FriendshipsDecca -- Monday, August 12, 2002 -- 04:40:57 PM
A general topic to discuss making and keeping friends.This thread is tagged:
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I'll just toss out some issues I'm interested in exploring:
Is there a certain window of time in which you make most of your best, long term friendships?
I'm just now realizing how easy it is to make friends in college and how difficult it is to make friends as an adult. How do you go about making adult friends?
What are some of the social skills do you wish you'd known as a child or young adult that you know now?
I find making adult friends much like dating.
We met our closest local friends here through our synagogue. The membership coordinator got us together with them and with another couple. We liked them, and not the other couple. I called them to get together, talked with the husband (whom I later learned is quite absent-minded), he said he'd check with wife and call back, never did. I figured they didn't like us as much as we liked them.
It took another 4 months or so to finally hook up, right after our daughter was born and they volunteered to bring us a meal. We've been tight ever since.
It's not easy.
I also find that the most important thing about adult friendships (as opposed to college ones) is flexibility and a willingness to accept what your friend can offer, based on their life circumstances. I lost a "best" friend (who's single) from college that way, as she didn't understand that now that I'm married with a kid, I can't just up and fly to visit her when she has the slightest need.
I made the best friends of my life in grad school and am still grieving the diaspora. Most of them have jobs in the Midwest, and I see them only every few years.
Most of my closest friends are male. I think I generally make them at work, and if we have enough time while I'm at the gig to cross over into personal stuff of some sort, then we generally maintain the relationship after I leave. It is happening less and less in recent years.
I don't have many friends; I lost two in a six month period--Mick went back to Ireland, Mike went to Boston. Mick visits yearly and we always get together; Mike calls two or three times a month. But it's not the same, and I've really never recovered.
I had three friends from high school for a long, long time--and then walked away from two of them without a backwards glance when they did something that upset me. In those cases, it was appropriate, but the behavior of walking away when they do something I found unacceptable in some way was a problem for me that I've struggled with in recent years to get over.
There are so many people who I would love to see more than once every five or six years. I want a transporter.
Do you walk away from people because they do something immoral in the wide world or because of something they do vis a vis the friendship? Or both?
Do you all find you need to have a lot of respect for your friends, or are they just people you enjoy spending time with?
I walked away from the friend I mentioned because she made it eminently clear that she would no longer engage with me. There's only so long I'm willing to beat my head against the wall.
For me, it's always something friendship related, and usually about some sort of reciprocity (or lack thereof).
That one. I do have a lot of problems with friends who do things that I find immoral or unethical; depending on what it was, I could see ending the friendship.
As for your question: neither. My process of making friends is odd. It's an emotional spark, closer to how other people describe relationships. I am inordinately fond of people who I don't particularly respect, and will spend more than a few cycles mulling this.
I have always thought the key to the emotional spark for relationships for many people is that they like how being with the other makes them feel about themselves. Someone who somehow makes you like yourself more for whatever reason is someone who lights the spark.
I have a hard time being friends with people I don't respect, and have no desire to be friends with people whose company I don't enjoy. So I don't have too many friends.
This. I have several friends I consider really hardcore (as in, would step up if they had a crisis, would rely on them for a favor, would invite myself to stay at their house and expect them to do the same), but almost all of them live in other cities, regions, and/or countries. One is local, another just moved home from Europe and is a substantial but feasible commute away, everyone else is on the see them every one to five years plan.
I actually have trouble keeping up with more than a few local friends properly -- really how do you see more than, say 4 people, tops, more than once every six weeks each and still get anything else done plus see your romantic partner a couple of times a week plus work late a few times plus maybe get an evening alone occasionally? Introvert R us.
The BF, who is extroverted, knows reams and reams of people both locally and elsewhere, but OTOH very few of them seem to be close-close by my standards. Different modes, I think.
Introversion is a real problem. The amount of time we need alone puts us at a disadvantage to extraverts- I find they tend to have friendship schedules which involve lots more face time, and the introvert often ends up out of the running because we can't put that time in.
The Internet has helped me hugely- it helped me renew several of my oldest childhood friendships, because it's easier than writing a letter and cheaper than a long distance call. And I've made online friends with whom I have in common the desire to catch up frequently without the face time problem. IMing doesn't invade my space the way gossiping on the stoop does, so I can fit far more of it into a week.
I am a huge introvert and have recently realized through the Miracle of Therapy that I let my now ex take over all social interactions, so I never had to put myself forward.
Now that I'm single again, I'm wondering how to
1. Navigate friendships without being the Poor Singleton the Smug Marrieds invite to dinner every once and awhile
2. Make f2f friends outside of graduate school. I know you all are going to say "join a club!" but that makes the I in me quake.
I wouldn't say "Join a club". Certainly not with an exclamation point.
I think the idea is to accept the fact that most of the time you'd rather have someone around, you won't. On the up side, the millions of times you can't stand to be around people, you'll be in good shape.
Why do you think it is necessary to make friends outside gradschool?
I'm basically the big introvert, and kind of a freak too. I have a hard time making friends, and it takes me a long time. I have one best friend - she's dead. She was my first best friend, and we were best friends since 4, so she just has the permanent best friend title.
My other friends from Sweden i have lost contact with. And, I have two ex-friends (female) who I had to break up with when they started getting on my nerves to a point I could not be around them. (Couldn't put my finger on it. I think they were just overly dramatic and needy, and we fit at one point, and then things changed). And, my best male friend i got involved with - this is long ago, but it hurt badly at the time, when we ended the relationship.
Mostly what I did was to ensure I had room-mates, or I would have always been alone. I just don't do the going out and meeting people thing.
I don't really have anything but pals these days. Because it is easy for me to have people get on my nerves if they are too needy or getting too involved.
But, I'm hopelessy addicted to discussion forums, because I'm not an entire hermit, and I like to at least chat with people. And, there are situations where I do better if I have one person to banter with about stuff.
But, I really have stopped even sweating the idea that I ought to go out and make Real Friends that don't share my interests. It's not going to happen. Not in any intense closeness.
For example, there's one woman I met thru TT that is up in Indy. Yesterday I went up and hung out with her. It's a year since last time. I quite like her, but neither one of us kind of can make the time and effort for the 1 hour drive.
I met Jamie R last december, and I'm quite fond of him. But, we both know who we are, and, if sometime in the future we are in the same place we might meet, and I'd like to do so, but, well, we are who we are.
IT can be a good thing to have someone that is more social than you are to hang out with/be involved with. But... Well...
I am really introverted, and what I find is that amount of engagement, of just sheer human contact, that my job requires, seems to be such a huge energy suck that I wind up without a whole lot of energy to bustle around befriending folks.
I come out right in the middle on introversion tests -- a marker, I guess, for the fact that I dread social occasions, but then usually have a good time when I get there and don't want to leave.
I'm shy and uncomfortable interacting with big groups or people I don't know well, but I do really need human contact and intimacy. I have a handful of great, close friends and a slightly wider circle of acquaintances whom I really like but don't see/contact that often. Almost all of my friendships have come from jobs, mostly in my late 20s.
It's very hard for me to get from "I enjoy talking to you" to a genuine close friendship. I somehow missed learning how you make that transition from acquaintance to friend.
Because my friends in the program and I are all at that same stressed out place. We run the risk of getting hysterical, and I would like to do things with different people and try to create some kind of life for myself outside of school.
I find it incredibly difficult not only to make friends but to sustain friendships.
I met my best friend when we were 12. We went through most of school together, but my parents divorced my freshman year of HS and I went to live with my Dad. I had to change schools but we were able to sustain our friendship. She was my maid of honor. We're now turning 30. We're starting to lose touch and it's breaking my heart.
Not only has life interfered but it's taking us in some different directions. She's married with 3 kids under the age of 6. So she's really busy! I am divorced and my son is 6. I work full time, she waitresses for pocket $. We have been there in each other's lives going on 18 years. We've had ups and downs. But as our kids get older and our lives our so busy, it's not easy to find time to just chill out and reconnect.
Add to the mix that she is having a hard time dealing with my current relationship. She doesn't approve, which I can respect. However, I truly needed her this past November and she was not there for me.
While it hurts me, I am coming to grips (some days better than others) with the fact that we are just not as close as what I'd like to be anymore.
Sad, but true. I can't think of anything she could do (well, short of murder) that would make me turn away from her. But she has her own feelings and I am adult enough to respect them.
That was a heavy example.
My other examples: a girlfriend I met 10 years ago when she replaced me when I got promoted. Before I had my son I was a little more footloose and fancy free :-) We fit into each others social lives pretty well. Now, not so well! We talk about every 3 or 4 weeks. I truly think, though, that in a pinch, she'd come bail me out of jail or rescue me when I had a flat tire at 2 a.m.
Another girlfriend I met at work, as well, about 2 years ago. We are great friends at work. And evn talk outside of work. But only when her husband isn't around. He hates her spending time on the phone and sulks whenever she wants to go out and shop or have dinner with me. To her, it just isn't worth the argument at home. So in 2 years, we've only been out 3 times. Twice for my birthday and once during a traumatic emotional episode for me -- where she just wanted to be there for me so I wouldn't lose my mind.
Friendships seem to take so much balancing -- between juggling work and family responsibilities, I'm just too tired.
I must be getting old!
This is me. I couldn't care less if my friends have things in common with me (like what? I'm never even sure what that means).
An awful lot of my friends here were my husband's friends for a while. I met him not long after moving back here, and he's lived here his whole life, so he had lots of friends. We don't see most of them much now. One moved a while back, but she had flipped out in her personal life, causing me to lose every bit of respect I ever had for her. So much for that. Hub actually contacted her a while back. I'm glad she's moved, because he's far more forgiving than I am (he's such an optimist) and it could be awkward if she still lived here.
I've made a few friends at work. I'd say three, in seven years there. Heh. And all of those in the last 3-4, actually. So my rate is improving. But I'm so annoyed by my job lately, I probably exude crappy personality vibes really strongly.