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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Microstory 338: Close Friends

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I had a few friends when I was younger, but then my family moved. At that point, I was making decisions for myself as a free-thinking individual. Those friends from before were mainly a result of parental interference (which is fine, by the way). Suddenly, however, I had to make my own friends, but couldn’t because I was quiet, weird, and awkward. Fortunately for me, as a speculative fiction writer, I had plenty of characters to interact with, across an infinite number of worlds. Others with social anxiety are not so lucky, and I feel for them, because they want to belong, but too often feel that no one will accept them. Over time, I think I’ve encountered a higher number of people than the average guy. Since I didn’t belong to a clique like most, it was easy to get noticed by anyone and everyone. Though I generally don’t speak unless spoken to, I always answer questions, which makes me accessible. This put me in this weird position where I had a lot of people I could call upon for help, but I didn’t have anyone who just wanted to hang out. I’ve needed volunteers for scientific studies, I’ve gotten caught in dangerous storms, and one time I forgot to pay a speeding ticket and lost my license for a day. People I barely knew stepped up and helped me out of these jams, because they knew enough about me to know that I didn’t have anyone else to call. There were even two guys I would have considered to be my enemies. I ended up becoming a roommate to one of them, and hating him again for it. But the other guy gave me an employee discount at the sandwich shop, despite us never having spoken a word to each other since “the fight” a decade before. These are examples of what close friends are there to do for you. They’re unusual examples, but I wouldn’t give them up for a small group of hangout buddies.

Tribal Belonging

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