November 20, 2012


It's happening again. High School. College. Baltimore. Here. I'm not sure how it happens, but I seem to end up collecting friends who don't necessarily connect with each other. I did have a group of friends in high school, my art room/punk rock crowd, but I had others who didn't fit in there.

In college my four closest women friends were each in different circles of friends, but didn't click with each other. Through them I'd hang out with their circle, but I wasn't consistently part of the core.

Why the pattern? I'm using this blog to try to puzzle it out.

Thanks to my parents and our unusual 'third culture' upbringing, I learned to get along with many different people. I don't fully understand it myself, but I'm able to go deep emotionally with people in different arenas. In college, one friend was a prayer partner and someone who helped process dating relationships. Another discussed music, the creative process and books (and also dating relationships). A third asked intensely perceptive and challenging questions and we shared deeply about our family histories, spirituality, fears,  hopes (and guys). My fourth friend grew up in another country and we talked about race, about how to communicate, about family, religion and food (and relationships). 

The exception to the pattern was Rochester, I moved there after graduating from college to see if Jrex and I should get married. He was already part of a close-knit church which I joined. He had roomates who each married within a couple years of us and we hung out with them and their wives (and eventual children). When we switched to a different church, we hung out with groups of friends from that church. One of the joys that came out of that last year in Rochester was becoming best friends with two women who were also best friends with each other. Jrex called us "The Triplets". It was refreshing to have close friends who knew each other, too! All exceptions to the overall pattern.

In both Baltimore and California, most of our friendships came as I got to know people and initiated relationships. The exceptions were Jrex's group of fellow residents and lab mates. With them we'd join an overall group, but otherwise, we had a motley and fun assortment of friends.

Our developing friendships here feel like yet another collection. We have couples we really enjoy who don't necessarily enjoy each other. For Thanksgiving we tried to do an Orphan Thanksgiving gathering with two other couples, but I don't think the two couples want to hang out with each other. Instead, we met with the one couple this past weekend and will also see them next weekend and will do Thanksgiving with the second couple. It means we get lots of variety, but we don't have a default 'crowd' to see on a regular basis. Obviously, my church hopping has only added to the collection pattern!

I wonder if it relates to the part of me that always wants to find out what's next. I was always nervous to even audition for a play because, if I got in, it would confine my social world for 2-3 months. I'm not sure why a default group makes me feel a bit trapped (any ideas?).

I can't regret being a relationship magpie since our lives have been profoundly enriched by our wide variety of friends, I'm just trying to figure out if it's driven by healthy or unhealthy instincts. Why do I feel trapped if I'm only going to see the same people all the time? What am I protecting myself from? (I was in a toxic 'group' in junior high. Have I been avoiding that ever since?)

Curiouser and curiouser...

No comments: