09 April 2005

Interesting entry...

This post over at jeremy's site got me thinking, oddly enough, about friendships. This is in rough form, and I might not edit it later, so pardon any lack of flow.

As you have general practitioners and specialists in law and medicine, so you have the same thing among the people you know in life. You have the person you call the "family lawyer" or "family doctor" (coming from a small town, these were actual, real concepts), and this analogizes to the traditional "best friend." The rare, hard-to-find ones. The always there ones, with whom you just click really well. The few things they don't know about you, they can probably take a good guess at. They offer good advice, never abuse the relationship, etc. Mutual trust, in it for the long term. You get the idea. Honestly, when writing all that out, I realize I have never had what I would call a best friend. Two people who would come close, but as Dad always says, "close is only good in horse shoes."

Everyone else--the dozens and dozens of people I've called "friend" at one time or another--falls into the specialist category. You only need the tax lawyer at tax time, or the cardiologist when your ticker is acting up. Estate lawyers and rheumatologists become more important as you age, typically. Similarly, you have friends for certain needs in life, and friends for certain times in life. Most of my high school friends were just that--friends for a certain age, to get me through all those adolescent ups and downs. In fact, I even moved through friends pretty fast in high school. My fifteen year old group of friends was totally different than my seventeen year old group. That probably is the norm (right?). And then there were the friends I had while majoring in music, and the smaller subset who were in piano performance. As soon as I changed majors, the common thread was lost with both groups. But when I changed to polisci, I didn't start to hang out with the polisci majors. Obviously, the friends you have is not purely a result of environment, though I would guess the correlation is strong.

My current friends are more likely, I would wager, to stick a little better. Only because we've gone through so much together, and will be pursuing similar career paths. We speak a more or less common language, and share a more or less common experience. But wait--wasn't the same true of my friends from music school? And high school? Yup. So a month after graduation, after all the "let's keep in touch" talk, will any of us really keep in touch?

I guess my point is that I've yet to find my general practitioner (that sounds so corny). And I think this is totally different from finding the person you want to wake up next to in bed the rest of your life--or maybe not, I wouldn't really know, to be honest. So I mentioned this to a couple people I know, to see if I was just a freak; while some gave the usual responses ("you think a lot, don't you?" or the simple "what?"), others candidly admitted to experiencing the same thing. This didn't really make me feel good about it, it just made me wonder why that is. Oddly enough, I think there is a best friend out there for everyone, but many (too many) people never get that lucky. Instead, we go to the friend who can make us happy, or the friend who's a great helper-outer, or the friend who is there during that first year of college, like we go to whatever doctor can fix that unique problem, or whatever lawyer knows how to get us out of that once-a-decade tough luck situation.

I guess that should be good enough, right? Well, maybe it's a good bare minimum. Besides, if you're going to get anything more than that, you can't exactly force the issue. It will just happen when it's supposed to.

Now I'm in this deep-thinking mode before bedtime, which means I'll lay there restless for another hour.


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