Oryoki's House

Where's the Mojitos? I have the guac!

Oryoki Bowl

Oryoki Bowl
February 03
Quaker buddhist, kinda quirky, loves cooking and knitting and movies. Dr Who fan, Scandinavian-aquarian and cat lover. Would love to be paid to travel around the world and write about local healing cultures. While eating and drinking and dancing. One day I will have a health cruise in the fjords.


MAY 6, 2012 3:55PM

A friend in need, or need of a friend? Kathy Knechtges post

Rate: 16 Flag

Kathy's post on friendship, and the difficulties of navigating this world of creating new connections in an old habit (self) has me and others thinking.  Those of us who post on here, in blogs or comments, are often introspective types.  I could probably write an advice column on "How to have a more fulfilling relationship with your borderline personality disordered feline" and come up with new material on a regular basis.  (I type this as mine has put her catself within arm’s reach of my busy hands).  

I'm a sociable gal who also happens to be an introvert.  This means I need regular breaks from human contact, and "down time" to declutter my psychic space from the onslaught of inputs.  I don't try to keep up with the Joneses, or the Smiths, or the Kardashians.   I purposefully and deliberately make plans to not have plans, and try to craft unstructured time in which I am to do less than more.  This is not only not celebrated in American culture, but perhaps deemed pathological.  What kind of reality show would I make?  About a ten minute one, in which they find I can be fascinating at cocktail parties, and then not so much at home.  How do I cultivate this persona non drama?

Over time, I have struggled to accept that I am, in fact, more of a loner than I want to be.  I have social skills, can dress well enough, instigate and maintain interesting conversations, show deadly wicked humor if I'm in the mood for it, and all around decent person (for a liberal, feminist, untheist).  Some of this is innate, some of it is acquired, some of it in transition.  For instance, it is no longer charming to stay until 2 am at someone else’s party.  Of course, I also no longer know people who have parties that go to 2 am, if at all.  This is called.... well, not sure... it either involves maturity or plain old adrenal fatigue.  My rechargeable batteries take longer to recharge, and have a shorter activity life.  

When looking for friends, we choose quality AND quantity.  Quantity can be number of people we can call on a Saturday afternoon and merely suggest getting together without a three week plan and NOT look desperate or inconsiderate.  Quantity can be the allotted amount that any given person can expect reciprocity of phone minutes, text messages, or actual hours in each other's company.  Quantity can be how many issues or topics we can hope to discuss without recrimination.  Quantity can be the size of the group that can be included in socialization with this person.  Is she a one on one friend only?  Is she friendly with other friends?  Is she the kind of person that is only there to keep company in large group situations?  

Quality is a bit more of a ranking on how much we would do for this person, if asked.  I think most of us like to consider ourselves generous, selfless, giving, thoughtful, compassionate people.  There is always a line in a relationship, that which can and can't be crossed.  We could probably natter on all day long with colleagues about many subjects, but would not go to that person's house and help them with personal hygiene if they were physically indisposed.  Even some of my closer friends are well clear of that line, and you can't always determine who will and who won't show up in the face of disaster.  It's a self sorting group.  

What do we want when we want a friend?  Is it someone who will always take or return our calls?  Is it someone who knows the harmony to our melody?  Is it the person we can use the most words with, or the least?  There is the person who knows you- your history, your preferences, your quirks- and the person who gets you.  We each have a Tao of relating, and some are just created to leap into the center of our space with more facility than others.  Not always being a better friend, but being a closer vibration to our own cosmic signal.  A soul mate doesn’t need to be a sex mate, after all. 

Recently, I have struggled a little with social boredom.  I crave to find things more interesting.  This isn't new, this pops its head up periodically, particularly around the warmer summer (Arizona) weather.  I go through my list of "go-to" hobbies and find that almost all of them are one on one with me, myself and I.  I have had to adapt most of my interests to things I can find the time to do regularly, can afford to do, can be picked up or put down with ease (book, knitting, exercise, whatnot), and tucked in to an ever tightening space/time continuum.  Some things cannot be overlooked forever (dishes and laundry) in face of fun time.  Some things will not be given up by me (regular meals and quality sleep).  The opportunity cost of connecting with another suddenly includes gas money, general atmosphere, recovery time, time involved getting groomed, and expected return of satisfaction for the said engagement.  Is it worth giving up time with my sweetie?  Is it worth the 40 plus minutes of driving?  Is it sufficiently delicious to warrant a likely $30 tab?  Do I like these people enough to make small talk over messy appetizers and cheap wine?  

I envy those who cannot tell the difference between cheap and quality beverages and food (sometimes).  They are not hindered by their senses.  I have such strong sensory intake, I will often pay for days the cola, chips, or hot dog offered up at a gathering- or just the constant noise of music and video games in the background.  

Being able to participate without complaint is key for social success, and the bar is set too low for my nervous system most of the time.  The burden of becoming a healthier person with a higher quality of life is having to refrain and disdain.   Cheap libations and crappy entertainment are toxic to the sensitive soul.  It is with the realization that the hangover is not worth the experience- whether it is a spiritual, emotional or physical one- that the need for friendship changes.  In turn, I may have less to offer others because I seek to keep a little more for myself.  

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
"persona non drama"-- great turn of phrase, hadnt heard it before.
the NYT did a great article on how introverts are a valuable part of culture and that corporate tendencies tend to ignore that [mtgs, open work areas, etcetera]. it made the pt however that introverts may be quite, or the most productive in some/many cases.
Enjoyed reading this, Oryoki.
"I envy those who cannot tell the difference between cheap and quality beverages and food (sometimes). They are not hindered by their senses. I have such strong sensory intake, I will often pay for days the cola, chips, or hot dog offered up at a gathering- or just the constant noise of music and video games in the background."
Oh, this resonated.
And for those who do not drink at all, the social life gets even more constricted (that ought to be me, but I still imbibe, sips of sake only, and I still pay for days...).
I too would love to be less physically sensitive -- a circle of laughter can be so fun.
A link to Kathy's post available?? The site keeps crashing today, I can't seem to get to Kathy's post...

Thanks VZN, that one just came out of the fingers. Made sense once I typed it in. And yes, introverts are often quite productive. And as always, the appearance of busy-ness versus actual quality of that which is made are so often at odds with each other.

Just thinking- I do miss those days of lots of laughing, and it still is usually involving some alcohol. I drink, but tolerate it less and less well. As we live in a zero tolerance state, going out just as often means not having a drink at all, while the other is a bit more "social".
I love my very social job where I am in a room all day with memory impaired adults and we have fun. We sing, dance and play games. Then I can be at home and go no where and see no one and I am able to do my art work which requires lots of alone time. It is about balance I think. Great post. Thanks.
Forgive my repeating myself. Your pieces are contemplative. For me as I read them, it is as if I am eavesdropping on your mind as it mulls over these things. It is not as if you are saying these things to me or anyone else. I find it to be refreshingly different.

As for the content I have no idea what people mean when they speak of "friends" because it appears that they speak of something different every time they use the word. It is a word that has become meaningless. As a result I think we must find other more descriptive words for such persons when our first easy choice is to refer to them as a "friends"--if we want the person with whom we are communicating to know what the hell we are talking about.
"I deliberately make plans to not have plans" That I can relate to. And, Arizona is a zero tolerance state? Now you tell me. I'm sitting at the airport (with a glass of wine). So sorry we couldn't get together, but it just kept getting more and more complicated down here. When I come back next year it WILL be for pleasure, and I will make time. Seems apropos for this post. Thank you for reaching out!
Z- your gift at connecting with others is also the way you choose to make your living, which is a great blessing for those you work with- patient or colleague. You are probably the spark of everyone's day.

Brassawe- thanks. Putting it together sometimes brings me to a level of awareness I hadn't been to before, either, it is my stream of consciousness, conscientiousness, at work here. More and more, I refrain from using the word friend when colleague, coworker, acquaintance, person I met, is really more like it. It allows me a lot more room to be kind and generous to people I like who I don't see myself as friends with, and the room to say, no thanks.
OB - In reading this, you and I are about as opposite as we can be in some ways.
I am a huge extrovert....need people all the time! Time away is time wasted for me.

But I do have friends that need that down time too. One is a recent ex-friend, who I think was getting blasted by all of my contacts when what was needed on that end was more space.

So now I wonder if mr extrovert here can have friends that are space loving???
What do you think???

This is a wonderfullyl well thought out write by the way!!!
I can relate to this. And though I'm not one to categorize, like you, I'm probably an introverted extrovert or extroverted introvert, if there such a thing. And I most totally relate to the sensory thing regarding food and wine and the company. Oh, and the adrenal fatigue.

These others to keep up with? I don't envy the Jones, etc. and have no desire to keep up with anyone. It's hard enough keeping up with myself these days. Another thoughtful post, OB.
A very good take on a difficult subject that seems to get more difficult as the years pass.
Hey JD- the first step is admitting you are dependent on others... I have defriended people who couldn't develop the self awareness of the mutuality of friendship, even within the reality that there is rarely a 50/50 balance. Two extroverts can only share so much limelight. I tend to be the dominant person, despite all this, and the odd part for me is that I don't actually crave that at all- it is also sometimes foisted on me, I am adept at it, people seek me out to give them attention. As long as you can recognize that your friends have their own lower thresholds of participation, tolerance, on any things, you can make friends with many an introvert.

Scarlet- yeah, totally, the introvert thing surprises everyone. I try to get all Buddhaquarian on it- I can love everyone if I maintain enough distance from them all. HHDL can love everyone because he needn't tend to their personal problems.
This is some good stuff to keep in mind if I ever get to where I have friends again. My definition of friend- someone who wants to make plans with me, even if it's just lunch. I have one person who does lunch and that's it. And my old friend from high school, who talks incessantly about her children. There was another person but he got a girlfriend and dumped me.

It's nice to know that barriers can be made and enforced without fear of the repercussions. A respect for self seems to be paramount in friendships, and a respect for the other person's barriers, too. Thanks.
Amy- it does not get easier. I am not sure if I lament the increasing difficulty, or the reality of time passing.

Phyllis- as you mentioned, she talks about her kids (that is her world of interest, and how she spends her life), and you likely talk of your garden, or not dating, or the academic world. When I was starting out after med school, in my first practice, I was told I talked about my work too much (for dating). I thought, I just spent the last four years working on this, and now I have to make something of it. The other things that happened during that time- my sister's cancer, my near death by car accident, the horrible break up with ex following accident, and miscarriage (from a fling, trying to seize the moment and feel alive, and got that instead) were not things I thought appropriate topics. Find another gardener, or two, and host a lunch in your yard. Even if they have children. They might also have a single brother.
Interesting post. I too am a very sociable person who craves solitude. I need solitude to regroup and recharge. Going to read Kathy's post now... ~r
A great piece for those of us who have been classified as introverts who react to being such by acting like extroverts.
Your bio sounds like someone who can balance introvert and extrovert parts of you. Traveling, learning about how people heal and wrting about it is kind of both. The "mixed" person who can transition from loner to social being and back again is complicated and not always happy but definitely most iteresting and dynamic in my opinion.
One advantage of being middle age, like myself, is that I can more easily and gracefully be who I am and live the life I'm truly interested in. There is less pretension at my age among my peers. I can simply be myself. I love being around people...that energizes me, but I also need my "alone" time to relax and pull myself together and to do the activities that need to be done alone.
I'm a very private extrovert, if you can make sense of that. I thought of a friend as I read this. We don't talk all the time or see one another as often as we'd like, but I called and said, "I'm in trouble". The only response, "What do you need me to do?"
[Just caus ya called bitch doesn't mean I gotta anser]... I'm just saying. Set the date time and program ...your way. Enjoy life your own way. :D
sorry I took a while to check out your excellent post;

I love people but I also need some down time; my husband is so wonderful, I have to remember to keep up my friends;

I never dreamed I could find such a perfect mate; I was thinking that there is a great friend or friends out there for me; it is just a matter of connecting with them; If I don't try several people, I may not find that super friend
To my mind introversion and extroversion are states at either end of a continuum. The ends are absolutes that functioning individuals are not found at.

I am an introvert but have a radio show and can be quite outgoing under the right circumstances. The key for most everyone seems to balancing high stimulation and low stimulation. Introverts require more quiet time but are also more observant of social interactions.

There is also an evolutionary angle to this as many vertebrates have shown introversion/extroversion social behaviors. Theoretically the extrovert is at an advantage during times of famine because they will range far afield to find food and resources. the introvert does well in good times because with more prey there are always more predators and the bold more often end up as dinner.
I forgot to mention that for me there are 4 kinds of people

Strangers: There are at least 6 billion of these.

Acquaintances: these are people I know but not well and do not have a strong trust relationship with.

Friends: The folks that have been around, and interesting, long enough to develop mutual trust.

Companions: The people that I can trust implicitly and that will always be there if I have problems (Unless I bring them on myself :))