At college, there was this (sinister and creepy) girl, who always claimed she never had "friends", she had acquaintances. For me, at the time this was the dumbest thing I ever heard. Does that make me chopped liver to you love? Are all these people who talk to you, daily, hang around with you, daily, buy you gritty hot chocolate from the college cafe, daily, are they all falling into a certain category? Do they have to lick your boots and sleep with you (though not necessarily in that order) to become a "friend"?
Looking back, I start to wonder if she was right. I'd noticed that quite a few times over the last couple of years, I wasn't really sure if I had any friends. Not just friends, but "real friends". People who know me. People who know enough about me. There are one or two people who know a reasonable amount me, who I could go and see if I wanted to, but don't see very often. And they're great. And I love them dearly, and care about them. And then I thought about the people who I see almost regularly, and realised, that maybe they really don't know me.
I haven't had a bet friend since high school, and I haven't spoken to her for a looonnng time. Nothing went wrong, we just very much drifted apart, became very different people. And since then, my only other friend who knows perhaps as much as that is my husband. He knows almost everything. I say almost, because I don't even remember how much he knows, how much I've told him. But I don't have anyone else like that. Does that make me a freak? Is it because I'm dull, uninteresting, no one wants to hear the same old shit? Or is it because of the wall that I forever seem to put around me?
I did come to realise one, startling fact; I get on incredibly well with people whom I have never met, or rarely meet. I'm on twitter most days, and converse with a LOT of people on there. Many of them read this blog. Many of them know me. They know when I'm feeling shit, they know when I'm elated, they know all the hassle and nightmares and crap I've had to deal with. They've been supportive. And they've helped me. And I've only met 4 of the 598 people I'm following and of the 746 who are following me.
Am I deluded? Are they really my friends? How is it I get on better with them than people in "real life"? Does the internet build up the wall for me that I automatically put up in real life? Is it because I can be horribly elitist and choose who I want to talk to?
Next year I go to Blogher10 in NYC. Oddly enough I can't wait; not because of the conference, and not even so much because it's NYC, but because I want to meet some of the people across the pond who have been there for me, supported me, made me laugh and smile, shown me what a real friend can do, how a real friend can be.
But am I kidding myself? These people who I've never even met, but so desperately want to spend time with; are they friends, or acquaintances?