My dear Dawn,

Your letter about comfortable sweaters filled me with a warmth at my core that I can only describe as being on par with the distant rumblings of a good thunderstorm on a warm June evening. In other words, I loved it. The allegory about friendships, especially good friendships, being like comfortable sweaters (which only tend to get better with age, btw) is perfectly apt for us.

We two have a way of putting on each other when we need that extra warmth to our thoughts, perspective to our emotions, and input on experiences. But I’d like to add another aspect of our friendship that I highly value. The fact that you are this introvert’s dream come true in friendship.

Some people would think of an introvert/extrovert friendship combination as a thing of myth and legend, as rare as a friendship between cats and dogs, or, sometimes, an unintentional lie. (You know the ilk: where someone who claims to be an introvert is actually an extrovert and vice versa.) However, your very centrist location on the scale between introvert and extrovert has helped us in this friendship, I think. But I digress.

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I would be the cat in this metaphor, I do believe, but you can correct me if I’m wrong, Dawn.

Our friendship is beloved by me because it is one of the first friendships that I ever had that didn’t exhaust me. You listen to me when I’m speaking, ask questions to draw me out, encourage me to do new things–all this without draining my precious energy. Not an easy task, I’ll grant you.

The best part, though? You let me be quiet.

We’ve talked about this multiple times, but I still don’t think you quite understand what it means to me to have friendships where it is completely acceptable for me to be quiet and not directly involve myself in the conversation, or jokes, or activity. Oh, I’ll be there helping physically, but I won’t weigh in my opinion unless asked, or be forced to say platitudes and monotonous phrases that social behavior dictates we must give. Your presence gives me the freedom to not have to speak, to not have to waste my energy on things that are unnecessary.

So many people demand attention, even good friends. Very rarely am I with someone who doesn’t expect or demand those attentions, which are oh so exhausting to an introvert. (For anyone confused, this is a real thing, not just me complaining: go do some research into the science.) You don’t expect those from me anymore, which is a dream come true for me.

Of course, our friendship worked toward where it is now. Only after we passed half a decade did we finally seem to cross all boundaries, become so worn and comfortable with each other that there’s not a knot to be seen in the yarn making up our sweater. Now you trust me to say what I need to when I’m quiet (although you still ask questions to make sure I’m not forgetting to tell you something), as I trust you to know my intentions without my having to fill up a silence with nonsense material. You trust me to have your back and defend you against all rivals, and I know that you’ll be there to pick up the pieces, even when I can’t find the words to ask for help.

We truly to have a comfortable sweater, you and I. And I certainly wouldn’t want to wake up from this introvert’s dream without that sweater beside me.

Love you, dear.

Wilberforce

 

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