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Post by reboot on Sat Oct 11, 2014 12:10 pm

As I sit here surveying the leavings of last night, I wanted to give a moment to reflect on friends, especially my best one.

We met freshman orientation in college and immediately clicked, despite the fact that Mr. Future Frat Boy and Ms. Social Justice Warrior should have been like chalk and cheese. I remember hearing you mutter something sarcastic under your breath during all the college "Rah! Rah", me snort laughing, you turning around and smiling and that was it, the start of a friendship that has lasted 24 years. You have always been there for me, and I hope I have been there for you, through good, bad, and ghastly. Not sure what my life would have been like without you, but know it would have been less bright. Now get the fuck outta bed because this hangover is killing me.

How did you meet your closest friends?
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Post by IHaveToes on Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:12 pm

My closest friend and I went to the same high school and knew each other in a "I kinda think I remember your name but we don't have classes together and thus you are unimportant to me" sort of way. The school did this weird Valentines Day fundraiser, an OkCupid-ish quiz that all the students took but you had to pay a dollar to find your results (it was creepy in retrospect). My friend bought her "results" and one section had a list of everyone who shared your birthday and since then we've been best friends and cosmic twins.

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Post by Guest on Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:44 pm

I'm gonna acknowledge one in particular because she literally saved my life without realizing it.

I had a bit of a high school flirtation with a friend of mine a few years ago. We're both deeply insecure people and were so dense that neither of us noticed that we had feelings for each other. By the time we get around to admitting it, she moved away. We still talk, still very very close, and I have gradually grown to legitimately love her, albeit not in a "TRUE WUV 5EVER" kinda way, but in an "I unconditionally care about this person and she feels the same about me" kinda way. She's also one of the very few people I would consider to be an actual friend, because she's one of the few people I trust.

She was cute in a frazzled kind of way in high school, very awkward and gangly and a foot taller than me pre-growth spurt, but undeniably cute. She's stunningly beautiful today, it's a little intimidating actually, still just the same as ever. She gets hit on a ton at the school she's going to (same age as me, in law school right now), especially by Nice Guys (TM), and she has a ton of horror stories. I would give her partial credit for keeping me from turning into one of those people myself. Most misogynists have almost no exposure with women, just the same way most Ku Klux Klan members have never met a black person before. Exposure with a group I subconsciously resented, through her and others, was what reminded me that my condition was my own damn fault. We like to blame women for having standards, it's much more comfortable that way. She and others were largely responsible for keeping me sane.

Anyway, how she saved my life. We both suffer from depression, and that's why we get along so much, because we know exactly how the other one is feeling. I tend to impulsively text her to tell her that I love her every so often, usually on impulse, just so she doesn't forget. I did that on a Friday. The next day, I had to meet some friends on top of a parking deck. I got there first. On a whim, I started to attempt to climb off the top of it. I was just about to tumble to my doom when I suddenly got a text from her. I climbed back up and fell back on the parking lot. My hands were ripped open by the concrete. The text just said, "I love you."

So naturally, after one says something that intimate to you and means it, you can't exactly off yourself that same day, that wouldn't be right. So I responded: "I love you too."

So later on that night, we had a video call on Skype, and she noticed my hands and how bloody and broken and tired I looked. So I confessed, with mixed feelings, that she had indirectly prevented another suicide attempt.

She looked stunned, and then told me that the previous day, right when I had texted her, she had a razor to her wrists and was about to end it all.

That is an astounding thing to happen. I had no idea about it. On a whim that Friday, I desperately wanted to tell someone thousands of miles away that I was grateful for her existence. The very next day, she desperately wanted to tell me that very same thing. Somehow, we saved each other's lives in the process.

I'm a person who isn't easily inspired. I don't give a rat's ass about TED talks, all those half-assed inspirational videos out there are stupid, and the ice bucket challenge was just a way for narcissistic assholes to use a terminal illness to get attention. I don't feel a flutter of hope and joy at any of that. It's wonderful that rich white people in suits can talk to audiences about how smart and clever they are all over the world. It's amazing that with some twee hipster music and shots of starving African children smiling at the camera, you can make millions of people think you're a nice person without having to give any of them food.

You can publicly express online how horrible it was that Jennifer Lawrence's naked pictures were exposed online and secretly look at the pictures, because shit, if a famous and beautiful person spends a lot of time exercising and dieting to achieve a sexually desirable body for the sake of her own career, well that's basically asking for it.

You can use an asinine pop song advocating fat acceptance and shaming naturally skinny women (performed by someone who isn't even overweight, for chrissakes) to deny all responsibility in maintaining a model of health in your life. No one is saying you need to look like Jennifer Lawrence (who claims to be fat, which makes her either delusional or the result of a brilliant PR team), but your insides matter very little if you can't get out of bed in the morning.

I'm not inspired by any of that. What I am inspired by is something that shouldn't happen, namely someone accidentally saving my own life. Pretty much the only thing keeping me here, that very small group of people out there that I have genuinely connected with. I'm awful at connecting with people. The fact that I even connected with them is miraculous on its own.

But this has become a long-ass rant, so I'm done here.

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Post by eselle28 on Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:47 am

- We were sitting in the back of one of those classes that students at unstructured liberal arts colleges take when they haven't figured out what they want to major in yet. The very young, very new professor went off on a tangent suggestive of personal politics that I found disagreeable for the third time in as many days. The girl sitting next to me rolled her eyes. I smirked. We started making a habit of sitting next to each other. We were fairly similar people then, and are very different ones now. For some reason, we've managed to always be friends.

- We met at a party. Or a bar. It must have been? We never had any of our law school classes together. But I don't actually remember the first time we met, and we didn't live in the same building. We didn't have a friend version of meet cute, obviously, but at some point small interactions were enough for us to start hanging out together on purpose. Again, it's many years, and we're still friends.

- This one's on the nerdy side, but I'm going to hope it's safe to share it in a fairly nerdy environment. I had been in some MMO guilds previously, but hadn't really gotten the experience I wanted from any of them. I was following a new game that was coming out, and decided I'd post a "looking for guild" post in its forums that was pretty blunt about what I wanted in an organization but also who I was as a person. One of the responses was from a guy starting a smaller guild and who seemed particularly in tune with what I wanted in a community. It was, several of the people I've met there are still my friends, the guy who sent the message is a very close one, and I now actually make a point of traveling so I can see him and some of the others in person.


Last edited by eselle28 on Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Werel on Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:04 am

1. Oh, my friend, I am so sorry for what I thought the first time I saw you. I was at volunteer training at the organization you worked for, and you were up at the front of the room in some adorable outfit you'd clearly put some thought into. I was cranky, I was tired, I'm an awful mean bitch inside my own head, and when I saw you standing up there, I thought "What is that fat girl even doing, still trying? We're supposed to just give up on cute." (Oh, friend, I am sorry! You're not even really fat! You're barely even fatter than me! And you are cute! You work it!) And then you came and talked to me with that twinkling smile, those mischievous vulnerable eyes, all the combined terror and goofy goodwill that is your hallmark, and before I knew it you were spending two nights in a row at our house eating Hanukkah cookies and having stoned debates about the Rock Vocalist Pantheon. I miss you and I love getting your drunk texts about the homeless people in Queens.

2. Yours was the first RPG I signed up for freshman year, a week or so after moving there, terrified and alone and so unsure of who I was or what the hell I was doing. I liked your bomb squad hat. More than that, I liked the way your friends looked at you: like they trusted you, like you gave them something they needed. I liked how you were the most popular guy in the room, but still seemed lonely. It resonated with me. Do you remember how relentlessly I had to pursue your friendship? I thought you didn't like me, but you're just bad at believing that anyone likes you. A few months later, at that Shai Hulud show, do you remember? I got kicked in the face and it ripped out one of my noserings, and gave me that bloody cut on the bridge, and--friend, you couldn't have known how much this meant to me--instead of alarm, or concern, or trying to usher me out of the pit, you grabbed my lapels and started screaming the lyrics into my face. Just like I needed. Yes. Thank you. Best friends, brothers, road trip companions and crying shoulders and collaborators forever. I miss you so much, and I miss the invincible quixotic foolishness of our youth, walking all across Boston at all hours of the night looking for trouble and mysteries.

3. Are we friends yet? Truly? I don't know, but I think you'd say yes. I want to say yes. You're a confusing dude, a severely depressed dude with a pill habit, and you're a dude who (like me) loves to flake on plans--it makes it tough to guess what you think about me. But when we met, when I came to visit the university and our mutual friend introduced us, and you drove me all over the city, introduced me to your coolest friends, asked me real questions with real interest, shared the finest weed without accepting even the idea of compensation, gave me a ride to the airport, and you stood there after dropping me at the curb, showing, for the first time, warm human eyes behind your implacably cool mask--"So tell me, Werel, what are the odds you're going to move here?"--it was the first time in a long time I felt like somebody new had really seen me. You're a superb conversationalist. I never have to hold back with you, it's never about tailoring my content to what you might be able to understand, it's just a question of keeping up with you.  What a treat. My only complaint is that you ended up liking my boyfriend more than me, I think, but I guess I can share your esteem with him. Razz
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Post by Enail on Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:07 pm

-First year university, in an endless line of 'name, major, nice to meet you,'  and every major was business or engineering or pre-med, and everyone was dressed in clubwear or business casual, and you could just see it in their eyes that they were here to get a degree to get a job, and maybe do some drinking. And me an artsy looking for that movie experience of hanging out in courtyards playing guitar and discussing literature, looking for weirdos like me who were taking all the courses that sounded cool and hoping that somehow it would work out. All she said was name, major, nice to meet you, but the major was artsy and weird and there was a little mutual unspoken "yay!", and I could see, just the way she said it, that she was my people and we were going to be friends.  It's a little bit of a cheat, b/c I eventually married her, but at the time she was a friend (and still is).

-In an interest class I was taking half to meet new people, feeling kind of disappointed b/c no one seemed like my kind of person. At the end of class, some of us put together a group to meet up regularly and critique/advise on each other's projects. I didn't fit in with them at all. They were interesting people, smart people, but so different from me, especially this one woman who was probably 20 yrs older than me, settled with a real job and an actual honest-to-goodness house that she owned (I was still in school and pretty much didn't know anyone who didn't move every year or two), quiet and serious and fond of introspective, intelligent books and movies, whereas I mostly liked stuff with explosions and fantastic powers. Somehow, and I don't even know how it happened, by the time the group dissolved, she'd become a friend. She's the kind of person you like more and more the more you know them; endlessly kind, thoughtful and deliberate about life and how to live, unassuming and almost...humble, in a way that makes you realize why humble used to be considered a great virtue even though it's not one we think about these days, the best listener I've ever known, always trying new things and finding joy.
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