Monday, 8 March 2010

The fine art of friend stealing

Friend stealing is commonplace in my family. Usually, I meet someone and then the new 'friend' becomes friends with one or all of my other siblings. My family is pretty cool and from the new friend's perspective I totally get why they want to befriend my sisters and/or brother too. They are great people. Really. I count them in my top shelf friends.

My sister, B, is the most renowned friend stealer. The fact that she is only 21 months older than me, was a year above me at school and went to Sydney Uni with me has meant that we have a LOT of mutual friends. Usually I have met the person first and she sort of adopts them too. I guess I am better at making friends than her.

Recently, my other sister, A, has moved back to the country town from whence we came. In the process she has also begun friend stealing. I understand this too. There are only a certain number of like-minded people around to choose from. Those of my friends who still live there are really great people. Fun, adventurous and up for a laugh. Why wouldn't you steal them if you could?

I really don't mind all of this friend stealing behaviour. My family would probably say something different because I do go on about it a bit when it happens. You know, "can't you find your own friends?" and that sort of thing. It is a form of social networking I guess and probably quite normal. You meet someone you like and surprise, surprise, you also like their friends/siblings. It isn't the best name for it anyway as the "stolen" friend remains my friend too. It is just what we have always called it in our family. It has been a running joke for years. Anyway, I digress.

Usually if I meet a friend's friend whom I like I gradually get to know them through parties or other group outings until suddenly we are friends in own right with a shared history and away we go. I don't see this as a direct steal, but perhaps you do? I have never been good a meeting my friend's friends and assuming an individual friendship with them. I just take my time. It's just me. But since the kids, things have been different. Firstly, we don't really see many of our friends in a social setting these days very often. And secondly, people rarely bring along new friends because we are all trying so hard to spend time with the ones we already have that there is little time for introductions. Consequently, I meet people through the kids and not through other adults. They are mine to start with, no stealing needed.

Over the past few years I have become close to another Mum, R. She is really different from me - kind of quiet and unassuming. But for all of our differences, somehow it just works and we have had a lot of fun rearing our kids together. Because it has been 5 years now and she loves entertaining, I have met quite a few of her pre-children friends. I have discovered she has a couple of women in particular with whom I get along very well. We always find ourselves locked in conversation at R's functions. So the other day while we were celebrating R's eldest daughter's birthday, I was chatting to her friend N and we arranged a playdate. An official friend steal. I felt kind of bad about it, like I should invite R along as well, but as N invited me to her place it wasn't really my responsibility to extend the invite. Right? Friend stealer.

Anyway, N and I had the playdate this morning and it went well. N's eldest boy and Nugget got along really well and kept themselves occupied for hours. N and I chatted away like a pair of old Nannas who have known each other for years. In fact we have. Known each other for years that is. It is just that now we can call each other "friend" rather than a friend of a friend.

So what about you? Are you a friend stealer?


Anonymous said...

I love that you call it friend stealing. My younger brother and I call it that too - there is only 18months between us and we shared friends for a number of years.

I could write pages on my views on this.

My overarching view is that friends are meant to be shared. I adore when my friends discover each other. I take it as a great compliment. There is surely more than enough friendship love to go around.

But what if a "friend" turns selfish and starts bitching about me to new friend. In an attmept to lay sole claim? Ummmmm. Interesting. Nightmare. Awkward. Embarrassing. Insecure. Juvenile.

I so need to blog about this...I have issues, evidently.


A Farmer's Wife said...

I like to think of it more as friend sharing...

Anonymous said...

Spoke like a true little sister! My sister often 'stole' my friends whenever they came over for a play. Not that I am bitter (NO!!) I can see how people would want to befriend your siblings, you're a very dynamic, interesting, talented bunch of people.
I think when you're a 'grown up' you have to take whatever friend opportunities come your way.
Fun post!

Anonymous said...

My original comment disappeared! Ahhh!
Spoken like a true little sister - I call it friend stealing too!!
I think as a grown up and parent, you have to take whatever friend opportunities come your way. It seems to work best with people who understand the pressures of raising young kids, as you have the same constraints on your time. The hardest part of becoming a mum for me is maintaining friendships where I am the only one with children - non-kid people try to understand, but they don't.

Anonymous said...

I'm with what The Farmer's Wife said. Reading this makes me want a sister. I had 4 brothers and we simply didnt and don't have friends in common. What you girls have in your sisterhood is lovely.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

How did I miss this post last year? Oh, that's right, I was out with MY new friends. :-)

Cate said...

No, not a friend-stealer. The more the merrier. Everyone can come on the can be a big friend party - I'll bring the chips :-)

Jane said...

MM, I'm with AFW - I'd call it more like 'sharing'. Although I do know what you mean about the dynamics with your siblings. That can get tricky. J x

Naturally Carol said...

Well it kind of happens in blogland too doesn't it? You visit your favourite blog and then visit their favourite blogs on their bloglist. You find one you really like and follow and leave comments and then they do the same to yours and you end up having an extended circle of 'friends'. Just the way the world works I think! Nobody has an exclusive right to another's friendship.

Deer Baby said...

Very true! I find if I like someone then I usually like their friends and vice versa. I suppose it shows we all have good taste in friends!

Occasionally I can get a little paranoid that a new friend I have introduced to an existing friend will like her better than me and start arranging things together without me and then I try to remember I'm an adult.

Your sisters sound pretty cool.

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