It is unusual that I baulk when someone refers to me as a friend. There have only been rare occasions that this has happen and they were mainly a long time ago when my partner used to introduce me as a ‘friend’ and I would – for social and political reasons, do the same. It always left a taste of bitterness.
So, imagine my surprise when earlier this week someone introduced me to other people as her ‘friend’ I immediately felt very uncomfortable with the term. This is not about denying intimacy; this is about making a presumption of closeness that does not exist. It made me uneasy.
I love people and look forward to making new friends, but I think this categorisation was a bit premature.
To me, friendship is about some commonality of view, interests, and is usually the result of spending some quality time together. As far as I was concerned none of these ‘requirements’ had been met.
This woman, who I had met in a business environment some time last year, had no right to refer to me as a friend, at least that’s what I felt and what I still think. Like I say, I found it an unexpected and unusual introduction that gave a false impression of our relationship.
It’s a bit like the Google + circles, some people are friends, some are acquaintances, some are in other categories that you really don’t want to announce publicly. I am always friendly, but to be referred to as a friend or to call someone a friend is a major step for me, one that I had not taken yet in this relationship. That’s why it threw me somewhat.
Maybe that statement will be the start of a real friendship, who knows. But right now all I feel is unsettled by the reference. How strange is that?