This past Saturday, my friend and coworker Wayne and I ran The Color Run and then went to breakfast afterward. He said something to me which I thought was pretty adorable (and accurate)<–just for @trivialbob. He said, “You’re, like, the perfect cactus friend.” And, at first I was a bit concerned…am I a bit prickly? (Ok, yes…sometimes.) But, then he went on to say that it’s nice to have friends who you can hang out with sporadically but feel like your friendship is still strong, healthy, and continuing to grow despite the lack of frequent time together. I kind of love that!
Honestly, “cactus friends” are the only kinds of friends I can have. I love people, but I’m not an extrovert. At All. I am drained by my job. I am drained by the incredible amount of support my parents need from me right now. I love both my job and my parents SO MUCH. But, when I spend time at work, and then have my daily, emotional drive-home-phone-call with my mom (which usually involves a lot of tears shed–always on her part and sometimes on mine, as well), I’m done. I’m emotionally worn down, and I need a little quiet to recharge, and more importantly I need to save my energy, enthusiasm and focus for my husband and son.
I am HAPPY to do the work I do and be a support system for my family. Yes, it’s exhausting, but it’s totally worth it, and I wouldn’t change
it for a second. I think we just have to be honest–with ourselves and
with our friends–about who we are.
I am a “cactus friend.” I almost never text or call “just because.” It’s not me. Sometimes I do, but I can count on one hand the number of times that happens in a year. I just don’t. Hmm…when I write it out, it sounds like I’m an asshole. I’m not, but if you are the type of person who really likes and needs regular communication to feel close to your friends, then you’d probably think I am. I keep a running tally in my head of how long it’s been since I’ve seen or talked to my people, and we make sure to schedule time to see each other at least about once a month. But, it’s entirely possible that I don’t speak to or text my very best friends between seeing them. And, they’re 100% fine with it! *insert praise hands emoji* If you’re going to be one of my people, you’ve got to be able to handle a cactus friend. Yes, you can call me without hesitation if you have a crisis or need to talk to me, but I just honestly am not the orchid friend. Thank God for my cactus friends. Many of them I’ve had for decades. Our friendship grows despite its sporadic nurturing. Because, when we do see each other, we can skip straight to the real talk and there’s so much to say that we can talk, laugh, and catch up for hours.