The Meatballs School of Relationship Minimalism
As an introverted person, I've never had tons of friends. As a kid, I watched Meatballs and completely understood the wisdom of Tripper's advice to Rudy: "You make one good friend a summer and you're doing pretty well."
Tripper was a huge pain in the ass, but he was a camp counselor who had figured out one key lesson in life: the number of friends you have is irrelevant; the quality of the friendships is what matters.
And in that spirit, I declare myself a relationship minimalist!
In every city I've lived in, I've stayed in touch with just a few people. In some cases, just one person.
But this handful of people is precious to me. These are the people who stick. People who I want to stay in touch with.
And not in a superficial Facebook post kind of way.
Facebook strikes me as a Camp Mohawk vapid attempt to preserve networking options. An opportunity to one-up the neighbors with better vacation pictures. It's devoid of any soul.
I belong to Camp Northstar, the camp of misfits and outsiders who band together because none of them fit, so they're perfect together! We don't post every life update to social media. We sit down to share a cup of coffee. We're authentic.
Embracing minimalism has allowed me the time and space to realize how much these few friendships mean to me.
Time on this Earth is limited. As I've gotten older, I've accepted more and more that interacting with some people is a complete waste of time. Some folks are downright dull...to me. When I'm forced to interact with these people, I will. But I want an escape plan!
My friends, the people I try to surround myself with, are interesting in a variety of ways:
- Most of them are quite funny, often with a sharp wit.
- They openly share their perspective. And most of them have unique viewpoints on a variety of issues.
- Oftentimes, if I'm getting too judgey judegerson, they'll remind me of mistakes I've made.
- They have original ideas and they're willing to share the information and tips.
- We spend time analyzing "What if?" factors to determine how wise certain ideas are.
- They are readers. We don't always like the same books, but their taste in their genre of choice is impeccable!
I've met, worked, drank, and interacted with countless numbers of people, many of whom I called friend within the time period I knew them. However, people move on. Sometimes physically. Other times, emotionally. And I'm fine with that situation. Life is a journey.
I don't feel the need to stay in touch with the person who I worked with for three months one summer. I don't want to detract from any value that person may have contributed to my life. Because I can think of a few people whose perspective affected me. Changed my world view. Made me a better person. And I'm thankful that I knew those people, even for a short time.
But I don't want relationships to feel like obligations. I want my loyalty to my people to be genuine.
So I am thankful that watching Meatballs was an end-of-summer ritual in my house for at least ten years. The theme stuck! And I'm sure my impressions of how important the number of friends I have has impacted my outlook and my ability to ease into minimalism.
Numbers don't matter. I don't need a certain number of anything.
I count seven close friends, besides My Person. Andrea, Chris, Diana, Drew, Mary Margaret, Matt, and Sandi: I list you in alphabetical order because trying to remember who I've known the longest would hurt my head. Every one of you enriches my life in different ways and I'm thankful for all of you! You are my circle of friends.
Are you a relationship minimalist? Please tell me about your friendships in the comments.