You might not think of that sentence as being a profound statement. YET it is.
After all the moving around I have done in my life. (36 times as a kid and 21 times as an adult), I have made a lot of friends...of varying degrees. I have, also, left a lot of friends behind. One of my greatest weaknesses is "moving on" at the expense of losing touch with old friends. This is one of the many things I count as "regrets".
BUT as I was saying, my new neighbor and I click. I like the way she thinks. I like her personality. I like her value system and how she looks at the world. This had me thinking about the topic of friendships.
Wasn't it amazingly easy when you were little to latch onto other kids in the neighborhood and become BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. I lived in a lot of places and had a slough of FOREVER friends. While I certainly was poor at the FOREVER part, I still think of them all fondly and every time I hear something through the grapevine about them, my heart feels great joy for their successes and breaks for their losses.
|It's amazing I ever had friends.|
The thing about my childhood or teenage friends is that even though I haven't talked to most of them in decades, I still consider them friends. The older I got the less I reached out to most of my childhood "friends. Not all, mind you. As for the friends I made as an adult, it became very apparent that many of the friends we met along the way, fell into the category of acquaintances and there wasn't enough of a connection to maintain a life long bond. (Again, this has exceptions. Some will remain FOREVER in my life.)
I blame my tendency to form fewer strong friendships on several key factors.
Maybe it's JUST me, but aging didn't bring about inherent "wisdom" as the old saying suggests. What is brings is "self-awareness". There are things that I know apply to me.
1. My family time is precious and I love spending time with them, This results in me not reaching out as much as I once did. As my family grew....husband, children, grandchildren...my circle of special people grew. My social needs have morphed into more family interaction.
2. My circle of friends that are outside of my family, now get more attention and time than past casual friends would have received. There was a time that people that I casually described as a "friend" word to were in actuality, relegated to "work friends", "church friends", "neighbor friends" or whatever the connection was. My good friends today are more constant in my life. For example: my walking partner and I have now walked every weekday morning for 17 years. Rain or shine, at 5:35 AM we walk for an hour. Even though she lives in a different state for the last 10 of those years, we connect our Bluetooths and walk simultaneously while catching up on what is happening in the world.
3. Finding people that share your view of the world becomes harder as you get older, I think. Perhaps, it is the Crabby Pants part of me is just getting less tolerant of people that I don't share some similar opinions with. There has to be a least a little common ground. If being with a person leads to a constant sparring of different opinions, it doesn't make for a positive, worthwhile use of the time spent with them. (Just so there is no misunderstanding, I don't expect people to share every opinion with me, but there has to be SOME common thoughts.)
4. Digital friends....Now this subject is a slippery slope. I love seeing my previous FOREVER friends from my youth on social media. I suck at using social media sites but still...I love seeing their participation and seeing what they are up to. I have to believe that as sites like Facebook became more popular, it has encroached on people actually socializing with people face-to-face. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. Old friendships are renewed and people reconnect. Sounds good enough, right?
Well.....I, also, don't think it's necessarily a great thing either. I can tell you that even in my limited pool of FOREVER friends, there seems to be a lot of angst over "who said what" and how they (the reader) interpreted something. I think there is a greater likelihood for misunderstandings when something is printed versus spoken face-to-face. Plus, the very high probability of saying too much or comments being visible to people that aren't the intended target.
While I am on the subject, though. I do feel that as far as digital friends go...people can connect in a type of true friendship via the Internet. I would say that I have connected with people that I am 100 percent sure that if we lived near each other, we would be FOREVER friends. In reality we have never met in person but have formed a bond. YAY bloggers!!! I treasure your friendship.
|It might be a good thing that I fail at being a Facebook friend.|