July 16, 2010

"My fiancée, who collects friends like a baleen whale collects plankton, finds my lack of friends odd."

Says Christopher Orlet:
It's not that I am unable to play well with others. It is rather that I have a hard time finding persons who interest me enough to want to be friends. This is, I suppose, what attracted me to books and magazines so many years ago -- the opportunity to be in the company of interesting people with engaging stories to tell.


Trooper York said...

Well a baleen whale collects plankton with her mouth so there you go.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Pogo said...

"Says Christopher Orlet..."


Gawd, how many of us are there??

If we had a club, no one would ever show up for the meetings.

John Lynch said...

A good reason to stay in college is that the higher you go the greater the likelihood of meeting people smarter than you are.

David said...

She eats her friends?

shirley elizabeth said...

How funny, though, that his fiancee has interested him enough. Perhaps she has gained her intrigue through her many friends.

EDH said...

Collecting friend is overrated.

How Many Friends

I'm feelin' so good right now
There's a handsome boy tells me how I changed his past
He buys me a brandy
But could it be he's really just after my ass?

He likes the clothes I wear
He says he likes a man who's dressed in season
But no one else ever stares, he's being so kind
What's the reason?

How many friends have I really got?
You can count them on one hand.
How many friends have I really got?
How many friends have I really got?
That love me, that want me, that'll take me as I am?

Suddenly it's the silver screen
And a face so beautiful that I have to cry out
Everybody hears me
But I look like a fool now
With a cry and I shy out
She knows all of my friends
But it's nice to find a woman who can stay home late
Now I think I've reached the end
I wonder in the dead of night - how do I rate?

It's all like a dream you know
When you're still up early in the morning
And you all sit together to watch the sun come through
But things don't look so good
When you could use a bit of warning
Then you know that no one will ever speak the truth about you

When I first signed a contract
It was more than a handshake then
I know it still is
But there's a plain fact
We talk so much shit behind each other's backs
I get the willies
People know nothing about their own soft gut
So how come they can sum us up
Without suffering all the hype we've known
How come they bum us up

John Stodder said...

I can relate to this guy with the one caveat that I am from a big family, and my wife's family is also large, so I'm never lonely -- quite the reverse. I don't make intense new friendships because my brothers, their wives/girlfriends and my nieces and nephews provide me with all the intense closeness I'm ever going to need. Plus throw in my son and my wife.

My son, being an only child, is better at making friends than I am. I don't think that's random. But he also thirsts for the company of his cousins, so he's looking for the same connectedness that I take for granted.

edutcher said...

Apparently, the idea that a friend is someone you like a lot never entered this guy's head. Maybe because nobody likes him.

Wonder why?

ricpic said...

A friend
Over time you drift apart
Or clash
Then each licks his wounds
Makes a move
Gets back together again
Realizes just how wonderful it is
To have a friend

Trooper York said...

I have too many friends. Or at least people that consider me their best friend. I mean you only have a few close "true" friends.

It's like being a "True Yankee." There are only a few Thurmans and Derecks.

All the rest are Roger Clemens.

knox said...

Well, I do find as I get older that I'd as soon do something I really like than randomly socialize. (The opposite definitely used to be true. I couldn't go out enough.) But now I don't tend to pursue a friendship unless I feel a connection. And I avoid "mom's groups" like the plague.

But I'd be lying if I tried to argue that "I have a hard time finding persons who interest me enough to want to be friends" doesn't sound, uh, offputting.

AST said...


I'll bet you don't forget her kisses!

I saw a documentary about the dissection of a dead whale and the tongue was huge, but not as large as that of a Blue Whale which is said to weigh about as much as an elephant. It doesn't say African or Indian elephant (or mammoth or mastodon).

AST said...


You must be a very efficient speed dater.

bagoh20 said...

"A good reason to stay in college is that the higher you go the greater the likelihood of meeting people smarter than you are."

That's one explanation.

Similarly, I notice that the older I get, the younger everyone else is.

jayne_cobb said...

The author does seem to be trying to make an excuse for his low number of friends with the whole "persons who interest me" thing.

That said I can't criticize someone for having few friends as I've only had about 3 or 4 people I've considered real/true/best friends (pick your term), and only two of them are still around.

I have a few drinking buddies I'll call up and the occasional work/school acquaintance but I don't fool myself into thinking that there is any serious friendship there. However unlike the author I'm well aware that it tends to be a result of my personality and not that of others (I'm shy and it takes me a while to open up to people). I accept it and I'm fine with it.

Calypso Facto said...

The Althouse blog benefits immensely from this very attitude...

A very interesting company, indeed.

edutcher said...

Trooper York said...

I have too many friends. Or at least people that consider me their best friend. I mean you only have a few close "true" friends.

I'd take that as a compliment. You must be a good guy to have around when things get ugly.

1jpb said...

From Shakespeare's quill (or not):

A friend in need's a friend indeed,
A friend with weed is better;
A friend with breasts and all the rest,
A friend who's dressed in leather.

A friend in need's a friend indeed,
A friend who'll tease is better;
Our thoughts compressed which makes us blessed,
And makes for stormy weather.

A friend in need's a friend indeed,
My Japanese is better;
And when she's pressed she will undress,
And then she's boxing clever.

A friend in need's a friend indeed,
A friend who bleeds is better;
My friend confessed she passed the test,
And we will never sever.

Chip Ahoy said...

Hahaha, baleen whale, that's a good one.

Kirstin said...

I read Orlet's column in the morning and noted Christopher Hitchens' comment that Martin Amis was his only friend. And then in the afternoon I was listening to the radio, and I heard Hugh Hewitt mention that he considers Hitchens to be a friend. I don't think that the feeling is mutual.

I wouldn't blow anyone's brains out for them, so I only have acquaintances.

Fred4Pres said...

I thought I Love You Man was funny.

This story was so eighteen months ago.

c3 said...

vicarious extroversion

Fred4Pres said...

I have a few friends who I can utterly and completely rely on. I think I am doing okay.

I am not surprised Hitchens is friends with Martin Amis.

Christy said...

I don't give the relationship with the fiancee long. He doesn't seem as if he could be gracious for the duration of an obligatory party. Or any party with her friends.

That will get old very quickly.

John Lynch said...


Mike Lorrey said...

I have to remember the Marx Bros quote about not wishing to associate with organizations that want someone like me for a member. Same goes for friends.
In reality, I have far better things to do with my time than socialize, and of course, my standards are a bit difficult to meet: IQ >150, body of Angelina Jolie, not a liberal (that disqualifies Ms. Jolie), must be gun owning, hunting/fishing, preferably military veteran AND libertarian... and, um, yeah a sense of humor...

traditionalguy said...

Does he love her enough to let her socialize like the energizer bunny while he gives out and hides away to recharge? If so, then he will be blessed. He is describng a classic INFJ/ENFJ pairing

Omaha1 said...

I don't have many friends either, but it's not because I don't find people interesting. It's just that emotional intimacy is difficult for me. The two real friends I have now (not counting my husband), are not particularly "interesting" in a traditional sense. We don't sit around talking about all of the books we have read or our philosophies on life in general, we just do things we like to do together, like camping or eating good food.

However they are both easy to be with, and the only people in the world who know the "real me". They can come over any time, and I don't care if my house is clean or if I am dressed and have makeup on. We always laugh a lot and we know that we could ask each other for any kind of favor, and it would be done. My two friends are much closer to me than my family members, since I feel no need to impress them in any way.

Sounds to me like this gentleman needs to re-evaluate his idea of friendship.

R.L. Hunter said...

A friend will help you move, A real friend will help you move a body.

Scott M said...

I was always the social butteryfly type. Highly extroverted. In college, my best friend of nearly a decade ended up with one of the few women I can honestly say I loved. Less than two years later, a slightly lesser friend ended up with a slightly lesser serious girlfriend.

I've kept my circle of friends at a minimum ever since. It's honestly the primary reason my wife and I don't have any close couple friends. Some of those damned scars run deep.

Methadras said...

I have about 7 really close friends and countless associates that I'm on excellent terms with. I don't have any enemies (that I know of anyway). Even with my close friends we keep our contact somewhat limited only because of distance, but because we get to accumulate enough of life for a little while to actually share when we do get together. Of those 7 friends, 4 that I can think right now I talk with all the time. I don't need anymore than that. I have to much to do and having that many friends would drain me of my productivity throughout a day to interact with.