After taking a personal inventory, I have made the following observations of myself as a friend. I am:
A.) fiercely loyal,
B.) very good at social networking websites, and
C.) extremely unlikely to ever speak with you on the phone
Also, if I were to be perfectly honest with potential friends upon first meeting them, I would be absolutely friendless.
It would probably go something like this:
New Person: Hi, my name is ____.
Me: Oh, hello, _____. I’m terribly high-maintenance.
New Person: (walks away quickly from the crazy lady)
Conversely, if on occasion I managed NOT to frighten people away within the first five minutes of meeting them, it would ultimately lead to:
Truthfully, I’m not high-maintenance in the worst sense: I don’t want to be surrounded by sycophants or anything. But I am pretty sensitive, and I have a lot of baggage and a lot of hang-ups, and, well, I can be a little crazy. Crazy = inconsistent = unpredictable, and generally speaking, people don’t find relationships with unpredictable people to be particularly effortless. And it comes down to the degree of effort involved, I think, that prevents my making significant connections with many people.
First, there is the problem of defining “effort”. I don’t need, nor do I especially want, my friends to call me on the phone for idle chit-chat. Talking on the phone makes my brain seize up and misfire. People complain that texting or writing emails leads to miscommunications because you cannot tell the affect of the person with whom you are conversing, but I beg to differ: slap some emoticons on that bitch, spice it up with affect cues in asterisks ( e.g. *sarcasm*, *rolling eyes*), whatever — it’s the talking on the phone and not being able to see your face that gets me all discombobulated. For whatever reason, in the absence of face-to-face contact, it’s easier for me to discern someone’s true voice from their writing than from their disembodied voice over the phone. So, effort, to me, is keeping in constant contact through the avenues that cause me the least anxiety. It is no surprise then that the friends with whom I am closest are those with a 50 word-per-minute minimum texting speed.
Second, there is the issue of how we will interface and spend time together. In keeping with just how much I hate to talk on the phone, I would much rather see you in person than anything else. But there’s another wrench in the works: I’m a goddamn introvert of the highest order.
(This guide to interacting with introverts is essentially my Rosetta stone.)
But, I am also at the mercy of my moods, which will range from “Fuck yeah, let’s go DANCING.” to “You are welcome to sit beside me in silence while I sit in my quilted cocoon and watch a movie.” The very best friends that I’ve ever had are the ones who understand this and don’t hold it against me, while continuing to venture to bring me out of shell every now and again.
And finally, there’s the emotional crap. The Baggage. Jesus Christ, the baggage. It seems endless at times, the ways in which the emotional wounds inflicted during my youth can impact my present, and by extension, my future. It’s that ol’ ACOA thing again: We don’t know normal, we’re too hard on ourselves, we think love is a commodity that must be earned and traded, we take everything too seriously, we need constant approval and affirmation, we’re highly impulsive, and we have intimacy issues that strain the boundaries of reasonable. That is what I mean when I say that I’m high-maintenance. I don’t want to be that way — it goddamn sucks — but it’s hardwired into my brain.
It is for all of the above reasons I have come to really believe this quote from someone I really like and respect: “I have friends in spite of myself.”