Dante Writes: What Are Friends?

A surprise 4th of July post has me talking about what friends are. Make sure you listen to my Dante Talks episode talking about why I’m built to be a loner in this world.

Back in elementary school, I didn’t have many friends. I was in public school from K-2nd grade. I had a best friend in Kindergarten, and yet I only saw her in school.

First grade, the best friend thing stopped and second grade I began to check out of friendships altogether. Once I knew I was being homeschooled, I even was telling my classmates “I’m out!”

As the years went on, before becoming a teen, I didn’t do anything with anybody. I didn’t hang out in the mall. Didn’t go to someone’s house or have company over. I kept to myself. Some would say the homeschooling kept me from going out and having a life. That is a stigma that isn’t true today. Not even close.

Actually, here are some things I did while a kid and teen homeschooled student:

  • Played in a band (40+ members) for 9 years
  • Boy Scout (even voted as Patrol Leader twice and Assistant Patrol Leader; so my troop liked me) from age 12-18
  • Played in a soccer league (only one year after a ball hit my balls)
  • Volunteered at my former church’s foodbank from 2007-2018
  • Sang in the children’s choir

Yeah, I was active. Those are just some of the things I did. I interacted with a bunch of kids my age. Plenty of chances to be friends with people.

I just…………………….didn’t feel like it.

As I became an adult, my viewpoint on friendship changed. I saw friendship as some weird middle ground to eventually being family. I prefer to have very close relationships, otherwise, I keep myself distant. It’s weird. Like, either family or acquaintance. I have no romantic interest in folks as well, so I see myself as being a brother to someone more so than a lover.

I have a special fondness over women than men too. For some other odd reason, I’ve noticed the vast majority of close relationships I’ve had in the past few years are of females with their names starting with a vowel. Uh, I don’t know what that’s about but okay.

I just don’t know what a friend is, and I never really had one.

These days, I have made an effort to label friends in my life. I don’t think I have a best friend, and I’ll explain why. I do have work besties. They exist, and they have the potential to be my life best friends if it works that way.

The difference, to me, between a work and life best friend feels obvious. Work best friends are the people you get along with the best at work. But, you have no lives outside of work. Y’all don’t hang out or really talk off the clock. Life best friends are obviously outside of work.

I’ve grown up with the idea that work and life should not mix, so most of my first jobs, I simply didn’t talk about life with my coworkers. I didn’t. I always felt that personal stuff could impact work, so I wanted to keep them separate. That’s also why I don’t endorse workplace romances. I just don’t. This is especially if you’re in the same department. Like, no. Stop it.

I do have several instances where work friends turn into life friends…but after we are no longer coworkers. In these cases, the friendship at work did end up blossoming into something greater. And yes, I consider a life friend better than a work friend. But yeah, there are times I see something in someone where I make it known I would like to continue to have a relationship even after our career paths separate.

Even still, I always considered my sisters as the only life best friends for me. I’ve stood by that for a long time. So, that’s also part of the reason why I don’t really mess around with friends.

Recent months have given me a new perspective (without really changing my mind) about having friends. Perhaps it’s possible to have friends. Just friends. Not people in a queue waiting to be family. It just so happens that two women who are current work besties (one for each job, of course) have really altered my perception and they don’t even know it.

I’m at a point where I’m not really looking for more sisters and I’m not interested in a wife, so the only place I can put them is in the…haha…the freaking “friend zone”. I never thought I’d have to resort to that. This empty void may fill up now.

I’m very selective of who I allow in my life. Because I don’t care enough to be around people, I need more time to adjust to your existence. I’m not kidding. Some people I just wonder if that sperm cheated. Like, how are you here? My Dante Talks finishes this train of thought.

I always wondered how friendship ranking works. Like, okay, you have buddy, pal, bestie, and over words that you refer to friends as. There has to be a ranking of some kind. Right? I better figure it out, because if I’m gonna add friends to this collection, I need to be able to sort them out.

Is that fair? Right?

I think it’s fair.

We obviously have a ranking of people in our lives. Spouse first, right? Kids. Siblings. Parents. They all sit around each other. Extended family, perhaps. Best friends. Other friends. Acquaintances. So, yeah, I think I would be good to rank my friends. I have a favorite sister; but it’s pretty close. My friends won’t know who my favorite is.

It’s interesting, my friends are not mutual to each other. I have single strands of friendships. They somewhat know of each other being present in my life, but haven’t actually met and talked. Do I bring my friends together? Does it matter? How in the heck does this work!?

I have such a small amount of friends, that it doesn’t really matter, I guess.

What is a friend? Not family but someone you are very fond of. Right?

I’ve always said that I can create my own family. Family is not limited to blood. Not to me. Can the reverse work? Can blood relatives be just friends and not family? Things get tricky and this is a lot of work and why I will just stay to myself.

If you haven’t already, listen to my complementary Dante Talks episode. It goes hand in hand with this post to give you full context of what I’m talking about.


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