I have a wide circle of people that I consider friends. They are girls (or should I say women? We're all grown-ups now, I suppose) -- they are women who make me laugh, who are thoughtful, who I enjoy spending time with. I value their opinions and ideas. I like them a whole lot, and I want them to like me too. That's how I would define friends.
That really includes Kyle's friends too, the men -- and a lot of them are my friends' husbands -- because they always make me laugh, and I care what goes on in their lives too, and I value their opinions. Don't get all embarrassed now, guys. Quit shuffling your feet.
Then there are kindred spirits, and a lot of friends would likely turn into kindred spirits if we had more shared history or time to spend with each other now. My circle of kindred spirits is pretty tiny, actually, and that's okay with me -- in spite of the fact that I blog about my life on the internet, I'm actually a very private person, so I don't share very personal stuff with many people. I'm comfortable with my tiny circle.
Hardly any of them are good friends with each other, in fact -- they are my best friends from different periods of my life, elementary and middle-school BFFs, high school bronzed goddesses & fellow cheerleaders, college roommates who became the closest thing I had to sisters (even if I did spend a lot of time with that pesky boyfriend, the one who became my permanent roommate). They are the ones I can share anything with.
Moving a lot while growing up can be tough, but it does give you a chance to have a variety of best friends :)
The kindred spirits are really, really spread out too. Almost everyone lives far away. We don't stay in touch as often as we should, and the blame for that really falls on me. But each time we pick up again, it's like we never stopped chatting. These are the few women who I'm always comfortable around. Growing up with two brothers, I was always better with guys. But these girls get me.
In spite of all of this talk about friends, I'm not sure I do a good job nurturing these relationships. I spend a hugely significant portion of my time at home with Kyle and Bailey. It's where I'm happiest and most comfortable. I certainly wouldn't consider myself an antisocial person, but I guess in the truest sense of the word, I'm an introvert. One with the tendency to be very chatty, who likes to host and attend parties now and then, who isn't shy or soft-spoken -- but still. An extrovert is someone who draws energy from being around large crowds, and an introvert is someone who draws energy from recharging at home, who needs peace and quiet. That is 100% me.
Shameless confession: I once left a college party with one of these kindred spirit girlfriends to go back to our dorm room and watch a Harry Potter marathon. Like I said, they get me.
Which brings me to blogging...
As I've started reaching out and connecting with other bloggers, getting invested in their lives and their feelings and opinions, it's become really clear to me that blogging opens you up to other friendships. Are these friendships any less real than your friends in real life? I don't think so, not at all.
In some cases, I already knew these women in real life before I knew them through their blogs. Granted, I knew them in the real life called high school, where we had different circles of friends and activities, where we never really connected for whatever reason. Or at work, or through our husbands.
But blogging changes that.
You open yourself up a lot on a blog. While I might not share my very most personal matters, I am honest about my hopes and dreams, my faults and fears. Perhaps it is self-centered, but when you write a lot about yourself and your life, others get to see a side of you that might not come through face to face, where you might be restricted by the environment you're in, the other people around, etc.
I consider my blogging friends real too -- although doesn't that remind you of the South Park episode where the kid gets 100 million friends on Facebook, but has none in real life? I hope that isn't how I seem!
What happens to these bloggers is real to my feelings, and what they say has a real effect on my beliefs and opinions. In some cases, they start to become kindred spirits too. Ones I can catch up with with from the comfort of my living room. Is that a sad fact of our society today, or is it a huge leap forward in our ability to connect?
This post has been brewing for awhile, and was spurred by blogger turned kindred-spirit Abby's thoughts and by one of my favorite bloggers who I don't know at all sharing this today. I hope the bloggers I know and love don't feel like I'm creepy for knowing/loving them, because I'm thrilled to death when people say that they know/love my own blog. Not because I want it to go big or get famous or anything, I just feel connected to people who've seen this part of me and found something of themselves in it. I blog because it matters to me, and when I find out it matters to other people too, that thrills me to the moon.
So if you're reading, thanks for being a friend. Don't fight it, just go with it. We're friends, okay? I promise not to be creepy/clingy (in fact, good luck getting me out of the house). I might not even know you at all in the most basic, "in real life" sense, but the fact is that you've read this far through the rambling because, I don't know, you care what I have to say or something. And so we are connected, whether you like it or not.
Yes'm, old friends is always best, 'less you can catch a new one that's fit to make an old one out of. ~Sarah Orne Jewett