Can you ever have too many friends? Or should I say, can you have ever have too many friends of the opposite sex?
Many of you will no doubt have seen my recent Facebook post/rant on this very question. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s what I wrote.
One Japanese man I know was amazed by the number of friends I have and said with genuine admiration, “Jack, you are friends with everyone!” Many people, however, have made comments that I feel are more an accusation than a positive statement. Interestingly, I must note here that it’s women who have made these comments. Their main concern is how I will be viewed by others in society, as of course, appearance is everything in Japan. Men, on the other hand, have all strongly said, “It’s no one else’s business, who cares?!”
Funnily enough, when I’ve questioned the women here (both friends and people I simply know) about whether I should change my behavior they have all strongly told me to stay the way I am! They all agree that people like me because of my honesty and many of them have said that they admire and even envy the freedom I have as a gaijin woman in Japan. For them, to break with the norms of society is unthinkable, even though many of them would like to do so. Japanese society is strictly structured and to step out alone as an individual or to overstep one’s status obligations just doesn’t happen.
In many ways I’m lucky that I am gajin and can ‘get away’ with behavior that might not be kosher were I Japanese. As a gaijin I am permitted to make faux pas and am even expected to; in other words, oh she’s a gaijin, we just expect her to be a little crazy. 😛
I believe that my ability to make friends is a positive thing and I believe, a skill that many other people would love to have. Some people find that making friends is very difficult, whereas I’ve always found the opposite. Surprisingly, I am very, very shy, but I’ve found the way to combat that is to pretend you’re full of confidence and talk to everyone. I also go out by myself a lot and I’ve found that more people will approach you because you’re alone.
A new club recently opened in town and just yesterday I realized that the four or five times I’ve been there, I’ve been the only female in the group I’m with. That doesn’t bother me, nor do I even consider what others might think about that situation, but it’s interesting that I didn’t even realize it might be an issue for other people.
After much consideration (okay, who am I kidding? I thought about it for about five seconds!) I’ve decided to just keep doing what I’m doing, enjoy myself and continue not to worry. I can’t help what others think, nor can I control it. Long live being friends with everyone and finding no problem being friends with more men than women! And no… for the billionth time, I DON’T HAVE A BOYFRIEND!