Reminder: I have over a month’s worth of buffer on my blog, so this was written a while ago.
Inspired by a post by Laina Eartharcher (again? what can I say – she’s very inspiring 😛 )
In that post, she talks about her “fondness spectrum” and the different kinds of friends she has. I’d like to talk about only one of my friend-types: The “Safe Person”.
My brain will, seemingly at random, occasionally designate people to be “Safe People”. Generally about half a dozen or so at a time. There are two kinds of Safe People:
- Those that are only safe to talk to, to tell secrets to and work through my drama with
- Those who I would both talk to and would make me feel safe in a completely unfamiliar environment
For example, I’m going to my first Pride this year (yey!) but its in a city I don’t know well, and I’ve never been to a Pride before, especially not as me. (I think I actually saw part of a pride once about a decade ago, but it was the more subdued, kid-friendly section and I don’t remember it well)
I could really use having someone from the second kind of Safe Person there. Even if they don’t know the city either, their presence will be reassuring on what is sure to be an overwhelming couple of days.
Now, just because you’re not a Safe Person doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. I have lots of friends who aren’t Safe People. But they don’t generally get to know my secrets until I’m ready for them to stop being secrets. I wouldn’t go on a night out with them without at least one Safe Person there as well. It’s not a trust thing; they’re fine people, good people, I just have trouble feeling safe in an unfamiliar environment without my Safe Person 😛 I can’t seem to force it either, it seems to be entirely subconscious. You’re either a Safe Person or you’re not.
It’s also not a guarantee we’ll be best friends, although it definitely helps. I currently have a Safe Person at work but because he has two kids and I have to travel a horrendous distance to get to work we’re basically never going to meet outside of work. He’s a great friend, and I wish we could hang out more, but due to the realities of life its unlikely to happen. Some of my best Safe People I interact with almost entirely online these days, after one or both of us moved pre/post university…
Another challenge I’ve got coming up before this post goes live is a day out in an unfamiliar environment with a) a lot of people. like, a lot, but all people I know and b) very possibly no Safe Person. It’s a BBQ for a social club we go to, but my other half is on the rota to work that day, so if he cant shift swap my choices are don’t go or go alone… and the previous years have been such fun…
One final thing to note about my Safe People: I’m not always right. I’ve been burned before (and fairly recently) where someone I thought was a Safe Person has let me down. Thankfully, this time, not too badly, but it still stings.