One of my friends, a former co-worker, shared a link to a NYTimes about the difficulty of making meaningful friendships once over thirty. The article deeply resonated with me, even though I am in the latter years of my roaring twenties, a time when making friends should be easy.
Becoming friends with the opposite sex and/or the same sex is often complicated by the threat of sex, desire, and unrequited feelings. Undoubtedly, those wants can strain any possible mutual friendship. Additionally, when I talk about friendship, I am not referring to the “hey-we-just-met-let’s-become-Facebook-friends-and-follow-each-other-on-Twitter-or-Instagram” kind of relationship. In this social media world, the word “friends” has been thrown around with no caution, resulting in thousands of friends, who are really acquaintances or random people in your freshman year lecture styled biology class. Instead, I am talking about a friendship in which there is genuine concern for, trust of, etc.
I am having a difficult time writing this piece; I have started and restarted numerous times. Truthfully, I feel restless, needing something new and exciting to avoid dreadful monotony. Thus, I am re-examining my close friendships, which currently feels stale, and have found that I have not been successful in this category. For example, all of my closest male friends throughout my life are now absent, except for two, and each of those relationships are strained in some way. Time and distance is often the culprit, but breached loyalty has also been an issue. Honestly, those failed relationships reflect on me because I am the only constant in all of them.
In college, I missed out on creating and nurturing possible life-long friendships because I was too engrossed in my first serious relationship with my then-girlfriend. I rarely spent the necessary time or shared random experiences, the building blocks of relationships, with others. One of my favorite memories of college was the first couple weeks, staying up in the hallway or someone’s room just talking, getting to know each other. Unfortunately for me, those moments were rare once my focus shifted solely to my then-girlfriend (note: I lost myself). Those moments, however, didn’t stop for others. Hence, the reason I often feel like an a “near” outsider with my college friends. Once my then-girlfriend and I broke up, I was left without any close friends and college was over. Yes, I knew hella people and vice versa, but I did not have that meaningful connection with anyone in particular (sidenote: I left college with some wonderful friends, but no one who I would randomly call and talk to about nothing; no best friend). After college, most friendship circles close and solidify; thus, becoming close friends with my college friends after graduation was nearly impossible and futile, further facilitated by the fact that I moved half way across the country from most of them. Additionally, after-college, life happened; careers started, people married, babies were born. Therefore, responsibilities and expectations changed, often forgetting or forgoing “new” friendships.
I feel like I have not been a good friend to those around me (a la college); I feel like I missed out on numerous opportunities to be close friends with others; most importantly, I feel that I need to own my missteps in my relationships.
In Sir Robinson’s book entitled, The Element, Sir Robinson discusses this idea of finding similarly passionate people and the effect it could have on one’s life. While reading that section a few years ago, I remember desperately wanting to find that pack. I must not have been desperate enough because I still have not found them; I have not done the necessary work to find, build, and cultivate those relationships.
Maybe I’m ready now.