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  1. #11
    meinmeinmein! mmhmm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    What are your most meaningful friendships like and how did you come to be friends? Are friendships the same with either gender, or do you approach the boundaries differently when in a relationship or when single? Are your online friendships different than those in your geographic location? I just thought it would good to have a thread to explore the topic in depth.
    i met the bulk of my good friends in grade school.
    so i've known most of them for over 20 years.
    a few i met through work. and a few online.

    i rarely hangout in groups 'the more the merrier'
    is totally not my style i've always preferred to
    hang one-on-one. even when i have a group
    of friends, ie a group of friends in the same
    class, i will always have a favourite that i
    will zero in and whisk them away. and so i just
    end up with only my favourites in my life.

    i'm like that online too. i'll like specific
    people, never a group, and i will zero in on
    them. behind the scenes dealings, i love that.
    the online thing doesn't bother me one bit.
    my friends live in different countries, the
    internet has been a way to just communicate.

    i'm very upfront about who i like and i
    don't like, even if i can't articulate a reason,
    i definitely go off vibes, and dynamics, and
    i trust my gut instinct even if it's been known
    to be wrong, but still, over the years, it's gotten
    better.

    and doesn't matter to me if they are male or
    female. or even if they have had crushes
    on me in the past. i just don't really spend time
    with people with very fragile egos--because
    if i get a sniff, i'll have to crush it. i don't know
    why i'm like that or why it's just so irresistible.
    i just like very, very solid characters that don't
    waver just because of the shit that spills out of
    my mouth.

    in terms of depth and meaningful-ness, beepbeepbeep
    it's a problem free zone not because we can't talk
    about "problems". but because we don't have to talk
    about it? we are aware that everybody has their
    own battle to deal with. and when we hang. we
    just simply hang--stress free, almost like an escape.
    even if i hadn't see them in years, seeing each other
    again always feels like we just hung out yesterday.
    i really dig that.

    though my best friend in the whole world is my
    boyfriend, and oh man. -this- is probably the most
    meaningful friendship. anything and everything
    without having to say a single word. all the stuff
    that i kinda brush off, the mush and the gloop, it
    just comes tumbling out. it's disarming. but so
    addictive.
    every normal man must be tempted, at times,
    to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag,
    and begin slitting throats.
    h.l. mencken

  2. #12
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I suppose most of my meaningful friendships developed more through being thrown together in particular circumstances than anything else. Some are akin to me and some are very different from me. Each place I've been has yielded one or two friendships that have lasted for some years even though we live far apart.

    - my college roommate who is now a doctor in New Zealand. We don't share the same religious values and we have very different tastes, but both of us share a love of people watching and analysis.
    - a teacher at the first school I taught in. We were both in our first year at the time.
    - a student from my first internship/musician at church from the first place I ended up teaching at. We became friends after she graduated and she was fun to play music with.
    - my landlady and my cooperating teacher from my internship were two people whose friendship I have valued, even though they are both my parents' age.
    - two of the graduate students in my department when I was doing a master's degree - polar opposite people!
    - a teacher I met when I went up north. She couldn't drive when she first got there and I didn't exercise. We shared expertise with each other. She also was an invaluable practical and emotional support throughout the years there.
    - a girl that is like an adopted sister. Our family used to babysit her and she stayed with us for holidays throughout the years. She's married with two kids now and we've found new ways to keep our friendship growing through discussing child-raising, work we'd like to do in the world, ideas, family, etc. I've known her since I was eight.
    - my cousins - a lot of my extended family have been long term friends.
    - my mother - probably my best friend in the world
    - my niece - lives with us and we've spent a lot of time together through the years. Closer than ever before now.

    My relationship to guys particularly, but friends in general has changed throughout the years as they've gotten married. I was never interested romantically in any of them, but I wouldn't want to ever do anything that would make their spouses feel on the edges and a friendship with three people is rarely quite the same. The advent of them having kids has also changed our relationship.

  3. #13
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I find it interesting when people call their siblings or parents their best friends. I don't really relate. And it's not because we're not close or we don't get along. We all have very good relationships with each other (though we do have that "close, but still plenty of privacy and distance" thing going on which I suspect is rather IxxJ - one thing I'm sure of is we're all IxxJ.)

    I think it's just that for me, family and friends are in different categories. I love my parents and my brother so dearly, but they are my parents and my brother, not "best friends." I'm actually curious now as to why I feel so definite about this. I might have to explore further.

    I think maybe my interaction styles with family and with friends are quite different - although both are genuine and "me". I've actually often felt a little nervous when the two spheres cross. I think my family has always been quite self-contained, perhaps a little too much so.
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  4. #14
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    I'm also not really a group person.

    I think the majority of friendships take time to establish though there are some that you have an instant connection with.

    I have friendships with five boys that i grew up with and have known since pretty much birth. Only one of them is still living close by (plus my blood brother) and we are incredibly close. He always introduces me as his sister and i would say the relationship is more familial.

    I do also have friendships with a huge variety of individuals that i have connected with over the years, some were loners and some were part of groups of friends but usually it's only one of the group that i seemed to connect with on a deep enough level to maintain it over time and distance.

    I have a lot of friendships with people i rarely see, i have infact a ten year old friendship with someone i met on myspace and have not met in person though i think i will be soon.

    I do have some very close friends that i see regularly too, no more than five or six and usually i see them seperately, it's not a group in itself but there is some crossover. Most live locally so i see them once a week or fortnight...

    I'm not sure if there are any rules to how i stay in touch with people or how they stay in touch with me. Just seems to happen, it's not something i spend a huge amount of time thinking about.

    I like to learn from people and i see friendships as part of a mutual exchange of idea's, information, love and support.(not in that order and not specific to those only)..but i hold no-one to anything.

    I'm not big on acquaintances and do not enjoy networking...ick.
    "We knew he was someone who had a tragic flaw, that's where his greatness came from"

  5. #15
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    I met two of my close friends while on my first 'job' out of college (~12 yrs ago); I was volunteering for several months at Arches National Park, and living in government housing with two other people close to my age. One of the guys I lived with I just hit it off with... he was and is one of my few male friends. It was one of the 'oddest' relationships, I think... it was just so utterly natural. He's a quieter, contemplative, philosophical, spiritual, pot-smoking sort (stereotyping, here, to paint a picture... he was done w/ drugs though by that point), and we just... quietly bonded. He's one of the only people in existence where right from the get-go I was totally at ease with silence, with him. So we'd sit there, listening to music, or we'd go up into the park a few times for night hikes, we'd of course talk... but a lot of it was just insta-connection, no need to dance around with silly chitchat. He was done with his job only a few months after I arrived, so he left before I did; but we've stayed in contact ever since, met up a few times irl over the years, and email a few times a year. I know he'll always be in my life in one fashion or another.

    Another close friend I didn't really 'bond' with while at the park, but after I was back home I learned she was moving to my state/metropolitan area. So she contacted me, we started hanging out now and then, eventually got an apartment together, living together for a few yrs, and since then we've been super close. Now that we haven't lived in the same state for maybe six years, it's not the same of course, but I've seen her a few times, and we've also taken a few overseas trips together. She is super important to me.

    My third friend I've known for maybe 9 or 10 yrs; met her through a friend (we were all at a climbing gym). The first few yrs we'd get together maybe once every 3 months for coffee; it was slow to develop. But now I consider her a good friend. She's not the most dependable person, so I don't think I'm as close to her as the first two people I mentioned... I just don't think she has the bandwidth / I don't feel I can divulge as much or she's able to give as much. But, she's still pretty great.

    My longest-standing friend I met in college - 16 years ago. She's amazing too; I see her maybe once every month or two, but she's very busy, is married with a 14-mo-old, so our life paths are becoming different; less time to get together.

    My recent ex I'd consider a good friend, although he's the first ex I've been able to do that with; to continue to interact with after, and have enough in common to continue doing activities and also not have the emotional aspect tearing me apart.

    There's one other friend I'd like to 'call out',even though I haven't talked to her for over a year. She's one I know I'd still be super close to if we still lived in the same city though, and I immensely valued her friendship and Self in the year prior to my moving; she's someone I met from this very forum, a fellow infj, and she's an amazing person. Again, rather an insta-connection... I just knew the first time I met her I could say anything; and I hope she felt it was the same vice-versa. We plunged immediately into deeper more 'meaningful' sharing; we both noted that that's kinda rare, though, and I told her that so seldom happens with me. So, I value her too.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  6. #16
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    I feel really super blessed to have the relationships I have. They are my most important assets in life. I remember at 13, after years of loneliness and being an outsider in my own family of 6, just bawling my eyes out and praying to God that I would have some friends. I still have difficulties navigating social relationships, but I definitely have many great friends. All of my closest friends are irl and male. Online I'm more inclined to develop more casual friendships/acquaintances with just a few females. I do struggle with developing friendships now that I'm older and single since most of my friends are married, but I'm not really bothered by it. I'm a bit of chameleon and enjoy being with people who are really into things that I only have a moderate interest in.*

    My brother- My closest and longest friendship. We are great one-on-one, but he prefers that our social worlds do not collide and will not share mutual friends with me either by inviting me to hang out with his friends or joining me and my friends. He's VERY crunchy and most of our conversations revolve around community, the environment, and sustainability.

    A pastor at my church- He's a few years older than me with a wife and kids. Our relationship started out one-sided as I depended in him for mentoring, but has grown more even as I've tried to reach out to him. This was less out of my own need to have a friend, but more out of recognition that he has very few balanced relationships because of his job. He's very nerdy so our relationship revolves around conversations about sci-fi and fantasy stuff.

    Music school friends- I have a couple guys I'm friends with that are doing various graduate degrees in music. Obviously we talk about music. We also have conversations and read books together that revolve around the same topics I discuss with my brother. I'm also more likely to go to a hip restaurant or event with these folks.*

    Breakfast friends: I have breakfast every week with three guys that are locals like me. I went to HS with one of them and law school with the other. They are very intelligent, have an interest in theology, put up with my philosophizing, but ultimately are very typical guys. We get each other's subtle jokes in a way that only people who have grown up in close proximity can. If we're not eating breakfast together at a greek diner then we are watching football or basketball, out smoking cigars, or watching a guy's movie.**

    Things all of these guys enjoy: theology and a good pint of beer.
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  7. #17
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    I feel really super blessed to have the relationships I have. They are my most important assets in life. I remember at 13, after years of loneliness and being an outsider in my own family of 6, just bawling my eyes out and praying to God that I would have some friends. I still have difficulties navigating social relationships, but I definitely have many great friends. All of my closest friends are irl and male. Online I'm more inclined to develop more casual friendships/acquaintances with just a few females. I do struggle with developing friendships now that I'm older and single since most of my friends are married, but I'm not really bothered by it. I'm a bit of chameleon and enjoy being with people who are really into things that I only have a moderate interest in.*

    My brother- My closest and longest friendship. We are great one-on-one, but he prefers that our social worlds do not collide and will not share mutual friends with me either by inviting me to hang out with his friends or joining me and my friends. He's VERY crunchy and most of our conversations revolve around community, the environment, and sustainability.

    A pastor at my church- He's a few years older than me with a wife and kids. Our relationship started out one-sided as I depended in him for mentoring, but has grown more even as I've tried to reach out to him. This was less out of my own need to have a friend, but more out of recognition that he has very few balanced relationships because of his job. He's very nerdy so our relationship revolves around conversations about sci-fi and fantasy stuff.

    Music school friends- I have a couple guys I'm friends with that are doing various graduate degrees in music. Obviously we talk about music. We also have conversations and read books together that revolve around the same topics I discuss with my brother. I'm also more likely to go to a hip restaurant or event with these folks.*

    Breakfast friends: I have breakfast every week with three guys that are locals like me. I went to HS with one of them and law school with the other. They are very intelligent, have an interest in theology, put up with my philosophizing, but ultimately are very typical guys. We get each other's subtle jokes in a way that only people who have grown up in close proximity can. If we're not eating breakfast together at a greek diner then we are watching football or basketball, out smoking cigars, or watching a guy's movie.**

    Things all of these guys enjoy: theology and a good pint of beer.
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  8. #18
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Life and the condition of being human is a weird existential phenomenon. I think people are mirrors and mostly I choose close friends according to who gives back a reflection that helps me make sense of my experience of the world. Everyone has a different threshold or priority for how important it is to understand some underlying sense of ‘self’, and I generally gravitate towards people with a similar threshold, probably because it’s the kind of ‘mirror’ that makes the most sense to me. And even amongst people who prioritize understanding a sense of ‘self’- there has to be a similar enough way of prioritizing information. While surrounding myself with people who are TOO similar can often lead to blind spots only being reinforced- I really need for it to make sense when someone is pointing out a blind spot to me. Generally dealing with other people will either give me a ‘reflection’ that seems like a clearer image than I was already seeing (which helps me understand the world and my experience of it better)- this includes pointing out those blind spots or helping me understand something in my purview that didn’t make sense- or they give me feedback that I can’t really use because I don’t understand the importance. It’s just confusing to me to deal with people whose priorities are significantly different, it’s like looking into a funhouse mirror- it’s not that I think they’re priorities are wrong, it’s just that if I don’t understand them then I have to limit my interaction with them because it’s an alienating experience to deal with them.

    I suppose in the end it comes down to a ‘gut feeling’ in that either the reflection I get from them helps make sense of the world or it doesn’t- either interaction with them helps me come to a clearer understanding of my thoughts and feelings (even if it’s feedback that hurts initially or points something out to me that isn’t flattering- if it helps my thoughts and feelings slide into focus and seem clearer, then I try to embrace it) or it only further convolutes that which doesn’t really make sense.

    A problem I’ve had in the past is dealing with confusing information from someone I’ve built a rapport with. Once I’ve invested a great deal of energy in friendship with someone- because of feeling on the same page with them, built on a lot of experience of them being a very effective ‘mirror’- I lose sight of if/when I should take their feedback with a grain of salt (i.e. if/when I should ‘embrace’ feedback, as opposed to rejecting it simply because it doesn’t immediately make sense). I’m very careful about who I become close friends with because of this- I love the feeling of growth that comes from hearing things that may be difficult to hear BUT I can tell there’s truth in it because it ‘makes sense’- yet it’s extraordinarily confusing to me to have someone close to me say hurtful things that I just can’t make sense of. It’s like kryptonite to me- the stress of it bleeds over into routine tasks because the looping it causes is so distracting. The longer I’ve known someone and the more reliable their judgment has consistently been throughout my entire experience of them- the harder it is to write off feedback that doesn’t make sense.


    Similar to what SilkRoad wrote- I rather envy people who can list family members amongst their most meaningful friendships. I *sorta* have that with my dad, but it's still very limited.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I find it interesting when people call their siblings or parents their best friends. I don't really relate. And it's not because we're not close or we don't get along. We all have very good relationships with each other (though we do have that "close, but still plenty of privacy and distance" thing going on which I suspect is rather IxxJ - one thing I'm sure of is we're all IxxJ.)

    I think it's just that for me, family and friends are in different categories. I love my parents and my brother so dearly, but they are my parents and my brother, not "best friends." I'm actually curious now as to why I feel so definite about this. I might have to explore further.
    Huh, neat.

    I have totally different dynamics with all of my family members. I'm not particularly close to my mom, brother, or any of my extended family; but I'm very close to my sister and dad.

    However, none of my immediate family was close growing up, and I rarely interacted with any of them--it was only later in life that we grew together. So, in a sense, we weren't exactly 'family,' and we're still pretty fractured (that is, not all of us are close to one another). Perhaps that's a key difference.

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