Full disclosure: I have the flu.
Fuller disclosure: I have the flu, I just made a pot of steaming egg drop soup, and there is a huge stack of holiday cards waiting for me to inscribe.
Fullest disclosure: friends, I am dashing this baby out at the last possible second. Sometimes you have to choose between being the best blogger ever and sending out heartfelt personalized holiday cards a week ahead of time. Or, in my case, choose between being a reliably decent blogger and getting at least some cards out while it is still the holidays.
Lucky for me, my entire book is about unexpected friendships, so I’ve given the subject some thought. I am a huge devotee of unexpected friendships. I love them so much I tend to actually expect them and then be disappointed when, say, the super-grouchy librarian at my branch doesn’t want to be bros. (Well, even I knew that was a long shot; I never return anything on time.) I also have been known to hit on potential friends, even when the odds are against me, ask them out, and then laugh about it years later when my now dear friend teases me about how weird it was to be asked on a friend date when we first met. Laugh all you like, I still tricked you into being my friend!
Of course, for every unexpected friendship in life, there’s a corresponding unexpected well, un-friendship. You know, the woman at work with the exact same taste as you but when you try to hit it off, you just want to hit the road. The mother of your kiddo’s pal at playgroup whose likes on facebook make you cringe. The girl on your bus route who is so stinkin’ funny… and then so stinkin’ mean.
I guess these surprises are double-edged because friendships not only reflect who we are, but who we wish we could be. Super granola mother whose 8-year old twins have never known the taste of sugar? I admire you, but now I feel guilty. Shopping fiend who knows every trend before it’s hot? You look amazing but I cannot be dressing up every time we get together. Fitness buff with zero body fat? Oh brother. You’re making me tired just imagining your hypothetical existence.
And maybe that’s why unexpected friendships are such a beautiful thing. When someone who should be guilt-inducing, or intimidating, or exhausting, instead turns out to be a shoulder to cry on or a breath of fresh air or an inspiration to greater things, you can see the gorgeous things about your friend… are secretly lurking there inside you. Just think about it for a second. Imagine your most unexpected friendship. Think of the crazy wonderful things about that friend. Now think about how those things are reflected in you. They are! They may be dormant, they may be overshadowed, but they are there.
And sometimes that’s the most unexpected thing of all.