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July 11th, 2002

on sets of friends,

It seems like all of us must gather up around us a set of friends that "make sense" to us. For me that means a lot of things, among them that I need to feel "real" and "honest" and that my friends truly "see" me, for good or for bad.

I was pondering other friendships today, that I observe among other groups of people, and it appears that some sets of friends are more like simple "mutual admiration societies." Anything one of them does is unquestioningly supported 100% by the others, as if one just picks a "Greek chorus" of sorts. Any uncertainty or criticism from the outside, no matter how mild, is jumped on by the entire group and shut out. I guess high school cliques fit this bill, but I have seen it very recently among a group of adults.

Trying to imagine how someone in a group like that would view the world is really amazing to me. How protected they must seem, and yet how fake and softened and unreal their view of the world must be! It makes me a little sad, because I don't understand how one can be truly satisfied with one's experience of the world around them when it's only viewed through, and validated and mollified by, friends who aren't both loving and critical.

I wonder what people in such fake-sunshine, protected groups think of me and my set of friends, who seem so real and true to me. I suppose they don't understand either. I want to say my experience is the richer one, the more correct, that other people need to get over themselves and wake up to the gritty, earthy world, and become stronger and more "real." But that's obviously my perspective alone, and holding it so righteously probably isn't legit. Wars have started that way.

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Charley

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