Apply in person. Must be flexible, intelligent, good sense of humor; availablity for spur- of-the-moment, low-cost activities, preferred. High maintenance, needy or whiny individuals need not apply. Experience preferred, but will train qualified candidates. Opportunity for advancement to BFF available but limited. Benefits include mutual exchange of world views, conversation, laughter, shoulder to lean on when needed. Reciprocity expected.
My advertisement for a friend would go something like that. I often say I have no friends. Technically this isn’t true, and I usually amend the statement. I have a few dear friends. But most of them live hours and miles away. Others live minutes away but I rarely see or hear from them.
What I don’t have are friends, not even one, I can call on the spur of the moment to walk the beach or haunt the mall for a few hours. Or sit and have coffee or a glass of wine. Let me amend that further. I might have a friend or two who might be able to do any of those things occasionally, but they are not the kind of friends I want to do those things with. That’s what I’m missing in my life and it’s my own fault.
My father always told me that at any point in your life you’d be able to count the number of true friends you had on the fingers of one hand and that you probably wouldn’t need all the fingers. So true.
Another friend reminds me that when she first met me I informed her I wasn’t looking for more friends. I don’t remember saying this exactly, but I wonder now who did I think I was to turn down a potential friendship before it even began?
Six or seven years ago I recall my coffee table covered with birthday cards from friends. Now I’m lucky to get one or two each year. My phone doesn’t ring. My e-mail box is often devoid of personal e-mails. Comments on my Facebook posts? Virtually non-existent.
I have no one to blame but myself if I sit on a Sunday afternoon and wish I had someone I could call who’d want to spend time with me. I’m not even lonely. Truth is, I often prefer to be by myself. But sometimes I don’t. That’s when I need a girlfriend I can call up who’s available. Maybe I’ll start a girlfriend service for people like me. I’ll be your friend, but only when I feel like it. (Or when I get paid by the hour.)
Friends have drifted in and out of my life. I’ve welcomed them and I’ve let them go. Some of them I purposely evicted for one reason or another. I’ve learned not to get too attached or over-estimate my own sense of importance in their lives. With most of them, I maintain an emotional distance, and I’m sure they sense that. I can’t seem to help it. Childhood abandonment issues apparently still linger.
I’m not alone in this. One of my BFF’s lamented exactly the same problem. If only we lived closer. We’d hang out all the time.
They say to have a friend you’ve got to be a friend. That’s my downfall. I want friends, but only on my terms and only on my schedule. Don’t expect too much from me, because I don’t have it to give. Just be there when I need you and go away the rest of the time.