Sunday, August 3, 2014

This Friend's Taken, Move Along

Heading into new friendship territory. Anyone else feel like the mid-30s are a repeat of adolescence? The ease of the early 20s are long behind me and people have settled, more or less, into distinct groupings (which we used to call cliques).

I'm new to town. Hi.

In the beginning of adulthood, every person was a new adventure. And every new adventure showed me something thrilling about the world. I grew into a thousand different versions of myself and explored the type of person I wanted to become.
15 years ago.  

At 35, in New York City, I'm finally settling down. But...with whom?

I was recently talking over the problem of finding friendships in my 30s with a potential new friend from LA. We met in Union Square at one of those artsy coffee joints that has the wood interior of 1980s skate park. She's very similar to me: good-natured, respectable and hard-working.

She is just like a Nashville friend. Like Betsega or Jen M. But I already have a Betsega. I already have Jen M. I asked her about that. About feeling like all of my 'best friend' spots are full. Let's be real, my friendship real estate is like a vacation property; the owners visit irregularly. But it hasn't bothered me that the spots aren't getting used.

Why hasn't it bothered me?
Probably because I'm so busy.
Maybe because it's less demanding of me.
Could be more convenient.

Alex Williams expressed the same thing in his popular New York Times article on the challenges of making friends in adulthood:
As people approach midlife, the days of youthful exploration, when life felt like one big blind date, are fading. Schedules compress, priorities change and people often become pickier in what they want in their friends.
No matter how many friends you make, a sense of fatalism can creep in: the period for making B.F.F.’s, the way you did in your teens or early 20s, is pretty much over. It’s time to resign yourself to situational friends: K.O.F.’s (kind of friends) — for now.
What if I have more best friends out there, waiting for me to stop hanging on the edge of the pool?

Williams added that the three things sociologists say are necessary to making friends:

  1. Proximity;
  2. Repeated, unplanned interactions; and 
  3. A setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other
New York definitely can nurture these things, if I let it. I met my best NYC friend at a diner across the street from my house, and we see each other all the time. Church is another place that would facilitate this, of course.

I guess I've got some friending to do.

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