Friends – his, hers, ours, neither

M is active on Facebook. He has a lot of interests and is almost an elder statesman in his particular running discipline. It’s good; he has much to share with his cronies and those presently racing. There are tons of folks he speaks to regularly online, many of whom he knows in real life and I have never met for various reasons. I am okay with that. Someday the stars will align and it will happen.

Me, I do not have Facebook. It seems like just another blackhole that will siphon my available time and energy, and I have more than enough of those with work, email, text, this blog, the other blogs I read and follow, etc. There are so many online friends and even some in real life M has not met or heard me discuss. He is okay with that as well.

There are our friends, those people we see and socialize with, invite to our home, go to visit at theirs. These are the people who we can call in the middle of the night with a problem or those on the list to talk to as soon as possible when there is good news to be shared. When M and I decided to get married back in 1998, we agreed to not tell anyone in advance. After all, we decided on a Friday night and got married a week later on Valentine’s day Saturday. Yet that entire week, every single night I would get home and M would be on the phone with someone telling them about our marriage plans. Always it was one of our good friends, and in the end about 20 of them journeyed to Reno on a Saturday morning for our 8:30 a.m. cheesy wedding chapel wedding and then joined us for an impromptu wedding breakfast at a casino buffet. Yep, we are a classy couple who really treat our friends to an elegant wedding experience. It was all about us and absolutely glorious.

Then there is this mysterious group of others who are not really on our friend lists yet persist as players in our lives. Some of them are family members (M’s younger sister falls into this category) and some are just people we have known and fallen away from. Yet they persist. They call. They text. They invite us to events, which we decline and they wonder why we never get together. It’s awkward. We do not dislike them, but their values and ours have evolved differently. Or the things that brought us together in the first place (kids activities or friendships) are no longer realistic reasons to continue. It’s awkward.

We are not super active social people, other than our monthly family dinner with the kids and whatever stragglers they bring with them. But the holidays are coming and I am already getting texts and emails about what we are doing for Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years. We will have an open house around Christmas. We will invite people over to our “hanging Christmas lights” extravaganza the day after Thanksgiving. Likely our December family dinner will be the day we set up our Christmas tree. I know we are attending a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with friends, and an after Christmas party as well. I love this time of year just because things are formally informal, and all our bitching and moaning and complaining about the work and effort is really part of the process of celebrating long friendships. It’s a tradition in our lives that I cherish.

But what to do with the odd-ball acquaintances that were once friends. I guess we continue to make excuses and send regrets. Every year I think they will fade away, but every year there are at least a few who spring back to life or return from the darkness after a being absent a few years. Maybe this is just how grown-up life progresses.

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