ME: Yo. Do I REALLY need more friends?
ALSO ME: Yes.
ALSO ME: Yes!
ME: But, like...it's so much work. I'd have to put on pants...and have conversations...and do something with my hair. Have you SEEN how much hair I have?
ALSO ME: Don't care. You need friends. You're like a sad, wilting house plant without them.
ME: But, I mean, I already have at least seven people I would consider close-if-not-best friends. That seems like enough, right?
ALSO ME: Best friends who you're afraid to call?
ME: Um, first of all, it's whom? And I'm not afraid to call them. It's all the talking once they pick up that scares me.
ALSO ME: You know, that "whom" thing might be why you don't have more friends. Now go talk to people. And quit correcting their grammar, ya goober.
ME: Okay, but what if they don't like me?
ALSO ME: Oh, you delicate flower. I think you'll survive, somehow.
ME: What if they just put up with me because they like spending time with Bill? He's a delight! Whereas I just sit there quietly observing people like a spooky cat. And sometimes my face makes weird expressions that I don't mean for it to have! How can I navigate new social situations if I don't even know what my face is doing?!
ALSO ME: Your face is fine. Well...it's good enough. I mean, it's not awful. That is, I'm sure there are worse faces. And other people are weird and awkward, too. Quit worrying.
ME: Quit worrying? Hi, yeah, have you met me?
ALSO ME: Your excuses are pitifully flimsy. Go talk to other humans. HUMANS. If you come home saying you made ten new friends and it turns out they're all neighborhood dogs again...
ME: That was ONE TIME.
ALSO ME: Once is too many times.
ME: Okay. All right. Look. Here's the thing. It takes 50 hours to go from acquaintance to friend. That means if I see someone an hour a week (which, let's be honest, is pretty generous), that's an entire year before the scientific community would consider them a friend. Then another 40 hours on top of that to become a close friend. AND 200 HOURS TOTAL FOR BEST FRIENDSHIP.
ALSO ME: Better get started, then.
ME: I dunno. It still seems risky.
ALSO ME: How? From where I'm sitting, you only have something to gain.
ME: Well, switch seats with me, then, because it is scary. Sure, it'd be great to have local friends. I know some people, and I'd almost consider them friends, but something in me, deep in some dark, oddly muggy pit in my gut, keeps whispering that they don't actually want to be my friend. That I don't have anything to offer. That I shouldn't impose on them. That I'm not wanted and never will be.
ALSO ME: Oh, yeah. The gut pit voice. What a jerk. But you don't really believe that, do you?
ALSO ME: Oh, come on!
ME: Gut Pit Voice is very convincing! You don't know.
ALSO ME: Look, I hate to be blunt--
ME: You love to be blunt!
ALSO ME: --but you're not special. You don't get to be the one person in the universe who is exempt from the horrors of vulnerability. If you heard someone else saying all the things you're saying, what would you tell them?
ME: That they are very wise.
ALSO ME: ...I kinda walked into that one.
ME: I don't have enough interests yet. How will I connect with people? First I have to learn everything about music, books, obscure cinema, art, philosophy, sports, international cuisine, world events, and falconry.
ALSO ME: Why falconr--you know what? I don't want to know. These are terrible excuses!
ME: Okay, well, how about the fact that there are no karaoke bars in the entire county? How am I supposed to spark a friendship if not over a moving rendition of "Tubthumping"? It is impossible. Plus, I need new clothes. All my shoes are literally falling apart and I still wear shirts I bought in eighth grade. And I need a haircut. Maybe if I get bangs, people will like me.
ALSO ME: Your clothes are fine, you should definitely NOT get bangs, and maybe you could buy your own karaoke machine. You've always wanted one. And you already have a smoke machine.
ME: That's true.... Ooh, and I could make the attic into a ball pit! And maybe we could get a slip 'n' slide!
ALSO ME: Yes! Do it!
ME: AND A FALCON!
ALSO ME: Y--what? Hold up--
ME: Wait, but then how would I know whether people actually liked me or if they just wanted to slip and/or slide?
ALSO ME: Oh, good lord.
ME: Better not risk it.
ALSO ME: ...I...just...okay. You win. You can make dog friends. For now.
ME: Ha-HA! SUCCESS!
ALSO ME: ...Why are you like this.