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it’s in the details.

April 24, 2009

The thing about being in a new place is that it feels a lot like starting over. When things start over, there’s always the readjustment period when you have to relearn a bunch of things. Like navigating around town, learning what time the mail comes, picking up regional slang, etc. And then you have to make new friends. Not meet new people and hang out with them once in a while, but really make connections with strangers. Being in a new place forces you to recreate your support system.

But making new friends out of necessity poses a tricky social game of trying to guess the comfort level of strangers. Any idiosyncrasies that could be found offensive or inappropriate are pulled under control as much as possible. Sarcasm, complaining, disclosure, humor are all monitored more closely. Suddenly, you have to determine if it’s too early or too late to call, or even whether it’s better to call or text It ends up being a lot of small things that you didn’t have to think about with old friends.

During this whole relearning period, new people can’t be true friends. So when are they a real friend? What if they don’t want to “friend” you back? Earlier, I thought it meant when I had your phone number. Now, I’m starting to think it’s once you’ve figured out all these little details and it all meshes nicely with your own habits. It’s when you can show up somewhat unannounced. Or when you take a nap when hanging out and they don’t care. Or when you decide that deodorant and a change of clothes is good enough for just watching a movie. Or when you realize it’s ok to make inappropriate comments becauseĀ  I’ll probably think it’s hilarious. Or when you learn that I’m judging and/or laughing at everything around me, so you might as well join in. That’s true friendship.

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