I don’t have a lot of friends. I know a lot of people, but I don’t have a lot of friends. This has been true my entire life, and probably because of a variety of factors:
- I have wildly high expectations of people (myself included). This isn’t always good or healthy, and in recent years I have learned to cut people some slack, to recognize that humans are imperfect, and to accept mistakes as part of the process of living. Still, I continue to have moderated high expectations of people. And I don’t necessarily think this is bad – but it can limit the friendship field a bit.
- I share my soul with the people I consider my friends. I reveal everything, hide nothing, and explore the reality of situations. I expose my heart, and I ask my friends to survey the landscape with me. And doing this often requires that the other person dig deep inside themself, too – and possibly risk probing around areas that might be uncomfortable to explore. This kind of raw, unfiltered honesty can frighten and/or intimidate some people; many people would prefer to have a superficial conversation as opposed to a deep one. And that’s completely fine for them – but not for me. So this second factor of complete honesty and deep curiosity can also reduce the potential friendship pool.
- I’m a pretty hardcore introvert. (And a quick introvert/extrovert lesson: Being an introvert simply means that I get more energy from internal means than external ones. So, I need “alone time” to recharge, refuel, and feel good. People are fun, but to introverts they are also draining. I can last about 90 minutes at a large party [2 hours if I’m having a good time], and then I’m spent; all my energy is zapped out of me, and I need to get away, be alone, and get restored. I’m not a shy person [hopefully this blog has cleared that up for anyone who was questioning] 😉 and I’m not afraid to speak in public, or to be around other people, or to leave my house, or anything like that… I just need alone time [and sometimes lots of it] in order to feel grounded, and energized, and whole.)
So I don’t have a lot of friends, but that’s actually okay with me. I do have friends; and the friends I have are amazing. They are high-quality, make-me-think, have-my-best-interests-at-heart, genuinely-care-about-me, tickle-my-insides-and-delight-my-soul kinds of people. The people I am fortunate to call friends I strongly value, deeply cherish, and genuinely love.
Today, I had lunch with one of my friends. Our time together was brief, relatively speaking (only 50 minutes); but in that near-hour, I smiled broadly and authentically. I laughed, several times. I reflected on meaningful topics of conversation. My own thinking was challenged; and I also challenged back. I spoke my truth, and felt completely comfortable doing so. I was unfiltered, unabashed, unmitigated. I was ‘me’, in the most authentic sense of the word. And I felt 1000% comfortable, being ‘me’. And that, that is the gift of a genuine, deep, trusting friendship. My lunch today was amazing. My friend is amazing. My good fortune to have so many good people in my life is amazing.