An old friend of mine had her baby shower this weekend.  At least, she ought to be an old friend, seeing as we’ve known each other for quite a long time.  But she doesn’t feel like an old friend, and it’s making me feel a bit dubious about the whole situation.

Her family started attending my synagogue (and she started attending the tiny synagogue school) when we were in middle school.  We knew each other, and got invited to each other’s birthday parties, but we were never close.  It’s a bit disconcerting to realize that you have pretty much no history with someone you’ve known all your life.

My theory is that we have not, in fact, known each other all our lives.  Neither of us were really personalities then, I don’t think.  She was just coming out of a difficult family situation, so she was still sorting herself out.  I didn’t have a similarly difficult situation to come out of, but I had quite a bit of social anxiety, I was definitely an outsider (I was too weird and too introverted for most of my classmates’ taste), and I was also sorting myself out.

As far as I can tell, she developed a personality sometime in high school.  We went to different high schools and different colleges, so while I could have gotten to know her then, I didn’t.

I didn’t develop a personality until college – and even that was more the result of discovering the internet than anything else.  (The written format of the internet means I have a voice here – or at least, it’s easier for me to have a voice on the internet than in real life.  Meeting people over the internet gave me the social confidence to have a personality in my community as well.)  I also began to piece together the beginnings of social grace in college, something I’m still not terribly good at.  (The other advantage of the internet is that Hero can coach me through tricky social situations, since he’s much better at them than I am.)

So now we’re meeting again, but really for the first time, as young mothers.  It’s an interesting process.

When did you develop a personality?

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