I don't know whether it is my horrible body odor or the fact that I find fault with someone the moment that I meet them but I have trouble getting friends. Before you sound the introverted dorky loser alarm, I'll have you know that I am probably only one of those things I mentioned above. Sadly, I think the reason that I don't have any real friends is that my standard for friendship is very high. Also, I think that we often confuse an acquaintance with a friend.
My standard for a measuring a friend is this: Picture yourself stranded on the side of the road at 3 A.M. You just blew a tire/battery/engine/something you don't have the tools/knowledge/money to fix. Who among your "friends" would you feel comfortable calling and asking them to pick you up 30 miles away? Be careful the way that you answer this question. If you first instinct is that you have many friends, then consider that you might be a selfish person with a greater focus on having your own needs met rather than taking into account the thoughts and feelings of others. This list, it should be a short one as very few people are willing to climb out of bed, drive thirty miles AND put on a cheery face to meet/help you in another town. Of the few of these people whom you have narrowed this list down to, how many of them would you confide in, in a time of need? If you have any people that remain after this filtration process these people are you friends. Either that or you have an acquaintance who drives a tow truck with a minor in psychology.
Over the years I have had several acquaintances and I have turned down several offers to be someone else's acquaintance. When I was a kid making "friends" was easy. All you needed was a basketball, baseball mitt or new Nintendo game. Kids especially guys will get together for any form of competition that resembles a sport. These childhood relationships may evolve or dissipate. Other surface friendships might replace old surface friendships. During our formative teenage years we are often thrust into friendships in order to battle against our parents and gain a sense of independence. During this time some real friendships might develop as a reaction to controlling parents. The teenage need to be free engenders reliance and a desire to confide in other people of the same age. Alas, none of this ever happened for me.
After I missed this stage I did develop some casual friendships in my late teens and early twenties. These friendships however were tantamount to childhood friendships. The only thing that changed was that the basketball became a bottle of whiskey and the new Nintendo game became a car. NOT IN THAT ORDER! There was no drinking and driving. By this I mean, that as long as there was bottle of whiskey and a trivial activity to participate in, all parties were entertained. When it came to cars, the conversations were stimulating with phrases like: "Did you see that car?" and the reply "Yep, it's a fast one!"
No one in these situations was ever pressed to change their behavior or outlook on life due to our collective interaction. We were just an assembly of people brought together based on our collective desire to participate in that activity. The names and faces could have been swapped out with a million different people from a thousand different places on earth. We only drank together because drinking alone makes you an alcoholic. We only cruised together because racing up and down suburban streets in your mom's Pontiac sunfire by yourself is kinda lame. Okay, racing your mom's sunfire is kinda lame no matter how many people are involved. All we were doing was stifling the loneliness and isolation, not building important or interesting relationships.
I fondly remember leaving one of my friends houses after a party early one morning to find the aforementioned sunfire had a smashed in front fender. I was so pissed because I couldn't get the door open and I had to climb over the center console from the passenger side in order to drive it home. Worse, the person who hit it didn't leave a note or their license plate number. Worse, it was my mother's car and I foresaw her yelling at me for driving carelessly and smashing her car up. What kind of asshole smashes a car and then drives off right? Well as it turns out, two of my "friends" just so happened to be in the car that smashed into my car and one of them was driving.
I fondly remember another friend whom asked to borrow my stereo for a house party to which I obliged. He stated that it if went over well that he would consider buying the stereo from me. The next week I saw him he called me over to show me the new car that he had purchased. After we popped the hood and revved the engine a few times I asked him if he still wanted to buy the stereo. "The stereo?" He said. "I sold the stereo to buy the car." He said. A few days later he broke into my garage and stole my old license plates from my car while I wasn't home. Apparently the car that he bought with the help from the stereo he borrowed and sold could not pass the smog test, thus it could not be licensed. Lucky for him one of his friends had an extra pair of license plates in the garage and he was out racing up and down the streets in no time. I have never been so close to murdering someone in my entire life.
Growing up television enfeebled my mind. It suggested to me that every protagonist had a collection of friends who interacted with each other on a daily basis. Not only this but in most cases a friend relationship was much deeper and more involved than a parental/familial relationship. In every sitcom or dramatic series there was always that scene where the friends were sitting down for Thanksgiving turkey or exchanging Christmas gifts amid dispensing helpful advice toward living. Maybe it's me. Perhaps my harsh, abrasive, insensitive comedic tone only draws the eyes and ears of assholes who are akin to me. These people are not the same as me but they are assholes of a different color karmically returning all of the bad that I put out into the world. But, I don't believe that to be true. Just this once I will confide in you random internet audience and say that without exception I have always been the better friend.