Tuesday, November 30, 2010

sailing on the friend ship

Having Stacey visit me over the last week has led me to ponder friendship. People have been asking us how we met and the answer, less frowned upon in these times, is livejournal. We met in this music community called _indieandbitch_, started trading mix cds and writing letters and the rest is history. I'm sure Stacey wouldn't mind me saying that we actually get on quite well and our friendship hasn't been one of those horror internet stories (ie Stacey didn't turn out to be a rapist or a 13 year old boy from Tulsa), rather it has been an overwhelming success. I confess that I quite wish we didn't live in separate countries.

That thought right there made me start to think about the friends I do have in Australia. So in the tradition of Thought Catalog, here are the different types of friends that I have.

At high school I guess I was part of the 'misfit' group. We had band geeks, jocks, general geeks, christians, theatre nerds, gamers - we even had a black guy! The thing that brought us all together was the fact that we didn't really fit in with the run of the mill students and (dare I say) were probably smarter than most of them. We dispersed after uni, but I see some of these friends occasionally at birthday parties or on holidays. Some I've drifted away from, but some of these friends have ended up living in Melbourne. I'm happy to say that we're still pretty close. It's funny to see how we've grown into different friend circles in the city, but I'm really glad to have four or five people from high school who know me really really well. When I'm with them it's just so easy and I find them to be really grounding, you know? They make sure I don't turn into too much of a hipster.

Sometimes I feel as if I like my uni friends more than they like me, because having moved away from my home town I rely more on their friendship than they would mine. I have a pretty small group of uni friends, but we are quite close. We have been embarrassingly drunk together, bitched about tutors together, bitched about assignments, gushed about tutors, gushed about assignments, gushed about boys.. lots of gushing. Also lots of drinking. We are going to be friends for a long time I think.

Last year I worked at this amazing arts office at my university. The people there turned out to be the best ever and now I count them amongst my nearest and dearest. I still pop in there from time to time and help out at shows and things. It's nice to see how the staff there have evolved but continue to be quite supportive of me in both curricular and extracurricular sense but are also my buddies at the same time.

So I actually only have one gig friend. One of my uni friends tried to pair me up with a gig friend in first year but that didn't really take off. My friend Zoe who is my gig friend is also an "extended work friend". But the idea of having a gig friend is one I think about sometimes. I'm happy going to big gigs alone. For example I am going to Beach House next year by myself, but only because they are an international band and amazing. It's not like I'm going to miss out on seeing them just because I'll be there alone. For me, gig friends are necessary for local bands. The other week I wanted to go see/stalk a boy in a band and Zoe was more than happy to come along and support me in this endeavour, because I have done this same favour for her in the past. There's sort of a crowd that goes round to the same gigs in these parts, so you need to take protection lest you be considered a weirdie/loner for going alone.

Through the arts office last year I gathered a few extra chums. These folk often accompany me to gigs and art shows and other exciting things. For example, tonight we are going to the Last Tuesday Society! Through these extended friends and my work friends I have learnt about having older people as friends. If you don't know what it's like, I suggest you try it. It's nice having a wide age range of friends because then you get lots of different perspectives about life and all types of advice about what you should do or appreciate at this stage of your life.

My sister studies painting at the same university that I do, and incidentally, my high school friend is in the same course as her. As a result, I have found myself hanging out with a bunch of undergraduate artists over the years. My current housemate is actually one of them. These people are mostly delightful and amusing. There have been some good parties! And it's nice to be able to go to art shows and see people I know. Also in this category are friends of my uni friends who I have struck friendships with at parties and the like. I enjoy those kind because it gives my uni friends context.

For those who don't know, Voiceworks is this quarterly literary magazine for writers under 25 that I volunteer for. When I first joined I was really intimidated by how witty and clever everybody on the committee was. I am feeling more a part of them now though and look forward to meetings. It's nice to be in a group of people who are ink addicts. IN THE WRITING WAY. I've also begun to think differently/more about how I write, what I want to write and why I write.

To finish off where this whole thing started. I have some other friends who I have been introduced to online and then met in real life. One was this guy who drew comics and ended up living a block away from me. I still live in the same suburb so we see each other sometimes. Another friend I met on livejournal is a girl called Ellie who lives in England. We write letters to each other and I met her last Christmas. She's totally sweet in real life. The internet is a good way to meet people if you're shy. I don't know whether I'm actually "shy", but I do find that I express myself best with words, so the internet is helpful in that regard. It's nice when you meet people who you've known online and they turn out to be really fantastic. Or when you find out someone from real life has a really great blog. That's fun too. Oh and then there are those people you add on facebook and never talk to again. But that's not real friendship. Then there are people you know just through blogs and you get sent nice things from them and will hopefully meet them at Campus a Low Hum!

I have been known to say that I think people have friends for different reasons. There are people who bring out different parts of your personality, support you in different ways - creatively, humourously, ridiculously, absolutely, wholly, slightly, philosophically, emotionally, superficially, not really. But friends are good huh. In the past I've been concerned that I'm different around different people, but now a lot of these categorical lines are blurred, I think that most people would know me as me.


  1. I wish that I could be the same 'me' around everyone, but I feel that, as you say, different people bring out different attributes that are all part of me. More often than not, I feel afraid to be myself around people. I've often wondered why it is so hard for me and not for others. Great post btw.