I just now found out through the grapevine that I'm a prickly person. The discovery makes me smile, because under certain circumstances, I am.
When you don't see or talk or try to make any kind of personal connection with me for years on end, and then expect me to pour out all my innermost personal fears and desires and wishes... it ain't gonna happen, honey. When you've sent me, without fail, the message that I am not important to you, you will not be important to me. When you've never had time for me, do not expect me to make time for you. When the beginning of our relationship is that we're related, or we met at some function, or we worked on something together, or we were friends once, and you've never put any more time or effort into our relationship than that- it's also the end of our relationship. When I reach out to you, either through letter or phone call or face-to-face visit, and you stop me dead with the absolute coldness of your response, I will not continue to reach out to you and may not ever reach out to you again. I'm not fond of frostbite. When you pretend to know me- and believe me, you can't pretend, I don't care who you are- I will make sure you will never know me. When you always assume that I'm just like everybody else, and never make the slightest push to get to know me, you never will know me. When you spend all your time avoiding me- right up until you decide to make yourself feel warm and fuzzy by being my wonderful best buddy- I will pull a disappearing act that makes Houdini look like a fool. When, my entire life, you have never once shown any interest in me as a person, I promise that I will have no interest in you. When, after all this, I am forced to come in close contact with you for an extended period of time, I might or might not be friendly, but you don't have a prayer of suddenly becoming my friend.
For me, friendship is something built on time, effort, consistency, listening, interest, time, and effort. It never 'just happens'. If you're waiting for me to become your friend without ever lifting a finger, I promise it's not going to happen. If you're bored and think it would be wonderful to be my confidant, understand that I give out personal information on a Need to Know basis only: you don't need to know and I don't need to tell you and I'm not going to.
If you really want to be my friend, it's not that hard. Show me that you care. That I won't be out in the cold if someone more interesting turns up. That you have time for me. That I and my petty, insignificant problems are important to you. Take the time to talk to me about stupid things like the weather and what I want to take in college. Be brave enough to listen to me when I say something you don't agree with or that doesn't make sense at first.
I promise that if you do that, I will be the best friend you have ever had. I will listen to you. I will take time for you. I will worry about you. I will pray for you. I will compliment you and try to make you smile when you're sad. I will wade rapids and dive in front of flying bullets for you.
But if you don't want to go to that much trouble? I have a life outside of you. I have other friends. I have other things to do and other things to think about and other people to talk to.
And that makes me a prickly person. And you know what?
I'm totally fine with that.