Friends left this morning after a four night stay. They are on a three state round-trip road-trip in their hot rod. This is a car that makes you jump when it starts should you not be expecting the roar. I’ve known her for more than 36-years. He is her third and best husband.
It was lovely to catch up, have a BBQ with the local kids, and spend half a day doing the tourist thing with them. They also spent a day exploring under their own power.
This is a friend I do not experience social anxiety around. She is safe. I do, however, get overwhelmed. Years ago when expressing to another friend how I wish she could stay another day, she replied, “Oh no. Company is like fish. After three days, they stink.” We laughed, and she was right!
For sure part of the overwhelmed’s is being out of practice interacting with people in general (save the very few) and being ‘on’ far more than I am used to. When you have company, sitting on the couch for 90 minutes with resting bitch face while researching local air quality, and cordless vacuums is not considered good form.
My friend has been through a lot in her life: A crappy marriage during which she lost a child, another crappy marriage that part of getting out of required a restraining order, having to struggle to make ends meet for her and her son, her own childhood which was unideal (to put it mildly), and more. This has left her a case study of a control freak. I recognize members of my tribe when I see them! Her need for control is broken down into small yet more dense pieces than mine. I need to understand the whole picture of a plan, put things where they go in order to feel calm, check the boxes on the (not too long) list, etc. My friend needs to anticipate the second half of every other sentence you speak, and tell all of her husband’s stories, even when he starts them. She texted me to tell me our garage door was open as they pulled out this morning. It’s almost like she has to be the source that all communication flows through in order to feel safe. It can be most annoying to have your train of thought, as it falls out of your mouth, continually co-opted.
It was interesting to watch her and her husband make plans. They have a gentle yet intense negotiation over most decisions. I think this comes about via her need to form the conversational path. He is a relaxed saint. She asks questions about everything, and tries to imbue traits on others (not present) that aren’t accurate. It’s like she has to define EVERYTHING and analyzing everyone. I love her and I’m glad to have a still house again.