Friends and Acquaintances

NPR had a discussion this morning on their “1A” program about friends during the pandemic. This is not a regurgitation of those thoughts, but others by which I’ve lived over the past years. I hope, if you are missing friends or loved ones, you’ll find it comforting or helpful.

We overuse the word “friend.” I have friends at my day job, or at least I call them friends. They aren’t on the same level as the friends with whom I’ve forged a long-term relationship. They aren’t the persons I can call anytime of the day or night. So in actuality, they are more “acquaintances.”

Still, those acquaintances will drag my sorry white ass off a burning aircraft. I’ll do the same for them. Our shared experience—or realization we have chosen a career that is far more dangerous than the public believes—creates a very strong bond.

There’s a term, “jump seat therapy,” well-known among flight attendants. While strapped in and not reviewing evacuation procedures, we chat about a lot of things. Some of those things would shock our partners, as our fellow crewmembers may know facts about them, they’d rather we had remained silent about.

But like our hairdresser, massage therapist, or bartender, we often disclose our deepest secrets and issues with them instead of our spouse, minister, priest, doctor, or therapist.

Odd that.

Yet we do.

If you have missed acquaintances because you’re furloughed or unable to work in person, consider the joy these casual friendships provide. Perhaps there’s someone in your life you’re thinking of. A text, phone call, or email could easily brighten their day.

And yours!

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