A Strange Aspect of Growing Up

I think everyone comes to a point in their life when they look at their friends–genuinely consider them, not just summarize them–and ask themselves why on earth such wonderful people even like them. Either that, or you’re an egomaniac or a narcissist.

After experiencing years of life and unhappiness and discomfort and a variety of other things, eventually I found myself looking at my friends and . . . wondering what about me could possibly interest them. Why anyone could possibly consider me their best friend is completely beyond me. These people are intelligent, talented, strong, tolerant, brave, kind people–particularly for the widely-stereotyped the American teenager. I have less self-control, less willingness to forgive or to forget, and a lesser ability to appreciate and thank–basically just more accurate to the stereotype. But they have laid claim to me, and, while I question their decisions in that respect, I feel immensely grateful that anyone could consider me important, or funny, or interesting.

I’m not convinced by compliments–they’re easy to say and are often meaningless social niceties that keep people at ease and/or bored. I feel like it’s not impossible to have a stable, friendly relationship without them. I don’t feel like I should want anything from these people. I feel like I should just return an infinity of favors to them–they work so hard and I give them so little. It’s amazing to me that humans like this even exist, that they’re concentrated enough for me to know a large enough number of them, and it is entirely astonishing that they give me any thought at all–sometimes I wonder if I’m a charity project, or a secret conspiratorial society of nice, awesome people wants to initiate me into their cult, or see how well I can adapt to their wondrous ways. Or maybe they want to milk money and favors out of me, to have “a man on the inside” of the rest of the horrible and mundane humans that stalk the planet.

This is a somewhat lengthier way of saying that I love these people and I feel I should be on my knees thanking them profusely. They’ve shared so much with me–time, stories, lives, laughter, thoughts–and I can’t imagine better people (except maybe Malala Yousafzai).


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