"I think I'd miss you even if we'd never met."
There have been times in my life when I've met someone and felt like something fell into place. I'd been missing that person, even though I didn't recognize it until we actually came into contact. Some people call that "clicking"--interpersonal interaction in which one or more people seem to get along or understand each other without prior sociality or personal history. All I know is that I feel that certain people have been friends with me forever, even if I've only known them a day or two.
Therapist says that's probably just because they have personal characteristics to which I respond well. They make me feel safe and cherished in a very short time period. Obviously he doesn't know me well. Even with the feeling of friendship longevity, I still don't necessarily feel safe, and I'm not sure I've felt "cherished" by anyone. I don't even know what that means. My friendship infrastructure consists of the following ideas:
1. If we make each other laugh, we're friends at least for today.
2. If you confide in me, and I find what you say interesting, I'll probably keep talking to you.
3. If we can play board games together I will never forget you.
4. You can gauge the depth of my friendship feelings for you by the frequency and time duration of our hugs--basically, if I allow you to touch me longer than 20-30 seconds, we're probably friends. 10-15 seconds constitutes "new person I'm still not sure about".
5. If I make fun of you to your face or laugh at your weaknesses, you must be someone I consider a friend for life. And while I understand that's cruel and heartless, it's also my way of telling you that there's nothing about you that I don't love.
6. If you know me personally and I've told you that I'm gay, you're probably one of my more trusted friends. Either that, or you caught me in a weak moment...
7. If I've kissed you on the cheek (European style) you're either part of my family, or I consider you to be so. If I haven't, but I still consider you to be family, you're probably just too tall for me to reach--or you hate that kissing thing.
8. If I confide in you, you'll find it difficult to get rid of me as a friend. You'll also notice that I become extremely insecure and expect you to bail, and I'll probably make many opportunities for you to do so. No doubt you'll be ready to escape my friendship clutches at the earliest convenience. But I hope you won't. Because if I trust you enough to confide in you--that's the second to the last step.
9.The final step is proving to me that you're staying in our friendship because you want to--not because you feel obligated, or because you feel sorry for me, or because you don't know how to leave. You're there because even after jumping through all the hoops, talking to me regularly, and seeing who I really am, we still "click". We still smile when we see each other online, or when the phone rings and we recognize the phone number, or when we see each other in the store (on the street, in the library... you get the point...). We can't wait to be together because it's fun!
The truth is that I have only a few close friends who make it to the end of step nine. I'm trying to decide whether that's good or not so good. But it's also true that those are the ones I think of when something significant happens in my life. I truly did miss them before we met. I just didn't know it.