Okay, here goes with question #11...and it asks for...another picture of you and your friends.
Bleh. What's with all the pic requests, anyway?
Being that I hate pictures of myself and tend to avoid them at all costs, I'm going to go rogue on this one and post a friend-related topic instead. It's my blog and I can do that sort of thing, so there. It's actually not even totally off-topic, as I'll explain why I don't have scores upon scores of pictures of myself and my friends - at least, not current pictures. I'm sure there are many old school pics floating around here somewhere, but none that I'm up to unearthing and scanning tonight.
The reason that I don't have many recent pictures of myself with friends is that *gasp* I just plain don't have that many friends.
No, no...don't feel bad for me. It's not a totally bad thing. I have lots of really great acquaintances...people that I see pretty regularly, whose company I enjoy, who have kids that are my kids' friends, etc. But my definition of "friend" is pretty precise, and I only apply that title to a select few.
And why is that, you ask? Am I that terribly selective about who I call my friend? Do I have a three-mile long checklist of qualities that a person must possess before they're "good enough" to hang around with on a regular basis? Pffft, no, nothing like that. I do have a few criteria, of course - I think we all do. I wouldn't call my standards low by any means, but they're certainly not impossible.
That aside, there's a two-fold reason that I don't have many true friends.
1) I'm kind of a homebody. Okay, I'm a lot of a homebody. I'd rather be at my house, with my family, than anywhere else in the world. (Even though I dream about escaping from all of them pretty much on a daily basis, but you know I'd miss them if I actually got away.) Sure, I like to travel and see new things and spend time with other people, but not all the time. I have no urge to dip my fingers into everything that goes on locally, to be a part of every organization, to participate in every event, to have my kids in every possible activity. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but just the thought of all that go-go-go stresses me right out. My goal is for more calmness, for myself and my children. They'll have plenty of time to run in circles when they're older. I want to be with them and just enjoy them as much as possible while they're little.
This...quirk of mine isn't without drawbacks, of course. Because I'm not ever present at social events, I assume that others assume I'm anti-social or not interested in being around them (based on the shocking lack of invitations I receive of late.) That's not true, and it kind of stinks, but I'm not going to change my loathing of running-all-the-time in order to seek out scads of friendships.
2) My biggest requirement for forming a friendship is time. Now, this may seem to be in opposition to what I've just written, but it's not. The thing is, I'm never going to be your best friend overnight; I'm just not wired that way. To be my honest-to-goodness friend, you're going to have to get to know me. And yeah, that might not be the easiest thing to do, given that I'm not going to move into your house or talk to you on the phone all day. But if someone consistently shows interest in being a friend...checks in via email or text, calls sometimes, invites us to join them on playdates, that sort of thing...well, I'll certainly do the same for them. I'm a big believer in "do unto others", after all. And no, I don't mean that my potential friend has to do all the work, although the ones that do know me best understand that I'm not usually the one to plan the outings.
And that is why I claim two, count 'em two, really wonderful friends. They are ladies who understand my quirks and tolerate me anyway, and thank God for them. My friends are that much more precious to me because they are so few in number.
I'll admit, I do get down about it once in a while. After all, I try so hard to be friendly to everyone, and as a general rule, I bend over backward to help anyone who asks. On my down days, I wonder why on earth being friendly isn't enough for some people, why I'm not included in this activity or the other. Sometimes it does sting. But me being me, what else can I do about it?
Not a thing.
So I remind myself that each of my two most wonderful friends were received into my life at precisely the moment that I needed them most. Yes, I remember the exact dates, times and locations, and why I needed them so much. I remember the relief I felt within minutes of first meeting them. And I'm grateful for them, every single day.
There. Ask ME for another picture, why dontcha!