It’s become a tradition in February, one almost as sacred as chocolates and hearts, this week I spend in Florida with my friend M.  We loll around the house here, sleep later than normal, talk, drink coffee in our pajamas as long as we like, go for walks, talk, sit in the sun, read, eat, talk, shop, drink, get facials and pedicures…well, you get the picture. 

This week is one of the things that makes February lovely.

But I’ll let you in on a secret. 

It’s not always easy for me to share this much of myself.

It’s my nature to be a very private person, rather introverted actually, and perfectly happy being on my own with only me, myself, and I for company.  I was never one of those kids who liked having friends over all the time, and sometimes would just throw lots of my toys out the backdoor and say, “Here, you play with them, and I”m going inside to read.”   I weaseled my way out of invitations to birthday parties and sleep overs whenever I could.   I had no intention of going away to college, because I couldn’t imagine myself in a communal living situation like a dorm.  (I still get cold chills down my spine just thinking about it.)

I’ve had some adult friendships over the years that were close enough to involve lengthy periods of time together, even traveling together (the true test of a friendship, I think).  But it’s always been a strain for me, and I always find myself yearning just a little bit, no matter how much fun we were having, to be on my own.

Now, M. and I get on very well and have very similar tastes in the things we like to do.  We became friends first through church, and our friendship was cemented during the years we played bells together and traveled around performing.  Our husband’s are friends too, and the four of us have done some rather extensive traveling together.  M. and her husband have a world of friends from all walks of life, and they have graciously included us in their inner circle, providing us with social opportunities we would never had had otherwise.  Through our friendship, I’ve learned how to do all the group things that I never allowed myself to do when I was younger.  And I’ve learned to enjoy them very much. 

But I think there’s a part of me that  I always keep to myself, and when I’m with another person for an extended period of time  it gets tiring to keep that secret part hidden away.  It’s almost like holding your breath, this feeling of keeping watch over that inner being, of not letting it escape into the light of day.  It’s not really about being on my best behavior, or trying to impress with my knowledge or wit…it’s just about being truly and completely me. 

How about you?  Are you a people person, or do you prefer being on your own?  Are your times with friends love-ly?



8 thoughts on “Friendship

  1. It is so interesting to read your account of you interact with others. I think there is a lot to be said for knowing yourself and your preferences and acting on them, regardless of perceived social pressures.

    While I am very comfortable in my own company and crave alone time on a regular basis, I am a people person at heart. Not a full-out extrovert, but I do love and need the company of others and the intimacy of close friendships. That’s the hardest part of my current living situation, even though it is entirely voluntary, I do feel quite lonely a lot of the times. My friends are all across the border and I miss having at least a couple of close friends as well as my family within easy reach.

    Florida in February sounds lovely! As does your tradition of spending this time with a good friend. Sometimes I think it is good to get pushed a little outside of our comfort zone and it sounds like you are not only doing that but also nurturing a valuable friendship in the process and having some fun 🙂

  2. Becca,
    This place is looking quite marvelous.

    I know what you mean about keeping part of yourself hidden from view. It’s difficult to explain without sounding a bit self-involved, but I feel this way, too.

    I would never be considered an introvert, but I find myself needing more time to myself than I used to. Instead of feeling energized after being with people, I feel a little drained. This has nothing to do with others or how I feel about them. I love and cherish my family and friends, but I find replenishment, comfort and even entertainment in solitary pursuits now.

    It’s good to know yourself and give yourself what you need. Stretching is good too. I suppose it’s balance. Always balance.

    Enjoy your visit with M and the warmth of Florida. We had another deep snow this weekend.

  3. I love my friends. I love spending time with them, I love everything about them. But having my “own” time is almost as essential to me as breathing. There are times when I’d be perfectly content to be all alone with my books, yarn, scraps of paper and orange kitty! I do that up north at least once a year for several days; if I take a road trip to see anyone, fine, but it’s on MY terms!

    It sounds as though you are having a lovely time — and frankly, not being here in the blizzard (we’re looking at about 8″ in Lansing; 10-12 south of 94) is a huge plus for you!

    Enjoy. And thank you for sharing that part of you.

  4. Ditto to Jeanie– love the look of your new blog! Your week with your good friend sounds like heaven to me… it is easy for me to open up and share myself with people I love and trust. On the other hand, lately I’ve been feeling that I would be happier if I didn’t expose myself so much. I’m definitely a people person… but that aspect of my personality can leave me feeling raw, vulnerable and exhausted. For me, there has to be a balance of emptying the well and filling it back up.

  5. I’m lucky enough to have some amazing friends, and I work by appointment, so I’m with people face to face all day long. Alone time is precious and renewing. A few years ago I learned that being an introvert isn’t about not liking to be around people, but is instead the way we re-charge ourselves. Without quiet time I’m a wreck.

  6. I notice that with every passing year I need more alone time and less social time. I, too, find most of it a tad draining. My husband, however, is a true introvert. I bet he would relate to your post whole-heartedly.

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