Friday, April 01, 2011

I'll be there for you-oo

Friendship. It's a funny old game.

Most of my pals who live at a distance will testify that I'm not very good at staying in touch. Jon is much better at that, really. With the exception of maybe 5 - 10 people, I am "out of sight, out of mind" about it all.

I used to beat myself up about this. Now, I think it's quite sensible. We all need human contact and engagement. But I don't need that to consist of premeditated jollities with the cherry-picked, compatible individuals that please me most. (I do have some cherries I'm not getting rid of. So to speak.) I enjoy building new relationships where I am, with whoever happens to be accessible.

This is becoming problematic, though. It is increasingly difficult to make new friends as the years go by. And I do try. Am I becoming repulsive? Don't think so....

It's partly the sprog thang, of course. There is less social space in a routine that has to cater for the dependent. And those of us as yet without that responsibility find it hard to fit into new parents' lives. But that's far from an insurmountable issue (as some of our friends demonstrate).

I reckon we just tend to get more insular as we age. Enclosed in our homes. Preoccupied with the demands of work, immediate family, homekeeping and 'managed' R and R. Preferring strict control over who we socialise with and when. Loathe to accommodate a stranger or a guest who might just unsettle or see through us. Believing our own story, that our life is too busy.....

Children deal with that sort of unsettling 'stranger becomes friend' encounter all the time, so they just get on with it. Adults gradually lose the ability to cope with such encounters because they allow them to happen less and less. And so get more and more set in, and defensive about, their ways and their private space and their busy lives.

This is a shame. I like making new friends. I don't want to develop a shell that protects me from that.

All this does make me increasingly grateful for the long-standing friends. Which is nice!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You're not alone in this. Long distance friendships are so expensive in time and energy; and even people you really love, when they're far away, cannot fulfil the need to have friends around you in a tangiable way. Sadly, to build up a real, deep friendship takes a long time and requires a closeness which is rare in modern life. If you can make a real friend and they stay nearby, you are lucky indeed.