The One

I'm not talking about the Matrix, either.

Although, really, when most people talk about "the one", they're talking about it in a romantic sense - they're talking about soul mates, life partners, and people you're legally allowed to eat brunch with. And, while that's part of what I'm talking about, it's not the whole picture.

I'm talking about the fact that, for my entire life, I tend to get fixated on a few friendships to the exclusion of most others. I tend to focus on one or two people. And, as I'm nearing thirty, I'm beginning to see that maybe that wasn't such a great idea.

I've been doing it since before I can remember, and I think it has something to do with the fact that my parents were always moving due to my dad's Navy career. It was just easier to make one or two friends, and pursue that friendship before all others, than it was to constantly make new friends who weren't gonna be around for that long.

All through high school, I'd have one friend above all others, a "best friend" that was like my right arm. Sometimes, I'd be the leader in these pairings; other times, very much the sidekick. But they were never friendships that remained strong for more than a few years - I'd always change before I let myself get too close, moving on to a new best friend. Often one who was completely different from the last.

This natural tendency of mine morphed a little bit in my twenties. Rather then applying it to friends, it began to apply to girlfriends, and soon I found that women were becoming the focal point of my life (aren't they always?). And that was all well and good.

But now I'm single again, and I'm beginning to think maybe one-one pairings, even in the form of long-lasting friendships, are not the way to go. I think Marcus, from Nick Hornby's About a Boy, has it right - groups are the way to safety and well-being, not pairs. They're much more stable, and they can handle the passing of a person much more readily. Groups are much more likely to hang around for a while.

But I've never been very good at being a part of a group. I've always been about those one-one pairings. And so I find myself, wondering how the hell you really integrate yourself into a group of friends. I mean, I have a group of friends, and I love hanging out with them, but I sometimes just feel like a witness, rarely like an insider. I don't often really relax around them and just be myself. I'm too damned anxious trying to make myself fit in to actually, you know, fit in.

Stupid paradoxes.

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