Someone I considered a friend died last week and I had few friends to begin with. In order to ease my way through the emotional turmoil I have been reflecting on the nature of friendship and what a friend is to me. I have a hard time making friends nowadays, yet I make friendly acquaintances much easier than ever. It is bridging the gap from one to the other with which I have difficulty. I have thought a lot about why, but have no specific answer, but rather a host of answers, many of which smack of self-fulfilling pity. And yet, I find myself continually struggling to overcome these barriers despite realizing how shallow they are. I guess that's the reason I am writing this down and posting it to the world (or at least the few people who read the blog), perhaps put it other there publicly will help me find a way around them.
My definition of “friend” may be too narrow- I consider someone a friend when I feel comfortable enough with them to have both deep meaningful conversations as well as the shallow trading of barbs. When I feel I can trust them to accept me as me. When there is a resonance between us that allows some things to go unsaid, some things to never be said and some things that should never be said to be said without fear of a friendship ending.
I am a very private person – This blog aside, I don’t generally offer personal opinions or information about myself. If asked I will answer any question honestly and often in too much detail, but offering is something I always hesitate to do. I probably expect too much effort.
I have a very diverse set of interests – This is great when making acquaintances and meeting people, but when developing deeper relationships it often becomes a barrier for me. My problem is not the diversity so much as my natural penchant for making obscure and strange connections between extremely diverse things. It all feeds into a personal perception that people don’t understand me or just think I am odd. So I am left with a feeling that I am just a joke to those I want to know better.
I am completely awkward about initiating “hanging out” - I am sure this has its root in deeper self-esteem issues (see above answer). My first assumption is that people have better things to do than grab a beer with me or just hang out.
Time – I don’t have a lot of it and neither does anyone else. I guess this means I’ve “grown up”, oh bother. Just grabbing a beer more often than not involves dueling PDAs and at least one reschedule. It is hard to make friends when you always feel under the gun. And having both parties prioritize getting together seems much rarer in this urban setting despite the greater variety of activities to partake of.