Last night R & I were out and about at some happy hours (I’m still a bit sick, but dammit it was Friday) with some work friends of hers and then a few former work friends of mine, then finally just Mr. & Mrs. Iwamura-Smith.
R gets along professionally with everyone at work. But only Mrs. Smith, whom she works with (not baking pies), is someone that she hangs out with socially & on a regular basis. I brought them over to Harry’s and hung out with another BH and Timmy V., who used to also work for Big Red Healthcare. We’ve hung out & shared stories, but not frequently, and neither of them would be dudes I’d call on any random weekend to see what was going down. But Mrs. Smith’s husband, Mr. Smith, is pretty much that guy, in spite of the fact that we’ve been too busy to really hang out on any random occasion. So we officially hang out as couples, and then the Missus hang out at work and on other occasions, such as Jeans sales.
What I don’t understand, and what we discussed briefly last night at our third watering hole, was why things click with the Smiths, but not with Timmy V & BH, or with R’s colleagues Jai and Swop. It’s no revelation that relationships are different, that you get along better with some than others. But does anyone know WHY?
Here’s why I ask: I’ve been hanging out with BH & Timmy V off and on for, oh maybe 3.5 years. They’ve invited me/us on multiple camping trips, trips to Tahoe, Vegas stuff, etc. We have never gone anywhere with them, save for the occasional b-day party or Happy Hour. And no, we’ve never really invited them to go anywhere with us – not out of spite or obvious feelings of inadequate adventure, but mainly because I/we just don’t think of them when we consider hanging out with lots of people whilst being involved or traveling to take part in other activities.
It’s not like we have nothing in common. Worked for the same company, doing essentially the same things as one another, for 3 years each; lived in the Bay Area for 2+ years each; all like hiking, camping, exploring, traveling, drinking, etc.; all straight males in their mid-20s; all fairly humorous guys who just enjoy a good time.
But without a poker game, a sports event that I actually want to go to, or some other occasion that calls for a night of extreme drinking, I rarely hang out with these guys, and when I do, it’s usually them inviting me, and I rarely feel … comfortable, I guess. Almost like I’ve been invited to hang with the cool kids but don’t know any of the stuff that cool kids talk about. It’s not that juvenile, but it’s early and my analogy-of-the-day calendar is still sleepy, and my electrical metaphor producer hasn’t sobered up yet. But I go and have a good time and usually get left out of conversations so that I can nurse my beer. We didn’t invite them to the wedding (feel bad for it, but we didn’t) mainly because I don’t feel like we know them, or that we would remember if they were there. They just aren’t people that stick out in the mental family photo. (You have one of these too – when you sit and think about your friends & people that you care about, there are TONS of people there, but only a few of them are making “Oh!” faces or mooning the photog, and for me, those are the people that I recognize when I scan that photo, because they’re the ones that want me to notice them.)
Without admitting to having some sort of social anxiety disorder (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I want to leave clinical psychology out of this), I can’t expect to be one of only a few people to have these types of relationships around him. So I’m open to conjecture: what makes relationships like the ones I have with BH and (to a lesser extent) Timmy V. so uncomfortable compared to the ones I have with Shorty, Mr. Smith, Seth, Cermak, Bob, Choi, Moatzy, Sobotka, Charles, Priyesh, Danny, Dani, Erin, Meg? (Uncomfortable is an unfair word. But if Shorty, Mr. Smith, etc. are the cast of Christmas Vacation, BH & Timmy V. are the cast of The Station Agent. Or for a more direct analogy, Shorty et al = the cast of Friends; BH & Timmy V. = the cast of Monk.)
My first excited conclusion is that I’ve gone through very similar things at the same time as everyone in the latter group, and during that time we leaned on each other in one way, shape or form. Can’t think of what the psych term for that is, but it’s the whole “misery loves company” idea. Problem with that is that we didn’t just one day decide to lean on each other – we were ALREADY the sort of friends that lean on each other. Knock that idea down.
Second: drinking. But I drink, at times heavily, with all sorts of people and can’t call lots of them the same type of friends as Shorty, Priyesh, etc. Throw that baby out with the bath water.
Is it sense of humor? I can say to a great degree of certainty that the people I’m way close to are people I’m always totally comfortable laughing with, laughing at, or causing to laugh. But it’s not like BH or Timmy V DON’T have senses of humor. Though I can’t say that I ever saw either of them actually laugh to the point where they’ve bared part of who they are, or that we’ve ever shared a laugh that had its own harmony of hysterics to it———-
SIDETRACK: if it’s not already out there (Google says no), watch this ‘blog for a new theory on Laughter Harmonics – the concept of simultaneous laughter and its impact on social relationships. I believe that when you truly share a laugh with someone, you kinda transfer a part of who you are on to each other, and that makes it slightly less awkward to be socially present together. More later, now back to original programming.———-
so I won’t go so far as to completely eliminate the idea that our senses of humor are tilted just far enough off of each other that we can’t easily transition in the medium that I’m most comfortable (which is comedy… C’MON PEOPLE!).
But I also don’t really know what it was that Mr. Smith & I laugh(ed) about that has made us comfortable around each other. And the only other thing that he & I really have in common is being (almost) married and having (almost) wives that work in the building at 1 Post. Yeah, we’ve found similar interests such as Wii & running & great food & watching stand-up, but at least half of those things we found AFTER we got “there”, meaning wherever we got to that let’s us know we can just hang out and enjoy life in the same space.
I realize I was harping a bit about BH & Timmy V., but this does happen often enough that I think about it – it’s not like they represent an anomaly or anything. Attribute the focus on them only to recency of incident. But it is something I’d love to understand a little more. It’d just make me happier to know what I need from a person in order for us to be comfortable, hanging out & enjoying life in the same space.