Are You a Keeper?

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?

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Filed under The Search

3 responses to “Are You a Keeper?

  1. i am totally a connector. my friends call me “the glue.” i’ve connected so many friends in so many ways. thanks to facebook, i can do it even more!

  2. This was one of the things my husband and I had in common when we met. We found out that in high school, we’d both been the one in our group of friends who was always organizing group events. Now that we’ve all graduated college, some of my friends have gotten better about organizing events for everyone when they’ll back in town for the holidays, but Mike is still really the only one among his childhood friends who organizes periodic “reunions.”

  3. Liza

    I actually wrote an email to Gretchen about this topic because she nailed it when she said that planning isnt very hard to do- until you’re the one doing it! hahah, i am definitely the connector and the keeper; the One who does all the rallying, the injecting of enthusiasm, the one who is comfortable with the rest of the girls no matter the groupings of that outing and the one who coordinates the birthday/wedding/baby shower presents. Thru years of practice and a whole lotta Just Do It attitude, I think i am excellent in this dept! I sure have to say that you won’t master it overnight, but you will only keep getting better at it. I even have a motto for it- the thrill is in the chase (chase of the friends, the presents, the activities), the fun is in the planning!

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