My wife and i had a discussion about our friends, or lack of and how this evolved over time and what we expect from friendship.
When you are a young kid, making friends is somehow easy (although not for every kid), you just walk up and ask if they want to play, and most of the time you’ve got a playfriend. At a young age your friend-circle is based on neighbourhood, school and sports, and somehow kids attract eachother in this context and thus make up their friends circle. And you just take if for granted.
Once you get older and move to high-school and beyond, different sport, different ‘something’, you meet new people and make new friends. You most likely will loose your earlier friends, not on purpose but it just happens. You also might meet someone who becomes a real friend for life.
At some point in your life your social circle is rather fixed and comfortable and with all that todays’ world asks of you (or you think it does) you’re not usually open to extending your ‘close friend’ social circle. Maybe now and then introduce a new ‘mate’ but not a real friend.
Then you get kids and/or get married, proper jobs, sports, etc.. and then life gets even more hectic making it harder to make new friends. Because it sometimes feels that most people in the same situation are not really open to making new friends because they are too busy and already have a certain circle of friends.
We are in the situation where our friends-circle is rather small, not because of choice or lack of trying. One close friend, for some reason, simply broke off all contact and i haven’t seen of spoken to him in 3 years. Another friend moved to another town an hours drive away. In the beginning we tried to meet and our relation was rather good. But the thing was that the initation of a meeting was one-sided, i was always the one setting it up. So i thought i’d wait for them to go first…..in never came and another friendship gone.
I recently came across and old friend and when we met it was good to meet with deep discussions. We went to movies, came over to eat, etc… but again, i was the one initiation the meeting. So i’m waiting for him to go first.
My wife has the same issue, she used to have good friends from sport and work but at some point they got into relationships, moved to other work, etc..and she was the one initiation the contact and trying to meetup. But when she waited for others to call her…..well, she feels lonely sometimes. Luckily she has met a real good friend with which she has great contact. But it’s franky only 1 real friend.
Now she can call a bunch of people for a meet and they would happily go for dinner or something. But she is the one who has to call, she almost never gets called. Which makes her wonder if there is something wrong with her. Of course nothings wrong with her but why don’t these people just call or whatsapp to ask how things are? Laziness? Do they expect to get called? Too busy?
Then we started to look around a bit in our street and it appears that more people have this situation. 1 neighbour seems to only have 1 couple as real friends, another mostly goes to mom/dad or 2 friends somewhere else. Other neighbours don’t seem to get any visits at all from friends.
In todays social media context it seems that everyone has a bunch of friends, and when you don’t you get an uncomfortable feelinf, but that’s a mirage if you look closely. Now there are certainly people who seem to have a large group of friends which is good for them. But i would guess that most people do not have a very large group of friends. I would also guess that a lot of people, especially my age-group and with kids needing less care, would like to extend their social circle with some proper friends with which you can talk about more than the latest movie. But other people have to be open for it.
I hope that my wife finds a new friend with which she can meet and do things with. I guess it also depends on your expectation of friendship and what you value. We both value a but of reciprocity, genuin mutual interest in eachothers life and well-being. Certainly not someone who knocks down the door every other day, but someone with whom you can regularly meet, do fun things with but also have a good in-depth conversation with.
Myself, i’ve got a nice small set of friends and they also call me (sometimes) and even with a small set i also am quite busy with work, kids, sports, family. So i can image that other people are too, which would explain the difficulty of making new friends. And maybe i also give off a vibe which makes other people hesitate to even attempt to start a friendship. More over i like a piece of quit as a part-time introvert. So i will make an attempt to be more open to these kinds of relationships. There’s no shame in asking someone to grab a coffee, and don’t confuse this with asking someone on a date.
I’m curious how you experience friendship and what you value. And always open for advice….