Gretchen Rubin wrote a recent post—or an assay, as she labels them—in which she quotes the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas on the death of French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (embarrassing fact: I have heard of neither of these people). Here’s a nugget of the quote: “Guillaume would have been a bond of union, he always had a quality of keeping people together, and now that he was gone everybody ceased to be friends.”
Upon reading this quote, my thoughts went immediately to my father. I always thought he had that quality with his family. Specifically his siblings. My dad was the glue of the four siblings, I thought, and I remember being worried when he died that the rest of them would lose touch, or that the whole family would cease celebrating holidays or spending time together. (Thankfully, I was wrong.)
I think a lot about Connectors–the people who bring others together. I’ve tried to do my own bit of “connecting” since meeting so many new friends. But keeping people together seems to be a different quality. And, I’d say, a more difficult one. Introducing people is a one-time thing, being the person who keeps the group together is an ongoing job.
It’s also more rare. In thinking about my groups of friends, it’s definitely harder to ID the “keeper” than the “connector.” The keepers that immediately jump out at me are the friends who love activities–they’re real “doers”–but are also nurturers. Keeping the family together, so to speak, is important to them.
Before I started my year of friending, I didn’t give so much thought to the different roles friends play. Keepers, connectors, social chairs, confidantes… Who knew!
Do you have a “keeper” in your group of friends? What role do you play among your BFFs?