When I am in angst over what may or may not be a serious health problem it brings to mind my friends and what they mean to me. After four years here I've gained exactly that many people in my life that fit my definition. That's sad. A lot of it is my own doing, admittedly, but there's more to it than that.
Having moved around the country a lot, I've found people in different regions are equally different socially. For instance the midwesterner is often curious and open about it to a fault. But it's mostly a genuine and well intended curiosity. You get used to it.
Here people tend to hold you at arms length; they don't let you in, they seem afraid to reveal anything of themselves. It's like a huge inferiority complex. I've always found the time and interest in people to open the door. What a limited world I'd have if I didn't. And what gems I've found because I have. I hope I will never be too busy or too self important to not at least give a relationship a try.
Sure, they don't all work out. Many of the ones that have don't even have much in common with me but they've been open, sincere and genuinely caring. The differences can be a great learning experience. They help me grow. And the common ground develops.
Moving around, I find a "friendship" may last maybe three years after having moved on. The ones that are the best of friends last a lifetime even if you rarely talk, write, much less see each other. It's the bond that comes from chemistry, trust and need. One of the highest compliments ever paid to me was from a dear friend who shared her friendship from the day we met until the day she died. That she thought enough of me to share her dying was incredibly bittersweet and I loved her the more for it - and I grew - and I learned a LOT about friendship and how to make it endure.
There seems to be more openess, if you will, hiding behind a computer, then there is face to face with a living, breathing human being. There's no warmth, no smile or shared laugh, no tears, no hugs. Cold, impersonal, sad.
Me? To my four newcomers - thanks.