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13 August, 2008


Isn't friendship a difficult thing to manage? After playing "The Sims" video game I often wish that I had a way of finding out how close I was to someone and how close they were to me, simply by reading a bar with a number on it. It would be really easy to tell when someone didn't like you. "Oh, I see I met Dave the other week and he seemed like a pretty nice bloke *checks relationship number* crap. I like Dave 45 out of 100 and he feels -10 towards me." Much, much simpler.

When I was at school I tended to have a lot of acquaintances and people who I liked and who liked me but never really had a close group of "friends". I could tolerate being in a group of people and was accepted but I could only ever feel close to one person at a time. Today I still have a great friend from my High school days and he is able the only person I wanted to stay in touch with. He has always been there for me, we have a lot in common, a similar sense of humour. He even wants to travel over here to visit.

When I went to University for my undergrad, I didn't know anyone and no one knew me. It was like a fresh start. I ended up meeting and gaining a large group of people I considered my "friends". They cared about me, looked out for me, respected me and importantly made an effort in our relationship to spend time with me and want to spend time with me. One of my closest male friends would always ask me to join him no matter what he was doing, he would listen to my stories and crazy ideas and support me when I needed it. I hope I did the same for him.

I lived with three guys. It was actually a surprisingly clean house and we didn't allow parties...mainly because we didn't want to clean up anyone else's crap. I lived with them for three years and so we were able to get pretty close. One night about 6 years ago now I was out clubbing with my friends and housemates. I was on an upper balcony and was gesturing with my bottle of beer over the rail. Turns out the security guard under me wasn't too impressed and raced up to quickly escort me out of the building. I wasn't too happy about that at all and felt pretty alone and embarrassed out in front of the club. I started the long walk home. I was maybe 40 feet away from the building and I hear my name being called out behind me. It was one of my housemates. We walked home together, grabbed some food and chilled out at home. It was totally unexpected and still means a lot to me today, that someone would give up their evening (and it about 9pm or so) to keep me company, not desert me and cheer me up.

For the last couple of years I've struggled with friendships. Being miles away from my old friends makes it difficult to keep a good relationship going. Thankfully we now have emails and text messaging and skype (and yes I do remember a time before these inventions) but still that human presence can mean and do more than 100 emails or texts or phone calls. When I meet new people now it's almost like I'm starting off at a disadvantage. Investing in a new friendship is something which I feel I have to do so I can have that sense of trusting someone (who isn't Ms. AllClick, my best friend) and knowing that when I'm sick someone cares, or when I have a happy moment I have someone to share it with. So I feel I'm at a disadvantage because the people I meet already have friends and best friends and well established relationships. They don't need to put the effort into a friendship with me as if it doesn't work out it's no big deal to them. They have "Bob" they have known for 15 years from high school or "Dave" they used to work with 20 years ago.

What I liked about going to University for my undergrad was that everyone I met was in the same situation as me. On their own. So there was that desire and need for relationships. I haven't seen that near as much with my grad degree.

So to finish I recommend getting in touch with an old friend. Maybe their "Sims"-esque friendship bar is still 100 with you even though you think it's a 50.


RedZeppelin said...

Wow. Yet more evidence that you may in fact be my long lost twin.

Your friendship chronicles look almost identical to mine. I still have one great friend from high school, and although I made a lot of friends in college I'm only still close to one or two. All of them live hundreds of miles away too.

And you're right -- it's tough to make close friendships at this stage in life.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

You read my grousing about this last week, so you already know how I feel, brotha. There are times (like last week), when I find it easier to say "forget it" than make the effort (because I'm the only one who makes the effort, it seems... is it my breath? LOL). Did you make the call?