Monday, 8 March 2010
The fine art of friend stealing
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?