It wasn’t when we first met.
No, when we first met, I was excited. It was at large group and you motioned me over to sit next to you. I was confused (have we met?) but I quickly realized you were just nice and you thought I had a welcoming face. We were reading about David and Jonathan and you shared your desire for a friendship like that. I was more jaded, less enthusiastic, having just endured the highs and lows of that kind of friendship. But I was also impressed that you would so willingly share that with the group upon our first meeting.
It was when we first got coffee. We went to this chill spot in Harlem and talked about life (because, you know, making new friends is like dating). You told me about your time in TFA and I listened intently. You told me about your 80-100 hour work weeks, the sleepovers you threw for your students, the relationships you built with them. And then all the alarm bells started ringing. Your story was so familiar and so was your reasoning. And that scared me a lot.
Since then, we’ve gone for a few coffees, or dinners, or movies. But the time between each meeting grows. It’s not on purpose, but I’m not unaware of it either. Because after every hang out, I wonder to myself whether or not I should do it again. Because I know your type too well and I know that our types don’t work well together.
I would say it’s not you, but it is. It is you who focuses your energy on your work – your good work – at the detriment of your friendships and familial relationships. It is you who seeks authenticity and intentionality in romance but settles for far less than that. It is you who texts but doesn’t follow through.
But it’s me too. I’m the one who resists initiating so that I can resist rejection. I’m the one who keeps you at arms length so that I don’t make the same mistakes. I’m the one who stepped back from the game before it even started in earnest.
So yeah, you looked really familiar to me from the very beginning of our friendship. And that worries me a lot. But it’s also true that familiarity doesn’t imply a carbon copy. If I’m honest, I don’t know what to do about it.
But I think I should do something so as not to stumble into too familiar territory.