who may not appear to be good friends sometimes, but they always stick together. Or Mary, Colin and Dickon sharing the secret of the Secret Garden. I know I’m naive, but I can’t help dreaming about and aspiring to great things from books, films and stuff. I like to think that if I call any of my (hopefully) true friends in the middle of the night and ask for help, they would come to my aid – I know, I would.

All that being said, however, I like forming new closer friendships, too. When I happen to meet people I like. (Yes, I know, my mind can be very self-contradictory sometimes, very useful when discussing something with myself, though.)

If I called you, would you come?

Your hypothetical friend,

Noodle.

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6 responses to “Instant Friends

  1. Justi I sure would come!!
    My daughter is one of those kids on the playground who makes a new “friend” everytime we go. She walks up to kids, starts talking, asks them to play with her and calls them friend. I have tried often to teach her that “friend” & “playmate” are not the same. But at 9 she thinks every kid she meets and plays with is now her friend. She is such an open kid, but this has landed her with hurt feelings. I keep trying to explain it but she isnt wired that way. Maybe as she gets older.

    • Aw, thanks! And I guess writing this I kind of forgot that sometimes it’s not your best friends (or friends that you spend most time with) who respond first to your cry of help.

  2. I’d come too – I hope you know that.
    To remember names, I find myself grasping onto names (as if they were slippery eels) too, when getting introduced. I’ve tried to take on the technique of repeating the name (Oh, nice to meet you, Bert!) as soon as possible to help anker it in my mind. I believe it does help, but I still manage to pass an old acquaintance needing ages to remember their name.

    • My problem is that I find that repeating name thing a bit, dunno, unnatural when I try to say it, so usually I try to repeat it in my head, but, of course, that doesn’t work if I’ve missed it!

  3. Sure I’d come!
    And the name thing – I found out a few years ago, that if I blurt it right out, that I’m not good at remembering names, then people around me gets more relaxed about it and helps me by reminding not only their name but also the others at the party/social event they are ‘related’ to! It doesn’t always work, but mostly it does!
    This way I don’t have to remember names really. They seems to stick as we develop a history together – and if there’s no history developing, then I’ve saved me the trouble of remembering a name I’d forget soon anyway! ;-P

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