Thanks to social media, I found myself contemplating whether or not I’m a bad/good friend. Seeing photos of close friends, having drinks, professing their friendship, I felt lonely and jealous.
Since I moved to Minnesota from Pennsylvania, I’ve learned that I’m not the kind of friend who consistently calls, remembers to send a birthday card on time, or reliably reaches out for conversation. I suck at long distance relationships. Between work and life, I don’t find much extra time to reach out to people and more troubling is that I don’t think to. I just got home, so that means its time for dinner and Netflix, maybe manage a shower if I’m feeling motivated.
It’s not because I don’t care, it’s because there’s no point of connectivity — I think. So it got me questioning, what are the factors (for me, personally) to have a strong friendship? What are the friendships that seem to work without fail?
Out of sight, out of mind. I remember in school, I would become close friends with someone because I had most of my classes with them and inevitably the following year it would end up being someone else. It’s the same thing. Do I see you every day? Then you’re probably one of my closest friends. Right now one of my best friends is my co-worker. We couldn’t be more different but we have a shared experience together (and a similar sense of humor) and that goes far.
I live with my best friend. I’m really lucky because I have a partner who is also my best friend. Granted, there are things I can’t talk to Bill about, like my period is a downright lava flow this month, but for the most part, I talk to him about everything. It’s like … when you’re not hungry but you’re still craving for chocolate. I’m full but I’m not satisfied because let’s be real, female friendships are so important. They bring me something that Bill will never be able to, but I DO live with my best friend. I always have some form of support.
Our interests have changed. I don’t drink/party as much as I used to and it’s been difficult to maintain friendships when friends consider hanging out, drinking to get drunk. Also Bill and I don’t have many friends who are in relationships. Single people rarely want to hang out with couples, I’m assuming it’s because we hamper on their game. We don’t go out with the same strong willed attempt to find someone. We’re happy staying at a bar without many single prospects.
Can you tell we’re in desperate need of fun coupled up friends? Otherwise, our friends are married, live in the suburbs, and hardly ever want to go out. We still like to go out — we just don’t like to party like we used to. We’re somewhere weirdly in the middle.
What about the friendships that work? The friendships that last despite distance and long periods of time surprise me. Generally these friendships don’t require maintenance, but rather time passes, and we’re able to pick up where we left off. I see a friend once a year and despite changes in our lives, we always have a great time and conversation comes easily. My other friend, we stay so connected because we both work in a corporate setting and live very similar lives, albeit halfway across the country from one another — maybe that’s because of our shared experience? I have a few other friends who I’m able to sustain a friendship with despite constant connectivity, but they’re rare.
Sidebar: making friends as an adult is a straight up nightmare: This could be an entire post itself. It’s a scary reality when you don’t have settings like college and parties to generate friendship leads, and you’re in an entirely new area starting from scratch. Trying to befriend people is incredibly awkward and vulnerable, even for extroverts. Not to mention Minneapolis is a notoriously difficult city to make new friends in. Generally speaking, Minnesota natives have the friends that they want/need and aren’t interested in making new ones. Or at least that’s how they make me feel.
This was a long rant trying to come to some semblance of a conclusion, but I don’t have one. There are so many things that make and break friendships, and each friendship is different, but I do realize that I can try more. Reach out more often. I need to stretch myself with the friends that I have and try to make new ones, too, even if it’s awkward, even if I’m rejected. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize I could have done more, but I didn’t.