Why make new friends? Keep the old . . .

It’s funny, but in a posting just a few days ago, I was talking about signs, and then today my “Daily OM,” which is supposed to be a page with words of wisdom for the day, was all about how we should react when someone just does not like us for whatever reason, because as people, especially women, our natural reaction is to expect everyone to like us first, and then to adjust to the fact that someone may not like us, even though we may have never wronged this individual. Interestingly enough, both of my husbands have made the same observation about my relationships or non-relationships with other women: other women either hate me or love me. There is no grey area with them, and usually this is an automatic response. I truly have no idea why this happens. I have observed myself to see why this might happen, but so far, I have been unable to come up with an answer.

I have learned a few things along the way, though. I do attract one certain type of woman immediately: the woman who wants to be my instant friend, do everything for me, be my helper, buddy. And almost every single time I am naive enough to trust this person immediately, be drawn in. For some reason, my usually acute radar does not work with this sociopath, and every single time, this person ends up causing me a world of pain and sorrow, almost always in the workplace. Too bad for me, though, I share so much of my personal self that this person then has a foothold in my personal life, too. I remember only one time in which the boundaries didn’t cross, and that was because it was during grad school (the first time), and I met her personally, so there was no crossover into work.

The pattern has been the same every time: lots and lots of shared experiences–it’s almost like we’re sisters (more on that later), a lot of time spent together–shopping, lunches, a lot of proprietary time–telephone calls, a lot of political maneuvering, but not so obvious at first. And then there comes a time I’ll call “The Judas Moment” when one of two things happens: 1) I am suddenly persona non grata with this person, and I do not quite know what happened or 2) I have fallen from grace at work, and I have no idea why. More often than not, it’s a combination, but once in a blue moon, I will have the good sense to cut off the relationship on my own before this moment befalls me.

I have a feeling that I am so vulnerable to this personality type because I have no sisters, so I have never learned the defenses that go along with protecting myself from female territorial behavior. No, I’m being serious here. Imagine that you have a female lion that has never been indoctrinated into the behaviors of the pride as a young cub, and then when she grows up, you throw her into the pride with only her claws and say, “good luck. You have a really nice coat.” Well, hey, I’m an only child. I got along better with my dad. My best buds in high school were guys. You tell me where I’m going to get this subtle indoctrination from? These claw-sharpening skills? I know straight-forward, in your face, and that revenge is a dish best served cold. These are my fighting skills. That would be why the term bitch served me well when I was younger, but you also always knew where you stood with me. I was a better manager for it because if I thought that you were doing something wrong, I told you so that you could fix it. Would it have been better if I were your ‘friend’ and then fired you a week later?

To this day, there remains one person in one particular job who I am certain did everything that she could to get me fired, but luckily she couldn’t for reasons I won’t go into. She did, however, leave me feeling emotionally battered and bruised, and there remains another job that I left on my own but not before I’m certain my reputation had been tainted irreparably by my sanity-questioned co-worker.

But I have read that in life, the number of true friends that you have throughout your life, if you are lucky, you can count on one hand, two if you are very lucky. And I find that to be true. I know that there are a few people that I let fall out of my life that I really regret losing, and that is my fault. One of them worked at the Museum, and she was truly a wonderful person. I ran into her at the store about five years ago and promised to call her, but I didn’t. I know that she was going to move to Richmond, and I hope that she is happy. I still think of her often and remember her fondly. When I started work there, she bought me flowers, but not just any flowers. She bought me a bird of paradise. I didn’t even know what one was. She said that she wanted to buy me a flower that looked like it matched my personality. I thought that it was one of the most wonderful compliments that anyone had ever paid me. I was lucky to have her in my life for the years that I did.

I do still keep in touch with a few other friends who don’t live around here. I’ve mentioned them in my blogs. They’ve all moved away, but not completely out of my life. It is hard for me to make women friends, simply because I tend to give my trust too early and to the wrong people, and so I am gunshy.
I made a few friends during my recent stint in grad school, but being the commuter, it was hard to get close to most of the people who already lived near the metropolitan area.

And so, for now, I’ll keep up with people electronically. I don’t have to watch what I say. I don’t have to worry about pissing of someone by wearing the wrong thing. I don’t have to play office politics. I can be myself, whatever that is on any given day, whether it’s the poet, the dark angel, or Lola, or the woman who really just wanted to make a new friend. If you are offended, don’t read my posts.