The topic of friendship has been on my mind for several weeks now.
The art of making friends and keeping friends gets increasingly difficult as I get older. I consider myself discerning (over discerning, at that) towards the friends I keep and I find myself with fewer and fewer true friends of whose company I truly and wholly enjoy.
Of course, I am aware that I am solely responsible for my destiny.
I see a few problems with trying to make new friends, in this day, age and time.
- Breaking into a new group
Usually, the person you’re interested in being friends with already has an existing group of friends – this means you will have finagle some alone time or be the newbie in this new group. There’s no guarantee that the entire group will be friendly to you, but you have to stomach it if this person is worth it. It’s also a good way to gauge if your new friend is genuine about being your friend.
I have found that the first few times you hang out or get to know this new friend is hardly enough to determine if you guys can be BFFs. It’s only through the slightly deeper discussions about the usual topics like boys and jobs do you realise how alike your values are. The last thing I want to feel is judged for my choices or even worse, judge someone else for theirs. I also wouldn’t want to feel like the slut of the group or conversely, the prude.
I have always found it difficult to find friends that cover the gamut of things I enjoy, especially female friends. It’s pretty hard to find a girlfriend that loves dancing for 6 hours straight to RnB, wouldn’t mind getting drunk at 11am on beach vacations and would go for a Kool & The Gang as well as a Nine Inch Nails concert. I have come to realise that this is impossible to find in just the one girlfriend. (That’s why people have significant others – so they’re forced to do all these things with you…)
- Fear of rejection
Trying to find a new friend is definitely like trying to date someone. You have to be slightly shameless in asking them out or trying to integrate yourself in their group. You also to be mildly persistent and be prepared that you may not be accepted or invited to join this friendship. Unfortunately, I completely have no balls to face the fear of rejection and often find myself giving up after 1 or 2 attempts.
This is the hard part. I’ve failed to keep any of my good friends from high school with me and even now, I still think it’s impossible because I find the differences too vast – in terms of values (since I have none) and part of me knows that I am unwilling to try.
I made my best friends when I was 25 years old, and we met when we were flying. I truly believe that we had a bunch of good times, as much as any bunch of girls could. But our paths have slowly deviated from each other, and what appeared to be parallel has now taken turns from the same route. One of them is married and about to have her second child. Beyond the truly happy feelings I have for her blessed family, it also signifies a deep change in our relationship. Gone will be the days of drunken partying and after-hour suppers and instead, will continue our starting tradition of dinner at 6 in the evenings and quarter year partying. Her life as a family woman is strong and commitments solidified – and I would have to fit myself into her lifestyle and I don’t really see it going any other way. I am in no way resentful of this, I celebrate her happiness but I miss her. How selfish is that. 🙂
And then there’s my other best friend. She is recently married and obviously, space is needed to establish a new routine and life to support the move. I have to come to realise a dependency on her presence in my life (and yes, this is where it gets a little sad in my life’s representation) – she’s the sole person I rely on to get my party groove on and I am finding this both unreliable (she has a life, duh) and unfair for me to put this all on one person (and also, not very wise).
So… what now? Is making new friends past thirty impossible? Should I resign myself to knitting in bed on a Friday night while watching a rerun of Law and Order*? And no, a man is not the same thing as a best friend, not even close. I have decided to try and be a little ballsy and get me a few friends to hang and just have good times with. Good luck to me!