Every other year or so, I get the email from one of my handful of friends that answers a list of personal questions and requests that I answer the same questions while forwarding the email on to more of my friends. I have the same problem every time I receive this email—all my friends are already copied on it (that’s another story though).
I always find the answers to these questions interesting and usually do learn at least one thing I previously didn’t know that I have in common with one of my friends. This year the revelation was that we all pretty much agree that Cheerios rule in the breakfast category and that a relatively new friend of mine also watches a locally televised church service where women dance barefoot in a circle while waiving tambourines over their heads. I’m not sure what her excuse is for watching this bizarre display of worship, but my excuse is that my husband used to work with one of the tambourine dancers. Granted, I’ve never met the tambourine dancer, but how often do you get to see someone your husband knows on television? I realize this is a lame excuse for wasting my time watching the equivalent of a spiritual train wreck, but otherwise I’d have to delve deeper into my psyche to figure why this is appealing to me. I’ll admit I’m afraid I would be disturbed by the answer. Anyway ... I digress.
The question on the email list that highlights, with neon intensity, how very different I am from my fellow Stepford wives is this: Would you be friends with yourself? I have never once seen anyone answer no to this question. As a matter of fact, I can never remember anyone only answering yes and leaving it at that. Everyone always answers these questions as if it is the equivalent of, Does the sun rise in the east? I’ve seen this question answered with Of course! or You bet! and Oh, I would certainly hope so! My answer is always the same, HELL, NO! At the risk of further pairing down my list of friends, here are the top ten reasons I would not be friends with myself:
1. I’m blind to my children’s faults. And if there is one thing I cannot stand, it’s a mother who thinks her kids are perfect.
2. I don’t want my friends thinking they know me better than I know myself. I’m positive I’m as good a psychologist as anyone with formal training.
3. I suck at remembering birthdays and knowing what to do when my friends are sick or sobbing on the other end of the phone. I want my birthday remembered and food brought to me when I’m sick and someone to know how to make the sobbing stop.
4. I cannot lie. Therefore, I don’t want to be told that yes, my ass looks fat in my favorite jeans and that I really do look forty. Okay, Okay ... forty-one.
5. I don’t want to be friends with anyone as funny as I am. I might be jealous.
6. I don’t want my friends emailing me articles they’ve written for me to read. (No matter how finely crafted and eloquent said articles may be.)
7. I don’t have the gift of hospitality. I truly enjoy the times I spend in my friend’s homes and would be hurt if I never got invited to dinner at my house.
8. I don’t like whiners.
9. I don’t want to worry that my friends are going to write about me and post it on a Web site for all the world to see.
10. I know what goes on inside my head that never comes out of my mouth or gets typed on a keyboard. I don’t do friends that are crazy, neurotic or self-righteous.
I guess after reviewing this list, it’s not really another story after all as to why I have so few friends. However, to the friends I have, thank you for your tolerance. I’d be very lonely without you sharing your lives with me.