They say the older you get, the further away your friends become. It is also said that with age comes a much stricter selection policy with those we choose to confide in and trust.
Of course this generally speaking is quite true. As we grow our social circle expands, but it also flexes and wanes in places. We meet new people through others, but we also lose people through movements, relationships and through taking differing and forever changing journeys through life.
As an introvert I consider friendship as a challenge. Often, and being perfectly honest, it is a challenge I really couldn’t be bothered with. I don’t need other people to reaffirm my opinions, nor do I need other people to confide in or share experiences or thoughts with. I am quite happy just being me, with me and few others around me.
This is, by all the accounts I have experienced in my life thus far, weird. Other people seemingly don’t understand the concept of wanting to be alone, not needing others or wanting interaction every five seconds. It would seem that I am an oddity among the general population of Tweeters, Instas and Facebookers, Saturday nighters and those who are constantly on their phones.
This doesn’t mean I don’t value friendship though. Not at all. To have someone to talk to from time to time is important. It is healthy. To exercise the brain in intelligent debate, or to simply share a joke with, it is important to occasionally interact with a fellow human. But as an introvert, it takes a long time for my barriers to be relaxed, for trust to develop and for openness to happen freely and without hesitation.
Needless to say I find myself as a rarity. I don’t need thousands of Facebook friends to like my updates, or to retweet whatever nonsense is online. So you can imagine my surprise when I found someone in quite the similar position as myself. And my even further surprise when it was someone who was already relatively close to me, just without either realising.
It was nine months ago, over a dinner at Cafe Rouge, that I realised the person sitting opposite me was similarly motivated. It was a work dinner, although work had finished for the day and the topic was mostly avoided during conversation. Instead it was life, successes, failures, current events and general getting to know each other that was shared and discussed.
It wasn’t long into the meal that we realised the common trait between us both. Although happy (ish) to enjoy larger social gatherings, the understanding of just wanting to be alone was clear to both. But that didn’t mean what was happening wasn’t enjoyable, because it was. From this simple meal and easy conversation spawned a friendship that only continues to deepen to this day.
And it is this very friendship, one of only a handful in my adult life, that should be celebrated. It is something that has brought me joy and sorrow, laughter and tears. In only a little over half-a-year it has endured many ups and downs. But it continues to persevere. It continues to develop and it continues to impress.
And that brings me to sitting outside a cafe on an unusually hot day in late April, sipping coffee and watching the world go by.
I should get back, my break is almost over.
No, sit here in silence with me for a little longer. Please.