Wednesday, February 25, 2009


at what point does an acquaintance become a friend? where is that line? and is there some category that hovers between the two, that intersects like two overlapping sets in a Venn diagram?
I could put a large number of people into my intersection between the two: they are more than just acquaintances, but possibly not intimate enough to consider to be friends.
friend, to me, implies a certain level of liking, of trust, of respect. and these are difficult to form unless there have been exchanges of information and experience. and the liking, trust, and respect must flow both ways: to call someone a friend who doesn't reciprocate your feelings is a mis-use of the word friend.
however, acquaintance seems so distant: I have met hundreds of people who must remain in that category because our relationship has thus far been limited to an introduction (at the least) and minimal conversation (at the most). the word acquaintance implies a formality, a distance, a level far below that of friendship.
what about all of those people in the in-between category, the intersection of my Venn diagram? those whom I have met, exchanged some basic information with, see occasionally or even more regularly at school or exercise-related events, but have never socialized with outside of those events?
fri-quaintances. acquends.
if you have a better word, please let me know.

and this all arises because of my somewhat-friend, dug.
I first became aware of dug in my power camp classes 2 years ago. since that time we have seen each other out on the road and in spin classes, and we can chat with each other about surface things like races and commuting and the weather, but it seems a bit of a stretch to call him my friend. I don't know his phone number or his address or his kids' names, although I do know what he does for a living and I've met his wife.
where do these people get categorized?
I'm thinking they just need that new category.

all of this to say that my friend dug referred to me the other day as someone who might fall into the "obsessed" category of people who cycle.
he was describing someone to me, said that this person rode a bike and was athletic and into activities like that, but that this person wasn't obsessed with it the way that some people were . . . and like I possibly was . . .

so I set dug straight.
I am not obsessed.
I walk the border between obsession and great like and fulfillment. I know I walk this border, and I do it carefully. some of my decisions and actions could be construed as those of one who is obsessed (or possessed), but the majority of my behaviors fall well on the other side of that boundary.
I told dug, I don't have to be obsessed. I'm in control, and can back off at will. I just appear to be obsessed at times.
I'm grinning. at myself.

this morning my ipod was dead, and I arrived at 5:45 to an empty, quiet spin room. I chose my bike and turned on the room's radio (weak, but better than silence) and started spinning and climbing and sweating. dug strode in at 6:05 and the instructor came at 6:10. I was working away by then, but only because I needed to stop at 6:50 in order to get home and do the morning-mom thing.
I'm not obsessed.
I'm just practical.

and a few other things.

the acquaintances, fri-quaintances and aquends might question certain things about me, but all of my true friends know pretty much exactly how I am.
and thank you God, they love me anyway.

1 comment:

Wendy Fehlauer said...

I agree about the word acquends, but want to get it in the dictionary! My own kids have been using this term for years with the same idea; that in between of a good friend and an acquaintance.

I'm trying to use it more in writing to others to see if I can get a group to summit it to several dictionaries.