Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Babbling About Dinks and Clicks

You know how sometimes, when you meet someone new, you just don't like her (I'm choosing a pronoun here rather than writing "him or her" numerous times)? It has nothing to do with her, per se...she might be a perfectly nice person. There's just an indefinable something that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and if your fingernails were claws, they'd have extended already (and probably made you bleed, since your fists automatically clenched at the sound of her voice). Everything that comes out of her mouth sounds fake or condescending or grating to your ears, even if it's really not.

It's not her, it's you. And your brain absolutely knows that, but your gut continues to respond like a small, vicious, territorial mutt. (Sorry, odd visual, I know, but that's how it feels.)

My high school friend Amy and I used to have a code word we'd use to let one another know when some unsuspecting person had triggered that response. One of us would quietly say to the other "dink" and the other would immediately know what was going on. You know, "dink," like when cartoon cat gets angry, his back arches, there is a closeup of his paw, and the claws come out one by one: "dink, dink, dink, dink, DINK! MRRRROOWWRRR! FFSSSSSTTTTTT!!"

Sorry, got a little carried away there.

In any case, I'm lucky enough to have found a small group of intelligent, interesting, fun women. All of us came to Japan with a preconcieved notion that most military wives were not very smart, and tended towards gossip, backstabbing and infidelity, and all of us are thrilled to be proven wrong. We have a supper club on Friday nights, alternating between interesting Japanese restaurants and each other's houses. There are now five of us, with a sporadic sixth (my Japanese friend M), and we range in age from 22 to 41. We "found" one another sort of through my other blog...I was sort of an unofficial sponsor for B, who found me through my blog. She and I corresponded with N, who also found me through my blog. B met K, and invited both of us to dinner one night, to see if K and I got along. We did, and both B and K joined me for Thanksgiving. K and I met H on a "field trip" we took, and immediately hit it off.

Got all that? Good.

But now, we've been discussing bringing in new women. We don't want to hold "auditions" for our supper club per se, but we also don't want to bring in a new person, tell her "we meet every Friday!" and then discover that one of us has a Dink reaction to her. Would we then uninvite the new person? Expect whoever had the Dink reaction to get over it? Risk losing a core member of the group over this new person? How do we handle this?

Well, we are going to audition, in a way. We've decided NOT to talk about our group, or the fact that we meet every Friday, until someone new is invited to join the group. That way, we can each choose to bring someone new into the mix when it is our turn to host, at our house, and see how we all feel before inviting her or not. All the auditionee has to know is that I'm having a casual dinner party, and would she like to join us that night? Of course, the auditionee might not choose to be with us, and she might have her own Dink reaction to one of us!

Sounds good, with no hurt feelings, right? Sure, if we can all stick to that. However, there is the opposite response to the Dink. There is the Click. You meet a new person, and right away, it's as if your souls knew one another long ago. You laugh and talk, and feel immediately comfortable with each other. It's like finding a best friend from fourth grade, who you forgot about until just now. And you're somehow convinced everyone else you know is going to like this person as much as you do. I think our group of five had small Clicks with one another from the very beginning.

K and I have recently had big Clicks. (I promise, no more alphabet pseudonyms!) We have each met someone with whom we were immediately comfortable, and the new rule for auditions went right out the proverbial window. We both told our new friends right away about the supper club, convinced the rest of the group would feel as we do.

So, our next gathering is going to be interesting. I have found so much joy in this small group of women, and I don't want to lose it. But I also have joy in Clicking with my new friend, and don't want to hurt her feelings "uninviting her," or losing one of my other friends due to her presence. Here's to hoping we can leave junior high behind, and, as adults, enjoy one another's company.

And that our fingernails and neck hairs stay put.