What do people expect when you tell them stuff about you? When you have a problem and you choose to confide in them, do they expect that they need to offer advice? Do they believe that their job, as a friend, is to just listen? Maybe they are just supposed to agree with you. I often analyse (and over analyse) situations. I rarely tell people what is going on in my life, simply because… well, in truth, I’m not sure.
My mum always calls me a “Secret Squirrel”, saying that I live my life not telling anyone what is happening. I guess this is true to a certain extent. If I tell someone stuff about me, whether it’s my plans, how my day has been or what is going on in my world, it means that I trust them to some small extent, and that I am confident enough with them that I don’t have that nagging “they don’t want to hear what I have to say” feeling that seems to invade my thoughts.
This is the reason that my relationship with Alan, my best friend from school, sometimes seems superficial. I’d trust him with my life, but very rarely tell him what’s going on in my life simply because I don’t have the inclination, and the times that I do, I don’t always feel that I get a response that I want from him. He (naturally) wants to talk about things, although he won’t always give his opinion. When he does, it’s generally straightforward and delivered in a direct manner. “You shouldn’t do that.” or similar. When I see him, I generally want a break from the trials and tribulations of the world.
Tasha is different. As I see her all of the time, she generally knows what is happening in my life. She’ll give advice if I ask for it, but again, I rarely do. Quite often I’ll ask her to sit down and chat with me about something, and it’ll never happen. Infuriating. In fact, we tend to speak more on a personal level about me when we are stuck in a car together. By “personal level” I mean above and beyond the usual type of “I was chatting to so-and-so” or “Mel said XYZ about ABC.”
I quite often find I have nothing to say to others and no interest in what they are saying to me. Perhaps this is why relationships fizzle and burn for me? I start by asking question after question after question, and when I start repeating my questions as I can’t remember the answers, people get frustrated. Or when I run out of questions I realise that everything is not what I hoped it would be with that person.
When I first met Mel I felt able to sit there in a relatively comfortable silence. We could talk and chat, that was fine, but the moments when conversation ran out we were quite happy just having each others company. It was the same with Marina. We’d often go into town and sit in a coffee shop, each reading a book to ourselves, just happy as we were.
I guess that is some kind of litmus test for me. I hate using the phone (surprising when most of my jobs have involved being on the phone all day) and am definitely not a great fan of being on the phone to someone all the time. Once I’ve known someone for a while and can talk to them all day on the phone, it’s as if I’ve brought them into an inner circle of friends.
It’s a connection that Lisa and I have never had. We’ve never been phone people. We met online, chatted online, texted each other but very rarely have we actually spoken on the phone. Tasha and I chat on the phone all the time, but it’s without an agenda. Quite often out conversations end with the words “Well I can’t think of any more to say so I’m going to go.” which we both seem ok with.
Maybe I shouldn’t think about relationships with friends. Just because I call one person but only ever text another, that’s just the way it is and it doesn’t actually mean anything. But then again, maybe that’s the very reason I don’t have many people in my life that I am especially close to.