Friday, March 31, 2006

I'm torn

I can’t decide if I’m too nice, or a terrible person, or both. Maybe you can help me out.

I don’t make friends quickly or easily. I know people, I have acquaintances, but friends are few and select. There’s also a difference between “friends” and “good friends” for me. The problem is that I don’t know if I advertise this openly enough.

I’m not an abrasive person. I try to be as polite as I can to people, including strangers. I usually adopt a “smile and nod” attitude with people I don’t particularly like (no matter how long I’ve known them). I find it’s easier than attempting to argue (and I say “attempt” because I’m no good at it – I have never successfully yelled at anyone). Instead I will bitch and rant about them behind their back to a sympathetic audience. Confrontation is avoided, and I still get to vent.

I believe this gets me into trouble. People think I like them when I don’t. People think I like them more than I do. People assume we’re close when we’re not. I think I’m simply being polite, and they think I’m their best friend. How does that happen? It may be related to my weird magnet (see my previous post), and people just latch on to anyone who isn’t outwardly rude to them.

I’ve found myself in another “situation.” On the recommendation of friends, I started to see a regular hair stylist at a real salon. I have appointments once every 3 months or so, and that means that I’ve had approximately 4 appointments over the last year. That was the only time I had interacted with her. She’s nice enough. We chat during my appointments. I’ve never thought we clicked or got along exceptionally well, but apparently she did. She invited me out to brunch two weeks ago and I was game. She has no glaring personality flaws, and who doesn’t love brunch?? She picked me up, I treated and it went fine. Not great, but fine. For as much as she liked complaining about how selfish her last boyfriend was, she never once asked me a question. She made no effort to get to know me, but seemed to assume we were old friends of a sort. Maybe I have higher expectations, but if you ask me, I don’t know her all that well, and she certainly doesn’t know me. My appointments mostly consist of me asking her questions. When I run out of questions, the conversation dies. The same thing happened at brunch. Kinda weird, right?

I made the mistake of mentioning the cat I was sitting, and how I wanted to get the cat a toy. She got very excited and offered to take me to her favorite pet store. What makes it her favorite? They let customers hold any animal there, including the puppies. Little did I know, she’d already fallen in love with one particular pup. What I had expected to be a 30 minute stop (I wanted to pet the bunnies), turned into a 2.5 hour ordeal. She got to hold the puppy she’d had her eye on, and it took an hour or so of cajoling from the saleswoman to decide that she really wanted to buy him. After that, there was a whole ritual the new owner has to go through before they are allowed to leave the store with the puppy. That took up the rest of the time, and during that time, she continually fluctuated on what to name it. It was maddening.

Apparently, having gone through this ordeal with her, we are now good friends by her estimation. We had brunch again this past weekend, her treat. Why? Because I didn’t know how to say no. Did I mention I might be too nice? Or a horrible person? Yeah, this is what I’m talking about. I have already passed judgment and decided that she and I are not ever going to click, and yet I don’t have any good reason to tell her to piss off.

More of the same during this meal. She doesn’t know any more about me, but I sure know lots more about her. Still talking about that selfish old boyfriend and how oblivious he must be to his selfishness. (Oh! The irony!) Thankfully I had an experiment going, so I couldn’t do anything after the meal. She was telling me as we walked to the car that she was telling another friend of hers about me, and how sad she was that I was leaving in August considering how long we’ve known each other. I didn’t know what to say. It’s nice to know you’re liked, but come on.

I think this is an acquaintance that may just have to fall to the wayside. I’ll have time to make appointments, and keep her moderately professionally happy (I still don’t know her views on vengeful hair cutting, and I’d rather not find out the hard way), but have little to no time for extracurricular activities. I won’t be lying, just jealously guarding and reserving whatever little bit of free time I have for my real friends.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Count me out

I’m not a joiner. Clubs, teams, sororities, whatever group you can think of that requires face time. None of them have been appealing to me. Believe me, I appreciate what they’re about, and I would encourage anyone to join. I just don’t like feeling roped in, to have my time and/or actions dictated for me. Not that I have all that much else going on – it’s not like I lead this free-wheeling, devil-may-care life chock full of spontaneity where you never know what’s going to happen next. Quite the opposite, actually. And maybe that’s why I don’t like joining – when I do have something pop up unexpectedly, I don’t handle it as well as someone else might. It doesn’t help that I put my club/team/insert-group-here duties at the very bottom of my priority list. I feel I should be able to blow them off without any guilt. Groups don’t like that. They get disappointed, they count on you, they love to tell you all about what you missed and how you should have been there, because they really could have used you. Shove it. I don’t want to hear it. The rhetoric you sold me on to join your damn group included disclaimers like: casual, when you can, if you can, that’d be great, no big deal. That’s a crock. I obviously (very, very obviously) don’t eat/sleep/breath this activity like you do, so don’t expect me to change overnight.