I've done a lot of pondering about friendship in the past few years. Well, actually, I've done a lot of pondering about it most of my life, if truth be told. Am I a good person to have as a friend? A bad one? Do I really truly understand friendship? I don't know that I do. How are we taught what friendship is? By our parents to begin with? I loved my parents but, honestly, neither one was very good at friendship. My dad was overbearing and my mom emotionally cold so to say they set a good example as to how to attract and keep friends...well, I can't really say that. In looking back over my life it seems like I had a lot of friends in the little town I grew up in. I never lacked playmates, I was never left out of any of the games the kids in the neighborhood played. We'd run outside to join forces early on summer mornings and rarely go back in unless we had to go to the bathroom or eat. The only thing that would bring us in at nite was when our parents would begin calling out to us and telling us it was time to go to bed. Those were good years...fun years.
Then, as I was turning 13, we moved to a small city. Big change! I went from having the same 25 kids with me that I'd had in class from 1st thru 6th grades to a junior high school with around 900. Oh, how I didn't fit in. I didn't have a clue how to fit in. And I was bullied and made fun of. And I shut down and began hating people. I made one very good friend in 7th grade who is still my best friend almost 50 years later. But people who I thought were friends betrayed me. People who I tried to be friends with wanted nothing to do with me. I was so, so lost and I lost trust in people big time. REALLY big time.
Then came high school. Pretty much the same story. I kept to myself and I was told something that flabbergasted me right out of high school at my first job. A girl who had been a cheerleader and graduated from the same class and high school as I did also began working at the hospital I worked at. Miracle of miracles, we became good friends. She told me that I had the reputation of being the most stuck-up girl in our class because I gave off the impression I was too good to talk to anyone. She looked at me with such an expression of surprise on her face and said, "You're not like that at all!" I told her no, I wasn't. I was just painfully shy and unsure of myself. Hearing what she had to say didn't do wonders for my self esteem either.
My husband likes me. My kids like me. In amongst a lot of love. But adult friendship still eluded me a lot. That lasted thru my 20s to my 50s. A friend here, a friend there. But still huge trust issues where I couldn't open up. I've always been a great listener but conversation...chit chat...is something almost beyond me. Very very very few people have I felt comfortable and easy enough with to open up my deepest thoughts and feelings. That's where my blog comes in. Well, came in for several years and then too many distractions to keep up with it. I'm a typing whiz and my fingers can keep up with my mind very well. Words flow. It's the way I can most easily express myself and my thoughts. And I made a LOT of friends in the blogging world. I've had right around 1 million views thru the years. Give me a keyboard and I can rattle on forever. Sit me down face-to-face with someone, especially someone new, and I freeze up. On my best days I'm an extroverted introvert. I am a total introvert, truly. Dear Hubby just laughs and brushes that off every time I say it. He says I could carry on a conversation with a rock if I had no one else to talk to. Maybe so but I sure don't see it.
Then comes moving here to the Midwest, to Michigan in particular. There is an openness and easiness with the people here that literally blows my mind. And the Canadian Newfoundlanders who have settled in Kitchener, Ontario...same thing. We have made lots of wonderful friends since moving here. They love us. They like being with us. They invite us to dinners in their homes. They miss us if we miss church, both in Canada and the little church we attend in the Thumb now. They're easy to talk to. Why? I mean, really...why?! What's changed? It is such a mystery to me, it just baffles me every time I try to figure it out. I don't think I'm any different than I've ever been. I told Dear Hubby the only thing I can think of is I just didn't fit in with the NW lifestyle. I never felt 'home' there. Whereas here...oh my, almost from the moment we arrived it felt like home to me. Maybe I'm more relaxed? More trusting, for sure, because I haven't had anyone I can think of outside of a grumpy old man coming out of the library a couple years ago who didn't acknowledge my "Hello!" My word, you can say "Hi!" to someone in a store parking lot here and end up in a 20 minute conversation. I told Dear Hubby I feel like the 'me' who's always been there on the inside, the one who wanted to come out but was too afraid of rejection to stick my head out of the shell I'd barricaded myself inside of most of my life.
I don't know if I'll ever have it figured out. My life's unsolved mystery.