Doodlebug and Princess Slim love their “My Little Pony.” The dolls, the play sets, and of course the television show, called “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.”
The Moms like how the show focuses on friendship and being true to yourself, and the episodes often end with the ponies recapping what they’ve learned. So what have we, as introverts, learned about friendship so far?
P.S. Want to know which pony you are? There’s a fun quiz here.
Consider this the next stanza in Tiffany’s Ode to the Internet from a few weeks ago – although social media can be addictive and a huge time-waster for me, I love how it helps me keep old friendships alive and nurture new ones.
I’m definitely someone who likes to gather her thoughts before speaking, who doesn’t jump into conversations, who is quiet in a crowd. But, like many introverts, I’m much more myself online, where I can interact at my own pace. It’s not that I’m trying to hide who I am in real life, it’s just that I find it a lot easier to type, rather than talk, about things that are important to me. (Exhibit A: this blog!)
Facebook, despite all its flaws, has become my online home. Twitter moves too fast, and while I love it for stalking (um, following) my favorite authors, I’d rather interact with people I know. I so wish Facebook had been around when Doodlebug was tiny, because it would have been a perfect outlet for me when I didn’t have enough energy to call a friend, let alone get my act together and leave the house for lunch.
I’m lucky to have a great group of Facebook friends (and family) – there are very, very few “Look how awesome I am!” posts and lots of cool photos, funny anecdotes, thought-provoking but civil discussions about politics and society, and obsessive threads about Sherlock, Downton Abbey, or Harry Potter. (Did you get the stamps? You’ve got to get the stamps!)
And while it’s a great place to keep up with my high school and college friends, Facebook is the perfect place to get to know new acquaintances almost effortlessly. Sometimes it turns out we don’t have much in common, but other times I’ve lucked out and ended up with true friends. Or, in one case, a friend plus a blogging partner. All together now – awww!
Facebook tells me I have 452 friends. I find this astonishing. In fact, one of the 452 recently called me out and asked “How can you call yourself an introvert with 452 friends?” Good question. Depends on one’s definition of “friend.”
The majority of those 452 people are from previous parts and periods of my life. I deeply enjoy and value staying in touch with all these folks and keeping up with gossip and kids and life’s ups and downs. My philosophy of friendship, however, is more consistent with this George Washington quote: “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”
But let’s say, God forbid, something terrible happens in the middle of the night. Would I reach out of any of those 452 people? Probably not. While the two or three people I would call (excluding family) are included in that number they don’t use the site much. We don’t talk on the phone every day, nor do we email or chat or interact on a regular basis. This may not sound like much of a friendship, you might be thinking. No girl talk? No bellyaching about work or spouses? Wha??
This type of atypical relationship works beautifully for a few reasons. First, these inner-circle friends are mostly introverts as well, thus we respect each other’s need for space and connect – virtually or in person – if we’re up to it. Second, of course the girl talk and bellyaching happens. Perhaps unfortunately for these select few friends, they are the people I call sobbing when work has been shit or when I need a proofreader or someone to tell me that yes, my ass looks huge in that dress and it should never be worn again. Just because we don’t chit chat every fifteen minutes doesn’t mean we aren’t there to support each other in our own quiet, unobtrusive way.
Finally, I am so wiped out by the end of the day (let alone by the end of the week) it is all I can do to get home and get through the 5 to 8:30 p.m. madness. Forget happy hour, forget going shopping on the weekend, forget anything that involves a crush of people or traffic. Will I text these few people until the sun comes up? Yes. Write long emails to them? Yes. And they will do the same because they are drained too. And I’ll feel as if the time has been well spent and that we are good.
For what it’s worth there is an extrovert in this tiny group. One of the reasons I love her to bits is that I can say, straight to her face, “That’s it. I’m ready to be by myself now.” And she gets it.
True friend, indeed.