Friendship Chemistry

Inspired by this thread, and the ensuing debate on chemistry, male/female friendship, and what people want and/or expect from friendship. It was actually Fish’s post on explaining what people mean by friendship that made me think of it.

There are as many degrees of friendship as there are of any other type of relationship, and it’s too easy to pigeonhole them.

My friends are people I like, and whose company I enjoy, whatever we’re doing or not doing. My best friends are different. Then there has to be chemistry. It’s the same dynamic as in a romantic relationship, it’s just that the formula is different. There are people I have been friends with for years, and sometimes they have become closer as a result of this, sometimes they haven’t. We haven’t got what it takes, for each other, to make that leap to the inner sanctum of friendship, and the levels of love and loyalty that entails.

I have low maintenance friendships: people I’m not necessarily going to hang out with every free weekend, but who I don’t want to lose touch with. If we were both interested in sport, we’d probably have a drink every so often and discuss the ball game. As I don’t even know what game “ball game” refers to, we’ll have a drink and discuss whatever it is we DO have in common (kids, work, shoes, power tools, whatever). I’m probably not going to give this friend intimate details of my love/sex life, or share with them my deepest thoughts on life and death, although I wouldn’t rule it out: sometimes that’s what I have in common with them. Whether these people are male or female is irrelevant.

My best friends are different. I have a much closer emotional connection to them. They definitely know all the details of my life, and the darkest corners of my mind. If I had to, I know I could call them up at three o’clock in the morning, and they would be there for me, physically or emotionally. I’ll find myself lying in bed at night worrying about them. I’m proud of their achievements. I see all their faults. We very often have completely different viewpoints on some fundamental issues, but it doesn’t matter, because on some very basic level, we click. Some of these people are male, and some are female.

So my point (I think) is that the X factor is just as important in friendship as it is in a romantic relationship.

There are a lot of people whom I know, and I call many of them friends. I’m a bit free with the word. Those people vary widely in how much they know about me, and how much I confide in them.

Ironically, although I don’t talk about myself much (or my personal feelings) with the not-very-close friends, I feel as if I don’t have to with the very good ones, because mostly they know.

You know I’ve often thought about this myself.

One example

I know these two guys, I met them both at the very same time. All three of us pretty much share the same intrest and have the same sense of humor ect…

But for some reason I find it a lot more easier to talk to friend number one than friend number two. So much so that sometimes it makes for an awkward sitiuation. Like when the three of us are sitting alone; ALL of us talking and interacting with the other. But then when friend number one excuses himself to go to the bathroom; all the suden you could hear crickets chirping. Which leaves me and friend number two feeling very uneasy. And there’s not ONE logical reason I can think of as to why this happens.

I’ve got somewhat of my own bastardized theory as to why it might happen. I’m thinking maybe it might have something to do with pheremones (sp?) even though none of us are gay; I think maybe there is a reason why it’s easier for me to talk to friend one and not friend number two. Like maybe some sort of primal kick back as to who’s the dominate male or something. I don’t know that’s just MY theory.

You know I never watched Seinfeld once until it had already gone off the air and was showing reruns anyway they did a show about that very thing your talking about.

This is definitely the situation with me I know someone that I hang out with all the time but only when another friend is around, when it’s just us we have nothing in common to talk about.
The thing is that we have what I call a connector friend who has a little in common with each of us, enough that when we are all out I’m sure we both talk to him and barely to each other and do not realize it.

START, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I used to regularly go out with two friends, and one week one of them couldn’t make it. It was quite strange to have to manage the friendship on our own, but we made it.

I am quite reserved, so different friends tend to bring out different sides of my personality, and I often subconsciously rely on them to do this. When the connector friend isn’t there, it’s a lot more effort.

I’ll admit, chemistry is a big part of it. . .but it’s not everything. Some of my best friendships have been destroyed due to a growing lack of common interests.

Case in point; I’ve known my oldest friend since 2nd grade. We used to be into the same music, have the same classes, etc. Now we’re both 21. He drinks; I really don’t. He listens to rap/R&B/dance. I listen to rock. He didn’t graduate high school; I graduated from college early. He’s technophobic to the point of only owning a typewriter; I would die without my computer. He watches lots of television and no movies; I watch movies, but very little television.

Now, don’t get me wrong; we can still hang out and talk. It just takes a lot of effort and there are a lot of silences. It’s not that we don’t get along; it’s that we have very little in common. Our common ground topics consist of Shit That Happened Five Years Ago, Shopping, and Hey, That Guy is Kinda Hot.

We’ve not been seeing each other much, and I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be friends (in the sense of hanging out a lot or at all). Maintaining the friendship is damn hard when the only thing you’re both interested in is the past.