On the rareness of ‘true’ friendship

My intp-ness, whether or not I care to give it that label, affects my relationship with others a whole damn lot. I’m not immediately friendly, and usually look at first meetings with a mixture of apprehension and skepticism – I don’t know what these people are up to, I don’t know what they want. I’m just going to keep an eye on them, just in case.

I guess for most people, they decide quite soon after the first meeting if they like them and they proceed from there. I think I’m pretty good at reading people, mostly because people give off some vibe. That’s so unscientific, but that’s the best way I can describe it. That vibe can be a vibe about the kind of person they are, or their moral standing, or even on their  irascibility, or sensitivity, and that informs me a lot on how I should behave around them.

I think having been in education for the most part of my working life – 15 years – helps in this regard. I have to be careful around my students, to read them so I know if they’re comfortable emotionally and intellectually. I challenge them intellectually and challenge is discomforting, but I want to make sure their comfortable before I start throwing things at them. Some preparation is better than a rude awakening, especially when education has become more of a trade where you have to cater to ‘clients’.

In any case, I guess people can sense my constant vigilance towards them. I find it hard to trust anyone. I don’t think I should. I don’t want to – it makes me vulnerable. You must think me strange: since I said I think I can read people, I should therefore know who I should be able to trust. That’s exactly my point. No one I’ve met has made me feel like I can trust them completely, the way friendships seem to be in works of fiction. I could never have that kind of friendship.

Now I’m figuring out which is the cause and which, the effect. My belief in that I could never have such turns me away from people? Or me turning away from people causes me to  believe those kinds of friendships will never be ones that I will have.

And then there’s the part of me who just doesn’t want this vulnerability at all. I know what you will say – you’ve got to give some to get some. I just don’t think it’s worth it. It’s not something I’ll give up my trust for. Hey, if I don’t look out for me, who will?

In the end, it could really be just a matter of trust and privacy, and how others must use my trust and secrets to their advantage, however slight. Just because I do not harbour such intentions doesn’t mean other won’t.

I wonder how others do it, though? How do they put themselves so wholly in the power of someone else? What will be left of yourself when they leave? One way or another, they will leave. I need to keep most of me mine so that I have somewhere to go home to when it all ends. That’s not me being pessimistic. I’m a realist.
I have had my share of friends, but either they would insist on reading my diary, which I would disallow only to have them feel betrayed, or they would feel it odd not to receive a present on their birthdays. I never felt the use of birthday presents, and if you’re giving for the sake of giving because it’s a birthday, save it. If these are their definitions of what friendship entails, and that your friends must take our side in matters as well, fairness and reason be damned, they are not mine.

And so.

I don’t confide in people. (This is not me confiding either.) I keep my secrets with myself; I know I can surely trust myself, while my mind is present and accounted for.

Do others whisper their secrets to others? How much do they trust them? What have those people done to earn their trust? That’s a lot of weight on shoulders. I lean on some people, sure. But I always make sure that when they take off and go, I can shift the weight to my own two legs again. They are all I need to support me.

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