Monday, August 4, 2008

primary friends

Do adults have to rate their friends? I know that was a rule in 6th grade as in "who is your best friend?" Everyone had a best friend. Once in a while girls would have a group of 3 or 4 that all hung out (what do you call that . . . a swarm of girls? a gaggle of girls?) But usually it was just a singular best friend with some other secondary friends.

So the other day, we are taking a friend out to lunch to celebrate her birthday and we were hopping into my car. (All my other friends have significantly cooler cars, but my not-so-cool mini van holds all of us so we are climbing into mine.) The conversation I heard was this --
"We don't all need to sit in the back seat"
"I thought Suzanne was going to sit in the front seat"
"Now why does Suzanne get the front seat?"
"I don't know, I guess because she is Cindy's primary friend"
"Hey, I think my feelings just got hurt"
"So, Cindy, who is actually your primary friend? . . . and I hope you answer correctly"
All I said was "what direction to the restaurant?" and all of a sudden I am embroiled in a conversation about to who is actually my 'primary' friend.
Ok, shannon, let's lay it all out on the table.
I am obviously not Shannon's primary friend because we all know she has a twin that takes priority over us all. We all count the two of them as one. But we all also know that Shannon would expect everyone to consider her their primary friend. (back me up on this girls, am I right about this?)
On the other hand, I have been friends with Suzanne for almost 25 years. Yet just the other day I overheard another girl tell Suzanne she couldn't attend her party, so Suzanne immediately turned to me and asked if Dave and I would like to attend her party -- obviously a second choice. . . hmmm.
Then again, I have such a multplicity of friends far and wide across this neighborhood, this state and, well, across this great country of ours that I couldn't possibly have time to list them all, or possibly rate them all.
What is the ettiquette of friendship priority?
I need some rules on this, Shannon. I need a response here, or a full post on your blog. Help me out on this one.


Bandanamom said...

This made me laugh Cindy.

Especially the part about Shannon insisting she be the primary friend to everyone. Here is one thing I've learned about Shannon - she can have a whole lot of friends and she will share as along as other friends are willing to take a secondary role. So I think the realization that Suzanne is a 'closer' or at least longer-term friend was a bit threatening to her!

She's kidding of course.

But sorta not!

She still has a close friend from college here in town and I think she would hang out with her more if her friend were not busy all the time. She's closer to you than I am. She's closer to Lucia. She used to be Kate's best friend (though that no longer is the case). She adores Joy and does not like to share her with anyone. She's friends with Grace O'Brien in her ward. She's better friends with Staci Lythgoe than I am. Ditto Lula Willis and almost anyone else in the Stake who she even sorta likes. The only person I can think of that I am better friends with than her is Kristi Riding. But barely.

Sometimes this bothers me. But mostly I realize it is a function of her more outgoing and (dare I say...this usually gets me in trouble with her and she is most likely going to read this)...bombastic personality.

And sometimes I realize this is probably why our friendship works. She does not understand my tendency to 'hang back' since she doesn't have a 'hang back' bone in her body and I sometimes cringe at her 'forge ahead' attitude. But put the two of us together and I think we accomplish much more than we do separately.

Katie said...

That was hilarious and so was bandanamom's response.

But truly it's hard to survive in this world unless your primary friend also chooses you for her primary friend.

I thought getting married would solve that. I was so naive.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with that one! According to what you wrote and the comments of others, I am friendless! I kind of felt I was heading in that direction anyway, I don't even converse with enough people to fit in my minivan anymore!

Rae said...

My primary friend is my husband. I honestly could not have a better friend. He can totally piss me off and yet be my shoulder to cry on. He gets so excited with me when the new Harry Potter trailer is available. So I absolutely count him as my primary friend.

Now that being said, I think I have a bunch of girl friends. And they all have a ranking (I guess you could call it.) Everyone shifts ranks and moves around by what kind of day I am having. There are those that I only see at church, and those I occasionally see outside of church. And those I I call on the phone to chat with. There are some I rarely see but when I do I feel comfortable enough around them and our friendship that I don't have to be shy or "hold back" and just be happy to get to spend time with them.

Andy is the only friend I have that has the "whole" me. I truly believe that we have friends for each side of us. Lydia is my bestest "Mommy" friend. We can go on and on about our kids, husbands and family life. But Katie Valeros is positively my bestest "Party Girl" friend. We are very close in age and we have fun in the same ways so we love to chit chat about crap and fun.

They both have their places and I cannot mix them. They both can't do all of me. I know that they could not handle each other and yet they both "complete" me. So to speak.

I have never been one that had 1 primary friend. In my PB it even says that I have a "pleasing personality to all." So I now that is I am just my self then I am liked and I will have friends. Many friends and not just a primary with a bunch of secondary.

But my life was not complete until I met Shannon....and now I can go on!!!!!

Bandanamom said...

Rachel - I totally get what you are saying here too

Shannon is my best friend but I also have a best friend named Alicia. She lives in Idaho so that does not threaten Shannon much. But Alicia was my best friend since 8th grade and I don't talk to her very often but every few months we chat on the phone and I see her maybe once a year and it's still the same. I'm still basically 14 when I'm around her.

My best friend from college is Nannette and we still email and chat on occasion. I feel very close to her and she is awesome and probably more like me than any of the friends I have.

Then I have other friends who I keep track of or like or care about - some of them I meet up with sometimes and have lunch - like Carol Rose - and some of them I just email like my friend Carolene in New York.

The weird thing is that when I picture getting all of my friends in the same place at the same time it makes me feel massive amounts of anxiety. A lot of my friends would not get along! At all!

And I get what you are saying about the husband. He is my best friend too and I think Shannon would say the same thing about Tony.

In fact, I have to be careful about when Shannon and I do stuff together. It cannot infringe on Kirk's time or he gets annoyed. We usually always go out on Friday night so I can't plan something with a friend on that night pretty much ever and so it works out.

And Cindy would probably say it about Dave - though Cindy, does that require that you learn to like tractor driving? Just curious.

Cynthia said...

I never thought about getting all my different friends together. I don't think it would be a cohesive group either . . . different personalities, different histories, different neighborhoods, different activities.
Yeah, Dave is my best friend, he is the best vacation partner in the world, we try to go on a date every Friday night, and he is always supportive of me no matter what I'm involved in. But there ARE things that test the limits of our friendship (ie. tractor related hobbies). I think he must be a better friend to me than I am to him. He will sit and watch Project Runway with me, but when Star Trek comes on TV, I am so out of the room.

Anonymous said...


This confirms I am not even a periphery friend.

Your group went to the lake, they go dinner . . . I'm just sayin'...

Suzanne Barker said...

Ok, I think there are "seasons" of friendship rather than ranks. I came up with that after feeling left behind and abandoned time and time again, when whatever close friend I had got married. Multiple times. And once they are a newlywed, no matter what the intentions are, they are gone. But I have now lived long enough to realize that if you wait long enough (past the newlywed stage, young children, etc.) they often come back in your life, if you have made an effort to keep in touch. And I am also mature enough to know that the abandonment of me was what they needed to do at the time.
But at the same time, what I needed to do for me, was not have a limited amount of friends. Because some people come and go based on what is right for them and I can't take the "abandonment" feeling.
And it works great that way, because not everyone can be everything to everybody. There are people who want to go to the Lake with me, who don't want to go to the Art Museum. Or someone who wants to go to Prescott for the day, but not on the next cruise with me. Someone who might want to go to book club but not out to dinner. So it's all good, I think.
I've known Cindy a long time, but there was a period when she was newly married and her kids were really small that she didn't have time in her life for doing much with me. And isn't that the way it should be? And us single folks have the same needs as the married people do, of wanting to talk to someone about their day, etc. the little things. And my friend Penny and I seem to do pretty well doing that for each other. So one way or another, if you check your hurt feelings at the door, I think you can learn to not worry too much about being "ranked".
That's my two cents anyway.

Heidi said...

That's hilarious.

I have a friend like Shannon (I don't know Shannon by the way) that likes to be the "primary friend".

When I was a missionary I had a great companionship with this girl...we were total opposites but had an awesome friendship too.

The craziest things were always happening to us. I think we laughed for 4 months straight. There were multiple bike crashes, getting spit on, almost getting kissed (by an old man), getting lost, locking ourselves out, being chased, etc.

Anyway, the day that they came to get my comp. and bring me a "greenie", we hugged and cried. My new comp was determined to be my best friend - which, don't get me wrong, we were great friends and are still tight. In fact, we were probably much more alike than my previous comp and I were. But, she always wanted me to rank my friendship with her against my other companion.

It just doesn't work like that...for me anyway. :)

I almost felt guilty saying that she was my "best comp" because I was so close to my other ones as well.The "seasons of friendships" explanation would be been great for her.

For me, my husband is totally my best friend. Other friends are important to me, but I can't rank them. I have moved so much in the last 5-7 years, it's hard to label just one person as my "primary friend". But, I can put a label on a handful of friends that I would consider "close" friends.

rachel said...

I find, that each of my friends play different roles in friendship. It's impossible to rank them. For example, Jennifer is the goofiest kid I ever met and always has the ability to make me laugh. Katie O is the funniest girl I've ever met, but she has her own humor, of course. She's hilarious though. Meghan is great at consolation and advice, and is not afraid of anything and she's always trying something new. Sarah is the best partier I've ever met, she dances better, screams louder, and can out party anyone else. So I can't really say oh, she's my best friend, because someone else may be better at something else that I need in my life.