And I found myself thinking about this while watching Dinner with Andre, an "experimental" film that features a dinner conversation between two old friends for 1 hour and 45 minutes. It was good, but I couldn't see myself sitting down to watch it again anytime soon. It's hard to sit though, but it brought up some interesting ideas.
Having said both of those things to preface my entry, I think I am more in tune to why I am not up to making new friends here. These two friends who in actuality know little about each other, but can share ideas openly reminded me of a conversation I had recently with Jennie Elman, a girl with whom I went to high school, but we never hung out together or even existed in the same group of friends. But that didn't matter, and we were able to talk openly and candidly about whatever was going on in our lives, no-holds-bar.
This doesn't happen often, however. Not even with close friends. It seems that there is always something going on inside that isn't shared. A thought, a feeling, an experience that we hide away. (At this point, it helps to be familiar with the Billy Joel song "The Stranger" because he hits the nail on the head with that song.) When is the last time you were entirely, completely honest with the people around you?
It's difficult in group situations to be candid, so often we do our best acting at parties. It's not much easier to be ourselves with only one or two others, however. There's a vulnerability that we don't like to show, and besides that, sometimes an abrassive side, or tempermental side. We are afraid to hurt or scare those around us. With whom can we really be honest?
This brings me back to my original point. While it's easier to keep in touch now, technology has seen to it that people continents away can send messages instantaniously to someone, or post a message for all to see. Email, AIM, LiveJournal...these are tools I use to keep in touch with friends and family as close as Orlando and as far as Madagascar or Luxembourg. But how much can you express using the written word from thousands of miles away? Even the telephone is a device that allows for deception. We can ignore calls, or put on a cheerful tone and no one is the wiser.
Face to face, in an intimate setting, it is harder to hide behind masks and "The Stranger"...our true selves...are sometimes allowed to come out. Not often, and it's been my experience that it's sometimes substance-induced, but we do break down those walls a couple times, in extreme situations.
So I have a couple people that I can be entirely honest with, and a few more that I can be mostly honest with, and even more that I can be close-enough to honest with. And these relationships took years to establish. Maybe I don't want to start that again. Maybe I know that the people here are not going to be in any of those three groups I just listed (not even the last), so why bother trying to build anything more than a superficial, sub-standard acquaintance? It's a waste of time and energy that could be used to improve those relationships which are most likely not in the best of shape, or hell...use the time to clean the house, watch a movie, go skydiving.
I'm going to try not to be purposely cold or stand-offish, but I think I'm also not going to go on a limb just to find a "grocery shopping buddy." There are some things I can do on my own.