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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Redefining Friendship

Some fifteen years ago, or so, the planets aligned and I was introduced to my two closest friends, K and J. Through puberty, new experiences, new friends, new countries, new languages, new jobs, the three of us have remained friends. The last time the three of us were together, in the summer, we went kayaking and literally couldnt paddle three feet without laughing, or spouting out some kind of random information. I don't talk to them everyday. Now that K and I have both graduated, and I live in France, we don't see eachother as often as we would like. But I know, when everyone ends up on the same continent together, things will be fine. These are the kinds of friends you don't find every day.

These are the kinds of friends who think completely different than me, and yet, exactly the same. These are the kinds of friends who can tactfully give advice, because we understand eachother. They are the friends that aren't jealous, because we have been together so long, we appreciate eachother and can share eachother with different people. We've watched eachother go through relationships, and all secretly know the "one" for eachother. We fear for eachother, and we watch out for eachother. We annoy eachother, and we forgive eachother.

In fifteen years of friendship, I have never said anything catty about these two girls. One, it is a hundred percent not my style to say something about someone I wouldn't discuss with them face to face. (I wont say that I have never done it, but mostly, I try to avoid it.)

I hate dishonesty more than anything.

Which brings in why I probably like the French so much. Scratch that, most Europeans. One thing that really bothers me about my people, is dishonesty. I get nervous around Americans sometimes, because there's this implication of not being a hundred percent truthful. I get a lot of criticism, and oftentimes come off as a jerk, I think, because I have a hard time being bubbly and obnoxiously friendly. (Holy shit, I have been in France WAY too long.) Being friendly and kind is not a negative trait. It's lovely to be friendly the first time you meet someone. What bothers me, is after I spend a dozen times with the person, and they appear on guard, they agree with you, etc. Don't know what I mean? For example, Tati, my Spanish friend. If I tell her about an adventure that I had, she tells me exactly what she thinks of it, and why. She's not being a jerk, she's just being herself. And why would I get mad at her for having her opinions?

My former host mother, S, was always upfront and honest. At first, I was taken aback, then I grew to love it. I was never wondering "but what did she REALLY mean by that?" Gui gui, after I did a betise on Saturday, absolutely did not take my side. He told me what he thought, and why. He wasn't trying to placate me, I don't think it would have ever occured to him that I could have gotten mad at him. N, the new host father, is French and tells me things as is. It's not him being rude, but sometimes, sentences, are a business transaction. This needs to get done, you are my employee, point.

Maybe I'm just getting older (or brainwashed) but I am finally ok with myself. I still get restless, but not as much as I did before. I see my friends as humans, falliable beings who are free to do as they please. I think when I was younger, I really felt "OMG BFF 4EVA," but now, I choose to spend with people I enjoy talking to, when I have the time. And unfortunately, I do not have a lot of time.

Maybe it's getting older, maybe it's the French, or maybe it's earning a salary that breaks down to 3 euros an hour, but I think somewhere in the last fourteen months, I have found some little part of myself that I was missing.

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