On a Friday after work a couple years back, Kat invited me to go meet up with some friends she went to both high school and university with. We met at a place on Front Street in downtown Toronto called C’est What. It’s this underground pub that sources most of its ingredients locally (from St. Lawrence Market); this includes their selection of beers, which are all from microbreweries. Since I’m on the topic of food (then again, when am I not?), I’ll have you know that I ordered butter chicken with chutney and it was delicious.
It was nice to meet some new faces. I’ve found that I have been pretty open to meeting new people lately, all through mutual friends. After shaving down the people that I once called “friends” over recent years, I’ve decided that the best way to meet new people is through the few great friends I have. Those who have made the final cut. Makes sense, no?
Over drinks, we were debating whether people seek friends who are just like them, or if they just get along with people similar to them, slowly picking up significant traits off of one another. I was convinced that our truest friends are more or less exactly like us in all of the critical ways, and I still hold to that — even over two years later. We went around the table in a “team building exercise” (as one of Kat’s friends christened it), each of us saying what trait we feel Kat picked up from us in our time as her friend. Despite the fact that she and I are very close, at that time, I had only known Kat since May of the previous year. I didn’t think I could have given her any significant characteristics in that short of a time, especially since she’s older than me by a few years and thus, is “older and wiser”…kind of (ha ha ha). What could I possibly have to offer to her? Besides emphasizing her vulgar sense of humour with my own (a trait already accounted for), we ended up settling on bringing out the gossiper between the two of us. Maybe not necessarily something to pride ourselves on, but all the positive attributes we share, we already came into our friendship possessing.
I realize now, not just with Kat, but with all of my close friends, that I love them so much because we compliment each other. All of the things I love about them are inherently part of their personalities; I never had to change them, or have ever had the desire to change them. Besides, the people that you are closest with should never have to be people you want to change. It’s an all-or-nothing, a take it or leave it. But it’s true, too: it’s not so much the desire to instil myself in them, as much as it is picking off their best characteristics and infusing them into myself. Likewise, I try to bring out the best in my friends without ever changing who they are as a person. It’s this mutual give and take, this unconscious endeavour to better one another, that has made our friendships as concrete and long-lasting as they have been.
What do you think? Do we seek friends who are just like us, or simply get along with people similar to us, while slowly picking up significant traits from one another? Let me know in the comments!