Thursday, October 20, 2011

The semantics of train friendships

**Real names have been changed

Those of you who ride back and forth each day like you've been sentenced to two hours of solitary confinement need not keep reading. I've already heard why many people choose to ignore the people they see each day (I was one of you, remember?). The one point that sticks out is it avoids drama. Yeah, well, epic fail for me.

Ideally, I'm looking to capture the attention of those who do have train friends and to discuss the logistics of circles and the breaking of circles.

Train friends do not just happen. Like every friendship, it takes time to build. It's also a tricky semantic because only four people can sit in a quad and I'm not a fan of cross-quad yelling. A shout of hello, sure. But not an entire discussion.

It's not a secret that I have train friends. I just choose not to write about them. And there are people I know on the train from having had casual one-on-one conversations with, that, if I'm on a late train and I see you, and you're up for talking, I'll come and sit with you (you know who you are). In fact, I'll ask you if you're up to talking. I don't assume you're in the mood.

My morning train has a routine. Four of us do try to sit together. There are two others who like to sleep and read, so they don't feel slighted if they're not in the same quad as myself and two others. It became a routine over time - almost two years. I started talking to Charlotte first and then we got to talking to Mamma D and then Blondie C and over the course of a year, this is just how it went down everyday.

Often we get a random who joins us and forces the fourth to sit somewhere else but it's not a big deal. I tend to get irritated if I'm the one being forced to sit somewhere else because of randoms but hey, the seats aren't assigned and you snooze, you lose.

I've since made new train friends outside of my six, core, train friends. I'm open to talking to anyone. But that doesn't mean that so is everyone else.

I guess where I'm going with this is that I know someone who've I've engaged in conversation on the morning train is feeling slighted that "our group" doesn't go out of our way to accommodate this person, or maybe it's because I haven't made an effort to go out of my way to accommodate this person.

I'm not sure how to deal because I feel responsible for someone's feelings being hurt. I knew something was up because of a BBM this person sent me, it was sent in jest, saying they can't be part of the cool crowd. I felt bad she felt that way so I tried to explain why she probably feels that way. I don't think I handled it the right way and probably made the situation worse because I explained that I like to sit with my friends (I know, oh dear). So I've invited the person out for coffee.

I'm looking to hear how others would have handled it. It really is difficult to have four separate conversations at once.

This is a friendship I would prefer to foster separate from the train and I've pulled that off with Jill, Uncle and Bouncer (the two who don't sit with me all the time and the third who has his own train group).

Oh ... wait ... okay, so the BBM that came back completely ignored the coffee request. I guess the damage is too far done. I'm still hoping it's a yes after the person cools down.


Amy said...

This is why I don't make friends on the train ... why would anyone open themselves up to drama? I'm sorry you know feel you have to choose sides, or pick a person to stick with, but you asked for this the second you opened your mouth.

FRED said...

Is this person crazy?! They turned down coffee with the Crazy Train!!!

I think one on one friendships are better anyway. Why be part of a group? If this person likes you, she should definitely get together with you off the rails. If you've got a routine, you're not obligated to change it.

If your train friends aren't interested in breaking the circle it's not up to you to convince them to expand the tribe.

It's no different than dogs really. The pack remains tight. Usually after one dies, a new one comes in ... or is that for wolves? So I guess what I'm saying is you'll have to wait til the pack loses a member and then the others have to learn to accept the replacement.

C.J. Smith said...

I didn't say it was a she. But I guess it's obvious.

Fred, you make me laugh. If you want coffee, ask the wife and let's do it.

Squiggles said...

This is why I prefer my bubble of anonimity and how I get through my ridiculous to-read pile. Too much drama otherwise.

On the otherhand, this person should have realised that a pattern is set and that it will take time for it to change. Rome was not built in a day. Had s/he been serious about trying to become one of the group, s/he could have taken you up on your coffee idea. And started from there.

Al said...

I really wouldnt feel left out if someone I met solely on the train did not want an off go relationship, I think of my train friends as strictly people to kill time with while commuting. I am not against going out off train for a coffee or maybe a childs B-day party etc..., but wouldnt take offense if an invitation was declined/not given. Too bad they feel left out but it's not your fault.

lswgirl13 said...

Exactly why I don't want train friends unless of course my GO train crush wants to become "friends" **sigh**

Bicky said...

There are a few of us who chat on the platform while waiting for the train in the morning. Once we board, we scatter to our preferred seating spots.

I occasionally ride home with a co-worker and we giggle while reading the shout outs and give our opinions on them, or talk in code when we see seat hogs. ;o)

Sometimes it's nice to just shut out the world and be in your own bubble.

PW said...

Wait, you have train friends? Or do you mean your multiple personalities ... who, once again, all conveniently showed up at once. En masse.


purple rain said...

Once a group is established, it can be hard to expand. The train is so intimate, especially during the mornings.

I think she does respect you have other friends. Maybe it's more how your friends treat her.

Skin Man said...

Since we're sharing....I have a friend, and sometimes I just want to read or shut my eyes and vegitate, but feel guilty about it, as this person needs the interaction.

In response to your question CJ, there is really no way you could have handled that without upsetting the person, so don't beat yourself up over it. You could have offered an opportunity for the person to try an slip in with the group, but give its a four in a quad arrangement it just wouldn't work....its like skiing, if there are five of you, someone is riding single, (ignore the existence of triple seaters).

Al said...

Pw wishes she had friends period.

AS for Skin man, there is no reason you couldnt go 3 and 2 on a four seater, if the 4 are going to wait gfor one anyway may as well accompany the single with another.

Unless you really dont like them.

Svej said...

Eh, so you slipped up and tried to fix the situation by offering to go for coffee. What more can a person do? I would just wait a couple days, apologize and offer that coffee again. If it doesn't result in anything good, well such is life.

I used to have a bus-stop friend but once we got on the bus and train after that, we went our own ways. I can't handle two hours of conversation in the morning, no matter how awesome my friend may be. I pretty much just sit and think about things and watch out the window on my (former) commute. God I'm such a boring person.

C.J. Smith said...

No, you're not boring. The great thing about my quad friends is that we don't feel obligated to talk. We've slipped into a routine where if I want to read, I read ... hard to explain.

We're just comfortable the way we are. I think she understands that. Looks like she's gonna meet me for coffee.

Skin Man said...

@Al, I don't know....that could work if everyone got on at the same stop, but if you're adding people once you get to 4 its awkward.

For that matter I think it awkward trying to break the 4+1 into 2 and 3, when the original 4 are quite comfy just they way they are....who goes with who, its just a bit odd at first anyway.

Skin Man said...

don't feedest yon troll

Anonymous said...

Perhaps she is backing away somewhat in a effort to prevent any unnessary drama. Essentially she realizes there is a well established routine and group of friends. Despite her efforts to try and intergrate, realizes it will never happen and thus does not want to create a bad situation for you. I wouldn't feel bad. I believe she is being respectful of you.

Matt said...

PW...has it occurred to you that people come to visit this site *gasp* on their lunch hour which would conveniently explain why several comments appear within minutes of each other? And while I personally have a blogger ID, I cannot use it from work because of a firewall that blocks, so I kindly as CJ to post on my behalf, and stick my name on the post so people can attribute my comments, good or bad, to me, and not some “personality” as you like to call them. I’m sure there are many people who have this problem, and as such they have to find alternative means to post comments. Come to think of it, CJ did a blog on this very subject not long ago.
So you can complain if you like, but you really need to grow the fuck up. Your bitching is getting old.

C.J. Smith said...

@Anonymous at 2:53PM

I think that is exactly what she is doing and she is such the better person for it. This is why I have great respect for her.

Al said...

@ skin man, I was stricly referring to skiing,

Van said...

I had this train friend. Let's call him Brad. He was the most annoying asshole ever. He also smelled like a grove of garlic. All of a sudden, I didn't see the guy anymore. When several weeks went by I settled back into the routine I had before I met Brad - sleeping.

So one day I'm watching the news and some guy's picture comes up because he tried to kill his wife with an ax. And lo and behold, it's my train friend.

What I'm saying is, you don't really know these people. I suggest that keeping to yourself eliminates the possibility of murder which is far more worrisome and serious than whether someone will meet you for coffee.

Patty said...

That's fucked up..

I really hope that PW -shithead hasn't scared away lswgirl or DF. I love their bitchy comments. PW will eventually get bored and discover cats and knitting and be done with this stupidity

I'mn glad Squiggle sis commenting. I look forward to reading what the ganag has to say. For sure.

Bicky said...

@Patty: it would take a whole of PWs to make Squiggles leave. She never backs down from a good "discussion."

kary said...

I don't have train friends, but there is a guy I stalk after we disembark. Does that count?

Bicky said...

Grrr. I should proofread my posts more carefully. That should have read: "... take a whole lot of PWs..." - can I blame alcohol for it? ;o)

Squiggles said...

Apparently I have gained the reputation of being "opinionated"!

And Patty, I had cats (will be getting one soon after the mourning period is done) and I knit! Please do not lump the Troll in with me.

D.F. said...

Patty. Not to worry I'm still here. Been busy at work this week :). No troll will scare me away. And I just couldn't be bothered dealing with said troll in the other post. I had better things to do. Getting on at Ajax prevents train friends as often there are few seats. Which is fine with me since I like to do my own thing and am not a chatty morning person.

Patty said...

You ladies are awesome.

Bouncer said...

My opinion, and we know I'm full of them, is this: You cannot expect people to always invite you into conversations, sometimes you have to interject, and from what I noticed that was never an issue. I think it is a little juvenile to be getting upset over something like this. It is what it is. If I were you CJ I wouldn't worry about it. Maybe more people need to read a book or take a nap, at least then you are choosing not to take part, therefore, cannot feel left out.

C.J. Smith said...

Holy shit, Bouncer, you actually read the site.

lswgirl13 said...

@Patty - I make "bitchy" comments??? I'm hurt **sniff sniff** hahahaha

Anonymous said...

Well I am hearing from a lot of anti train friends people. Let me remind everyone who has yet to experience what I have, train friends are not just train friends, infact I have 5 all of which I can honestly say I can really count on and we are all there for eachother, for the good days and the bad mornings! While I think its a persons choice on whether or not to have train friends, I find it very sad for those who aren't open to it cause its one of the best parts of my workday!

As for the stitch ur in, well it can be difficult to be an outsider, perhaps with a lot of patience and understanding, she will understand, afterall, its not u must all share something in common even if its just enjoying eachothers company, friendship with the rest of ur mates will come naturally

Uncle said...

I'm with Bouncer......suck it up buttercup!!! Read a book or something.

It took CJ a good 6 months to break me, I wouldn't consider myself a "people" person to begin with. I get along with everyone we sit around for the exact reasons CJ has mentioned, we don't feel obligated to chat. This particular individual seems to not want to be part of "the group" (whatever that means) she seemed to mostly be a fan of the site and wanted to be sitting close to CJ so she could witness all the "crazy train-ness" first hand.

That's just my opinion....and like Bouncer, I have a lot of them.