The international adventures of a singing, dancing zombie queen.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Friendships - Rekindling and Dousing

I had dinner tonight with a lovely friend whom I haven't spent time with in quite some time. Most recently, it was because I'd accidentally been using her old email address to invite her to things. But, as usual, life was also muddying up our social lives as well. She was surpsised to hear that I also had been making myself more scarce in the social scene we used to frequent. I expected as much from her, because she's doing Big Amazing Things. (I'm so proud of her awesome hard work; you go girl!!!)

Anyhow, we did a lot of catching up, which ended up covering a lot of stories about growing apart from people and friendships. There were many reasons discussed, and different circumstances, but for me, I just kept re-locating on one unanswered question.

When do you hold it against someone that they're not being a great friend?

It's a tricky question; sort of like trying to decide how much lateness or flakiness you'll overlook for the sake of a friendship. The same sort of rationalizing and anxious guilty feelings apply here.

For example; I know I'm not perfect. I wonder whether I've been slacking on my reaching-out, whether I've been doing enough responding to internet blasts, whether I've been being a good friend. But then I think about my awesome best friends who live across the country, and how much more I hear from them than from some of the folks I used to feel close to when I was in SF more. So... that's the beginning of the reflection on growing apart being more disappointing than neutral.

One thing that rekindles friendly intimacy after a gap in closeness is experiencing surprise at time having passed and joy at reconnecting. The experience of realizing you've lost touch being simultaneously surprising and inspiring tends to make good friends stay in more frequent contact. Contrariwise, when that ritual doesn't occur, it's disappointing.

Staying in touch takes effort, for sure.
But, call me spoiled.... I think a good friend makes that effort. And I'm realizing that I'm becoming more interested in focusing my social energy on fewer but closer friendships. We've all seen our friends' time be monopolized by different events in their life; marriage, other friends, hobbies, obsessions. But the kind of friendships I want to emotionally invest in are those in which my investment is recognized and matched.

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Dance & Fitness Faculty member at San Francisco Peninsula Community Colleges, Director, Choreographer & Featured Dancer, Founder of the Living Dead Girlz, and Owner of the Steele Dance Company, which provides entertainment for festivals, corporate events, conventions and private events. Teaching private dance lessons and creating choreography since 1997, Steele graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Double Major in Dance and Comparative Literature and completed her Master of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography at Mills College. She has toured all the major cities in Germany and performed at the Cannes Film Festival as the featured dancer in TRIP -- Remix Your Experience, a multimedia exhibition of film, live music and art. Steele has also performed as a featured dancer for RJ Reynolds (CAMEL) promotional events. Steele currently manages the go-go dancers of "Poor Impulse Control," who perform frequently in San Francisco's industrial, alternative, and rock venues.