As I have made abundantly clear here, I am an introvert. Not to the point of refusing to leave my home, or having serious problems interacting with other people. But too much time with other people can definitely drain me, and I need down time after a lot of time interacting with other folks. That’s just how I am wired. And if that is genetic it would not be a surprise as both of my parents are very similar.
And yet, I have a large number of good friends. Friends that I interact with online, follow on Facebook, even occasionally talk to. And maybe it is part of my OCD, but I tend not to let go of friends, and will do what I can to maintain those friendships. And in fact, with some of my friends I do not have the same problem as far as draining my energy when I spend time with them. I could spend and afternoon with family, and feel a need to run away and hide. But with some of my friends, if I had the chance, an afternoon would not be nearly enough time.
And I have noticed the same thing with my mini-me Danny. He can be all worn out and exhausted from a day at school or a scouting event, but if one his good buddies shows up, he perks right up. It is an interesting paradox. And speaks volumes about the power of friendship. For us, time with a good friend can overcome our introversion, and power us up.
What got me thinking about this was the walk on Sunday. There I was, walking in a huge crowd of people, joking with other people, interacting with them, things I am not all that great at. And I could have easily walked much faster, kept up with the family, or even completed it faster alone. But I slowed my pace, and kept up the banter, because I was there for my friend. And being there for her, encouraging her, and keeping her pace was one reason why I was there.
Another reason I was thinking about this is my friend I have written about in the past. He is one of my best friends, and I know from experience that if we get together I can keep going for hours without feeling drained. But he is a serious extrovert, and one of those people who strikes up friendships at the drop of a hat.
Which got me thinking, maybe if you are like that, if it is easy to develop friendships, and you enjoy the company of other people all the time, maybe it is easier to lose contact with some of them. Out of sight, out of mind, oh well, here is another person to be friends with. Not to say that they don’t have close friends, but if they lose contact with them it is not as hard on them. And they don’t notice it as much if a person is not around as much, because there are always other people to make friends with.
Which in my mind explains why some of my friends are not as quick to respond to an e-mail, or message, as I would be. Because what is in their minds is the friends they see all the time, not someone else they maybe see once a year or longer. I won’t say that it makes me feel any better when I feel ignored, but it at least makes it a little more understandable.
All of which means that I have a little more understanding why I am willing to work hard to keep up my interaction with my friends, and if I can be there to help them. While it may not always feel that things are reciprocated, it is not that they don’t value our friendship, it is because friendship means something different to them.