Sometimes the people you get stuck with stick

Most of my students are afraid of TD. She's our administrative assistant out at the front desk, and she's formidable. She seems aloof and unapproachable. They're scared to schedule an appointment or ask her a question. When they come to see me they try to sneak by her. I'm sympathetic - I used to be scared of her too.

But you never quite know who's going to end up being a friend, do you? If you'd told me two years ago that TD and I would end up being pretty close, I'd never have believed it. And yet, despite our many differences, we relate somehow. I tell her what's going on in my life, and value her opinions and insights. We chat all day on IM and laugh at the same types of things. We dissect one another's relationships and talk about clothes and shoes. We're like good girlfriends except that we do all of this at work instead of over Cosmos. And she's become one of my comfort people.

My comfort people are my familiar people. I'm all about familiarity - I've moved a lot but I only feel happy once I've gotten settled in someplace. So my comfort people are the faces that are reassuringly consistent in my life. They aren't all friends - my barista is a comfort person. My dermatologist is a comfort person, as is my boss. So their roles in my life vary, but the effects are similar. My comfort people keep me calm and stabilized.

I never would have guessed TD for a comfort person or a friend. I wouldn't have chosen her, because we're not really alike. And as I mentioned before, because she comes across as kinda scary. But luckily I got stuck with her. She's like a sleeper hit, or like Viagra when they first prescribed it for high blood pressure and then, much to everyone's excitement (literally), it had other pleasant side effects. TD was a surprise find, but she's definitely a positive addition.