The estimated reading time for this post is 3 minutes.

In this week’s episode, the ladies talked about and compared how they formed relationships, and how easily they do–or don’t–let people in.

Amber’s part really resonated with me; she said she didn’t have a lot of friends for a long time. I was much the same way, especially in college.

When I first arrived on campus, I did all the new freshman stuff, and I made friends. Thought so, anyway. We hung out together and did things (like go to Walmart) together. I lived in a different dorm than them, so coordinating was a little more difficult than it might have been. The two girls I was closest to were roommates.

I remember one day, I was going to their room to meet them for something, or we were leaving their room–it was a decade and a half ago, so the details are fuzzy. But we were in their dorm for some reason, and I feel like they locked me out of their room. Or they took an alternate route and lost me, or something. But after trying to catch up with them, and they didn’t seem to care, I left. I just left. I remember thinking, “If they don’t want me, I’m not going to force myself on them.” And we didn’t hang out again.

My life is very compartmentalized. Home is home, work is work, Fetlife is Fetlife. It makes it easier to put people into categories: High school friends were from high school; college friends were from college; guys I date for short periods of time are just for those few weeks or months. I don’t consciously put an expiration date on relationships. It is a pattern I can see looking back, though. When I’m done with high school, I was done with high school friends. I think I have 2 or 3 people from then on my Facebook. College was the same; I have one person from college on my Facebook (ok, of my, like, 3 friends).

Part of the ease I have in letting go of relationships is I don’t often open myself up to people. Why would I? One can be hurt doing that. I don’t cry in front of people, I don’t get scared, I rarely have a really big belly laugh (unless it’s surprised out of me). I don’t let people in, because it’s easier to deal with things on my own than to be hurt when they use whatever I shared against me.

I’m very lucky to have friends now who (I hope) will be lifetime friends. I met them when I was in college, sort of, but not at college. All of my dearest friends started as people on the periphery, people I didn’t talk to, didn’t know, and usually who seemed out of my league, if that makes sense for friendship. Sometimes, I can identify the moment we became friends — we were drunk and all, “Why didn’t I ever talk to you before?!?” — but some, I can’t. It was small moments here and there that brought them in, closer and closer, till I realized they were a part of my life that I didn’t want to lose. And some, there’s not an event that precipitates it, but there’s just a quiet moment and a realization that I need this person in my life, for as long as possible, as much as possible.

At my ripe old age of mid-30s, I am delighted to find that I’m still able to make new friends. It surprises me when people want to spend time with me and be my friend, and who are willing to listen to me and just be the amazing people they are.

How do you interact with people — do you tell them so much they think you have nothing else to tell the way Alyson does, or do you ask leading questions to lead them into conversation like Susan?