Ying and yang

When I lived in another state many years ago, I made some very good friends. There is one I keep in touch with. Every year she sends one of those “this is what we did” letters at the holidays. They leave me happy for her, overwhelmed at all she does (they are older than we are) and thinking I’m pretty damn boring. That’s boring with a capital B.

They travel a lot. A whole lot! Most of it is to see family and friends or to take those people to see sights. One daughter lives in Canada and the other is moving across the country so there is a lot of traveling to connect.

When I lived near her, I loved her. She was a true people person. She always was there for anyone. She trudged around looking at cars when I had to buy one. I would walk in and say I want a red one. She was the one who asked about warranties, brakes and whatever was important. She could also negotiate much better.

It was hard to reciprocate because she had many friends. One Thanksgiving her kitchen was under construction so she and her family celebrated at my house. When I moved she was willing to have me and my two cats stay with her overnight to start out the next morning. (My cats voted that idea thumbs down so instead we drove late in the evening.)

Her husband was an executive who was downsized or outsized (whichever was in vogue at the time) but their life didn’t seem to change. It was all about people – hosting; visiting; traveling with or to.

A blogger recently posted about opposites attracting. From a people perspective we are opposites. I’m not a fan of lots of people around all the time. She hosted a European friend in her home for over a year while he was on a work assignment. I may do that (if it was a good friend) but I’d inwardly whine or drink a lot of Starbucks. Or maybe I’d find him a nice place to live that wasn’t in my house.

When I get these letters I realize how our lives have changed. I am not a traveler, complaining when I have to go to the distant warehouse store (30 minutes). I am happy that she is doing the things she likes to do and I’m also happy that I don’t have to. As a friend, I miss her a lot. We occasionally get together as couples but it’s not the same as sharing a tea or an impromptu trip someplace when you live blocks apart. She will always be someone special and I will always be her boring friend. Maybe opposites do attract.

65 thoughts on “Ying and yang

  1. You’re not boring with a capital “B” or a small “b” but it is sad that people grow apart. I have Facebook friends, mostly from high school, haven’t seen them since we graduated in 1973 – we have items we hash out about the past, or brief conversations where we share each other’s pain over minor catastrophes, but I still don’t know if it they are deep friendships – it makes me a little sad sometimes. Because I live alone I feel I’ve become very set in my ways – probably not good. But it is good we are all different – how boring if we were all cookie cutter people.

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    • “Set in our ways” made me laugh. I think as we get older we are less likely to do things we don’t want to do to be accepted or get along with people. That is “set in our ways.” There are activities I won’t do or places I won’t go because I have no interest. It’s not bad though. I don’t have to sit through incredibly boring situations. I live with my husband and I worry about getting isolated. We do stuff we enjoy but we don’t see every movie or concert anymore. It’s harder to make friends when you are older. I make “acquaintances” through activities but they don’t into those true lifelong friends.

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      • All true, and I enjoy that I can say “no” and not have angst or worry what someone is going to say. I’ve not been to the show since 1992 and I cancelled my cable in January of 2010 so I’ve not seen any TV – so I’d say I’m behind in pop culture, but I mostly keep up from listening to the “Mitch Albom Show” and following Twitter and Facebook to an extent. I don’t like any of the radio stations I used to love as I find them too loud so I listen to the radio news way too much and get so frustrated sometimes that I have to shut it off – who am I going to complain to when I listen to the news? I walk around muttering to myself which is not good, but the state of the world leaves me wondering sometimes, especially when a top story today was that Hershey’s have figured out why the tops were breaking off their chocolate kisses, so it’s all good now. Or the Detroit Tigers are getting all new caps as fans complained the olde English “D” was bigger on the caps than the uniform’s old English “D” – the better solution would be they start winning games and don’t worry about the *&#@ hats … just sayin’. I’m afraid I’ll turn into the Clint Eastwood “Get off my lawn” character on day … I had to Google it on YouTube as I heard the reference so much and never saw the movie. 🙂

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  2. My guess is she doesn’t find you boring or she wouldn’t have spent so much time with you, regardless of her personality. Even wonderful people have their limits..:) So opposites do attract. You are both lucky to have each other in your lives.

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  3. I have a friend that I have known since I was in diapers (toddler diapers, not adult diapers) and we are still buddies even though we live on opposite ends of the country. If we first met today, I’m not sure we’d hit it off enough to have a get-to-know-you-better coffee. It’s our shared history that keeps us close. I can’t imagine not having her in my life.

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  4. I always feel like the boring friend too. Even when I was socializing regularly, I often had to force myself to go. The idea of curling up alone with a book was always more appealing. I’m never the planner. I go along with other people’s plans/adventures.
    I miss having a planner/adventurer friend close by. It does force me to do more.

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  5. It’s all about the contrasts in friendships. If you’re too much alike then you’ll get bored with each other. So I’m not surprised that you have a friend who is 180º opposite of you and you two hit it off. I also think that as time and geography come between people it’s more realistic to understand that relationships evolve, rather than insisting they remain the same. Ever onward, you know?

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  6. Oh boy do I relate to this, Kate! I have a good friend always encouraging me to do MORE like she does. Travel more, shop more, see more movies, go to more restaurants…and any number of things that I feel quite sure are not for me. We are happy with our simple lifestyle and I don’t need to justify myself, but sometimes after being “challenged” so many times I begin to second-guess myself. I don’t know why others think they know best for us, but I just continue to praise them for their interests, and once in a while I ask them if there’s something I do that would make them think I’m unhappy? I think I’m exactly where I need to be, even if they must think I’m underperforming. Ha!

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  7. A guest for a YEAR?! Okay, her house must be bigger than mine. Or her guest must be nicer.

    On the flip side, she’d be great at running an AirBnB.

    I have friends who also travel way more than we do. I’m kind of envious, but I moved around a lot as a kid. So it’s nice to stay in one place. I can be the boring friend, too.

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    • She had a 4 bedroom house and one teenager at home at the time. She would be great at an AirBnB. She has the personality for it. I traveled a lot inside and outside of this country when I was a young adult. I had some really great vacations and maybe that’s why I don’t have the travel bug. Most of my friends were raising children at that stage.

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  8. Good for you Kate. There are friends and special friends.
    We know a lot of people, but friends are extremely few, though I include my co worker from the 1970s who will be 80 is April who told me to keep Hubby as he was useful and MSM who looked after Maggie and us when we were selling the boat and househunting. We don’t have a lot of contact, but it is always nice to chat on the phone or get an email.
    I had a Bestie at school, but when we moved away, we lost touch after a year, another bestie when I was first married (that went very awry even though we kept in touch after my divorce), no bestie in Bath or Lincolnshire, though a possible from SW when we were on the boat. She had a horrible end to the year with her husband losing his dad and aunt in less than a week just before Christmas.
    I am still saddened in the way our friendship with MOH ended after 30 years, but these things happen I guess, and he’d previously said he’d had a falling out with his friend from school which was going back almost 60!

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  9. She sounds like a wonderful friend to have, whether opposite or not. I understand how you feel about missing her and not being able to get together more often for a quick lunch or cup of coffee.

    I’m sort of in between you and her. I’m not a fan of traveling either, but I do love having friends and family over to my home (thus, I don’t have to travel). I also offer people to stay over at my house all the time. Some of my blogger friends and I have discussed meeting some day, and I always offer my home if they come to my town. I don’t want them to have to pay for a hotel. Pets are welcome too, although I don’t know how well Max would do with cats. 😉

    So, if you’re ever in Chicago . . .

    🙂

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  10. I’m fascinated how friendships can change over the years, from intense and close to sometimes distant and foreign. Then they can swing back again. I’ve had this happen with friends of my own when I’m convinced they are out of my life for whatever reason (distance, long-term stresses they are going through, etc.), only to hear from them out of the blue. – Marty

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    • “distant and foreign” rings true. I had some friends early in life that I thought would be lifers. A lot happens when people have kids (and their friends don’t). I lost all my high school friends that way. Lifestyle changes cause different interests. So far I haven’t rekindled with anyone from that period. I was friends with my working friends a lot longer as we had more in common but some have moved (when they retired) and some have died. Sometimes I feel like I churn through friends like a blender.

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  11. Oh Kate this made me smile and warms my heart because friends are so wonderful and yes our friends can be very opposite of us. But I would be quick to say that you are NOT a boring friend ! You keep me laughing! 🙂

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  12. Getting together as couples is NOT the same as hanging out with a friend. I miss just hanging out with friends. Impromptu get-togethers to chat, listen to music, play backgammon or frisbee, and just chill. Aah . . . that’s better!

    Hope you have a chance to hang out with your friend in 2019!

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  13. My neighbor across the street lives alone and rents a room out in her home to different college students. One guy was there for 3 years. These are older students working on doctorates. These house are small but no matter, I would have a problem with a stranger underfoot. Even with a friend that wasn’t so strange! I think as we grow older we get more settled in our ways and don’t like our routines interrupted. ~Elle

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    • About 25 years ago I lived a block off campus of an all-women’s college. I thought about renting a room to a student. I had extra room but decided that I like privacy too much and I wasn’t used to younger people. That in itself may make me crazy.

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  14. oh it seems we have the same friend… I often plan to visit her, but my inner me finds 1000 whitewashers immediately why I can not do that… but I love her even from a distance and I’m glad that we are still in contact…thanks mr. zuckerberg for that LOL

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    • You must be my sister from another mother! I have another friend I should travel to see but I don’t. Even worse than that is I don’t like phoning people either. I love emails and facebook. Anyplace where I don’t have to be conscious of the time. No one wants a call at 7 a.m.! 🙂

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