a unique perspective on this crazy world

the origin of friendship


This afternoon I had a wonderful, much too brief, visit with an old friend on his way from the airport to his mother’s 90th birthday in our favourite city.  I first met him when I was dating his best friend, 20 years ago now.  Yikes!  But we know I’m old so the interesting part of the story is that when I broke up with his friend, he asked if WE could still be friends.  I am pretty unconventional so it was fine with me.  But not a very typical way to acquire friends…

For whatever reason, that seems to be my norm.  I never gave it much thought until friends started playing a party game called, “how did you meet Marla?”  I had this eureka moment that most people develop their friendships from a very limited set of channels.  The typical ones are school, work or sports.  There is nothing wrong with these channels, of course, but it means that most of the people at the party will already know each other.

And likely have a lot of similarities.  How I started throwing parties is another story but I have thrown a lot of them and it’s always a diverse group.  People have commented on how much they enjoy my parties because it’s such a broad mix of people.

I think that stems from my lifestyle.  I have always been a gypsy child.  I spent my first six birthdays in a different town every year so I became used to new people.  But I guess I also yearned for more stability in some ways so once I got old enough to afford stamps, I would stay in touch with anyone I met who really caught my attention.  My criterion was an interesting conversation rather than shared interests or contacts.

I never really set out with a plan to acquire friends.  Just to meet people and treat them well.  But it’s ended up being a wild, wonderful ride.  Some of my best friends have rarely ever lived in the same city as me.  One friendship developed because we always brushed our teeth at the same time in university residence and would invariably end up on the sink counter with our toothbrushes chatting into the night.  Another was my random roommate for six weeks during a summer job in Calgary – we didn’t talk very often but when she taught me the longest word in the English language I knew she was one of my tribe 🙂   Yet another was acquired after I had been instructed to meet new people at an Australia Day party – by another friend who I acquired via a friend I met on a boat cruise by mistaking him for someone else…

You get the idea!  I would encourage everyone to make a goal to try and acquire at least one new friend each decade that you didn’t make via the normal channels… someone you met randomly at a bus stop maybe… we’re still going strong 30 years later… and I am really hoping she will be able to fly in for my 50th birthday party 😉

architects love chicago 🙂

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