Friday, April 04, 2008

Ever Been In An Unlikely Friendship?

I read the words, “an unlikely friendship,” in a book description for two men who met in a POW camp in Vietnam. That struck me as kind of odd, since I would think the us vs. them environment in a POW camp would be very conducive to creating friendships.

Sometimes, the very best friendships are unlikely.

I’ve often said most of my friends are my polar opposite. October says black; I say white. Angie says take the old, deserted road; I say take the pretty, new highway. And after being married to Brett, I can truly identify with the old saying, “Opposites attract.”

I love October. I love Angie. I don’t always agree with them, but I have more breathless fun with them than I ever imagined possible. I feel accepted and valued. They love me for who I am but aren’t afraid to encourage debate or discussion without ever resorting to being dogmatic. And, if they do, at least they admit it’s dogmatic.

That got me thinking – did someone ever say, “Oh, you’re going to LOVE So-and-so!” And you met So-and-so and didn’t like them at all?

Has anyone ever said, “Oh you’re just like my friend, Blah.” Then you meet Blah, and think, “If I’m like this, I should get a brain transplant. The world does not need more Blahs. Really? Am I like Blah? But Blah is SO annoying!”

And your friend stands there looking oh-so-confused because she likes both you and Blah. And she thought you’d hit it off tremendously. She thought you’d be complimented by the comparison.

One of my college roommates and I got along famously. We enjoyed living together, hanging out together, and talking deep into the night.

Then one day, she started bringing this other girl into our room. The other girl was petite, vivacious, and talked extremely fast. My roommate adored her.

The two of them would hang out together, and my roommate always invited me. But when I would spend time with them, I found myself disliking my roommate’s new friend. I WANTED to like her, but she just rubbed me the wrong way.

I examined my feelings for jealousy and found that I didn’t care if she spent time with my roommate; I was just turned off by her personality. I mean, she talked ALL the time. You couldn’t get a word in edgewise. And she was always laughing. I mean NOTHING is THAT funny for THAT long.

In short, she drove me nuts.

One day, she came into our room when my roommate wasn’t there. I invited her in, and we tried to make conversation. We were both EXTREMELY polite, and I began to get the feeling that perhaps she shared my view.

Finally, she asked me, “Why don’t we get along better? I mean, we SHOULD. Right? We both have lots of the same friends, and we hang out in the same crowd.”

“We should,” I agreed. I studied her for a second. “Do you always talk so fast?”

She laughed. “Do you ever let anyone get a word in edgewise?”

“Me!” I squawked defensively.

“Yes, you! I like your roommate too, you know. You get to see her all the time. Why does she invite you everywhere we go?”

This time, I laughed. “I don’t know! But I’ll stop accepting the invitation. Okay?”

We were both smiling by this time. “I just wish we could like each other more,” she told me, as she headed back to her room.

“Me, too.” I agreed.

When she got back, I told my roommate about the conversation.

“Thank goodness. I’m so relieved. I was starting to worry about hurt feelings, and I like you both so much. I really thought you’d get along.”

Over the next couple of weeks, I saw my roommate when she was in our room, and she and her friend went off campus for fun. It worked out well, so well in fact, that when I saw her friend in the shower line or just walking down the hall, I actually waved. Instead of wanting to run the other way.

I found I could stand her friend in small doses.

Later, when my parents visited, my roommate’s friend dropped by our room. She was always very polite and talked to my parents for quite a while.

As we were about to leave for dinner, my mom turned to me and said, “What a nice girl! She reminds me of you.”

I wanted to scream.


Anonymous said...

I think I know who you mean, only I never knew she was in the category of a friend your friend that you'd love!

WendyJanelle said...

HAHAHA!! Yes, I know the feeling. But you write it better than I ever could. It's always so much FUNNIER when you share your stories.
And, hey, it's pretty amazing that you both could share that kind of honest, but respectful conversation. So you must have at least shared some tact and frankness. Which is why Tob liked you both so much. Tob was the mutual friend, right?

Juliet said...

Go ahead an SCREAM!! I can't Hear You! Love ya MOM

Alice said...

It IS amazing that you could share an honest conversation like that. But I have always been glad for that "opposites attract" thing...