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April 24, 2017

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Adult friendship is VERY hard for me. I blame Facebook, of course. But I also feel I'm becoming more shy, less confident, as I get older. Meanwhile, I see other moms in my circle who seem to be Besties. How did they get that way? Why does Susanne text Angela frequently, and Terri and Julie have lunch once a week, but I am still wishing to find close, "daily" friends? My son's been in school now for 8 years - it's not like I don't KNOW these people. And I feel like I try to reach out, schedule lunch dates, invite the women to my home... but no one reaches out TO ME.

Sorry, didn't mean to whine, but this is on my heart a lot lately, the prayer/wish for a good friend. So no, you're not alone.

I think adult friendship is very difficult and complex (well, maybe that just goes for friendship in general). First is the issue of how you might define friendship, which is kind of an ephemeral concept. What is a friend vs. an acquaintance? What makes someone a friend? I think shared experiences create an emotional bond, but there's got to be something more than that.

Next is the concept of "friendship efficiency", which is the term I've heard used when we want to tell our friends something and use social media for it because it's the most efficient vehicle for saying whatever it is we want to say. Although it's true that it touches many people we may consider "friends", it doesn't really further the development of the emotional or personal bond I referenced above. Don't get me started on this, but I actually think social media has done a lot to damage our abilities to form friendships because it results in a lot less personal interaction.

I could talk about this forever, but the last thing I'll bring up is the concept of American individuality creating barriers in friendship. If we are always intensely individualistic and "unique", then it seems like we set ourselves apart from others because they cannot possibly understand us in the deep way we crave. Or maybe that's just me.

I recently read this article in the Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/opinion/sunday/do-your-friends-actually-like-you.html?_r=0

It is kind of depressing, but interesting also (and it is where I got the idea of friendship efficiency).

I only want a few good friends.

These bullet points resonate. Navigating friendship has been an issue here lately also with our young teens. I find it hard to advise the child with a broken heart from being left out, mostly because I want to give advice about being a good friend that ends up sounding critical - and hypocritical because I myself had only a couple good friends in school, and was not very nice as a teenager. After being humbled by life and desperate for friendship, I've made more real friends in adult life, but often they end up more "spiritual friendships" because we live far away/don't have time to get together/talk. A quandary

Let me comment before commenting closes! (I must have been in a hurry when I read this post)

My younger son (7th grader) has a bit of trouble with friendships. He only has two good friends and one of them is going through puberty ahead of him, so they're out of sync and having some troubles.

I haven't had trouble making friends and I recently (in the past 3-4 years) I met some new people that I really click with and love to talk to. I'd love to talk more about this, but I need to get some things done before the last day of school tomorrow and an upcoming big trip to California as a chaperone!

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