Extenuating Circumstances Make Great Friends

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sometimes it takes a tragedy, an emergency situation or an unlikely pairing on an eternal bus ride to deepen a connection between two rare souls. Sometimes it seems a tragedy in itself that it takes such extenuating circumstances to forge said connection.

I remember a woman I used to work with that reamed someone out for asking her how she was one day. Instead of just letting it go as a socially responsible thing to ask, she lectured him about the unfriendliness of the "how are you" question when he really had no regard for the answer. But would it have been more friendly to just ignore her and walk into the building without having said a word to her?

In a way, she was right though. These less-than-meaningful social graces we subscribe to don't fulfill that deep desire for human connection. But it would be difficult to forge that connection with every single person we pass, and so these social graces keep us moving along in harmony.

However, wouldn't it be nice, once in awhile, if we could form some deep bonds with the people we meet in passing? Without being couped up next to them in a bathroom during an hour-long tornado warning? Without lying next to them on an airport bench during severe winter weather that left you both stranded?

I have a neighbor that I've said "hello" to in passing. She's right around my age with a little daughter. We seem to be in a similar sort of life situation in many respects, yet I didn't even know her name for the first three years of living in my home. I mean, wouldn't it be nice to have someone within breathing distance to laught about tantrums with, to exchange babysitting, to rave about the new sidewalks, and to whisper about our mates?

I have good friends, to be sure. But sometimes the logistics of separate cities, multiple children and different working hours leave little time for get-togethers, let alone grabbing a quick coffee. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone so close by that you don't need to think about packing your baby in the car, running for gas, and being home in time for dinner? And why not be close friends with a neighbor anyway?

So, we invited the neighbor, her daughter and boyfriend for a cookout during the summer. From my profile, you can see that I have a craving for connection. I tend to fall more on the reserved side though, so I let my husband do the talking. I mean, why not? Why not take those small opportunities and turn them into something remarkable? A tight group of close friends keeps us all happy, healthy, well-adjusted human beings. And they have nice warm homes to hide out in when you accidentally lock yourself out of the house.

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