I had this thought, after attending my high school buddy Spanky’s wedding and enjoying the mini high school reunion, that I will probably never make close friends again. The people I hang out with now, that I really care to spend time to interact with, are generally from three phases of my life: childhood neighbors, high school buddies, and college friends. Sure I’ve made some friends after I’ve started working, but the connection, even if I initially felt it, was gone after I’d left the job. Even people with whom I went to Japan for a whole year, with whom I went through the challenges of adapting in a new country with a new language, I’ve basically lost touch with over the years. Though I do wonder if we can just pick it up where we left off, as seems to happen with my high school friends every time I meet up with them.
This NY Times article touches on these thoughts that I’ve had rolling around in my head:
Proximity is definitely an issue for me in making and keeping friends. In school, you get to “hang out” with friends for extended periods of time while still accomplishing something (getting a degree!). If we strictly hung out with certain people after school or work, it’s hard to develop a close bond, not to mention the intimate interaction that comes with working and thinking together. For me, proximity is probably my number one issue in maintaining friendships. It’s hard to be close friends with people on the other side of the planet in general – time difference, cultural/environment difference all make it difficult to even have a common topic to talk about; you can only reminisce about the good old days for so long before the conversation quickly dries up.
So aside from the people in Taiwan with whom I can see once every month or two, I haven’t really kept touch with everyone else. While some friends eventually disappear, others I’m still willing to travel just to have that mini-reunion. I think the time that we’ve known each other, combined with the fact that the circumstances under which we met were relatively simpler times, makes it easy to go back to these friends. It’s emotional time-travel to a place where I’m more at ease than the present.
I’m not really meeting new people, nor am I really that interested. As the article says, priorities change, even though I don’t even have a family yet. There’s only so much time I can distribute to myself and the few friends I plan on keeping, it’s difficult to warrant the effort to make new friends. I wonder if that’s how people feel too in general?