I tend toward solitariness--it's just my nature to enjoy being alone. My friends generally are surprised when I announce that I am an introvert, because I can be outgoing and friendly (years of work in a field that required schmoozing with advertisers and the like can train a girl to do stuff like that, even if she doesn't like it!), but the fact is that being sociable and outgoing really does wear me out and I avooid it when I can. Consequently, I'm not one of those people who collects scads of friends. Sure, I know a lot of people, but if pressed, I don't think I'd call all those folks my friends. Why am I even going on about this? Well, this past Monday was "Girls' Night Out," a periodic gathering of a few close friends in which we go someplace where there's good food and just catch up on stuff. We all see each other or talk to one another on a regular basis, but not generally as a group, so GNO is our chance to all get together in one place and celebrate our friendship. At this particular dinner, we got caught up in a conversation about a situation that didn't involve any of us directly but with which we all had some sort of peripheral involvement--and each person adding her perspective to the story provided for a couple of hours of entertaining conversation. It wasn't a typical GNO, when we catch up on everything that's happening in each others' lives. I realized this later when talking with another friend and sometime GNO participant who couldn't make our most recent gathering. She was asking me questions about the important things going on in everyone else's lives--the kinds of things we usually talk about--and for each question she asked, I had one inadequate answer: "I don't know. We didn't talk about that." See, we got so caught up in the funny story we were all sharing that everything else just sort of fell by the wayside. In one way that's kind of unfortunate, because it's nice to be able to catch up in person. But we had fun, even talking about other stuff, so that counts for something too.
The next day, the usual round of e-mails went out saying "I had a great time," "It was good to see everyone," and so on. But then one friend made a statement that really hit home. She said that when she got together with the rest of us, she often got caught up in the "conversation of the moment" and forgot to say what she really wanted to say, which was something very important to her and that was how much she valued our friendship.
"I feel like I take our ability to be together for granted when I'm here. If we never meet again for some reason, you are all very special to me, and our time together is one of the most important things in my life."
I don't think we say such things often enough and I thank her for bringing it up. We often take friends for granted, especially those few close ones who know us well, and I think it's beautiful when someone is able to actually say how much friendship means to her. The next time you get together with your friends, think about that, and if you haven't told them recently how much they mean to you, maybe you should. It could make their day. I know the above comment made mine....