Have you ever met someone, whether it be someone at your kid’s swim lessons, or a regular you see Tuesdays at yoga, and think, “we seem to have common interests, maybe we can hang out?” Sometimes, it’s easy to make friends as adults, but there are also times when its downright awkward. You make an excuse to sit near the “person of interest” and try to strike up interesting conversation with them. If it works out, you have made yourself a new friend. Go you!
Adults seem to fall under two categories:
> The easy going, chill, make friends easy and keep them forever type.
> The awkward, self conscious, easily persuaded, anti social type.
Or, there are the rare people, who fall under both categories, depending on the day of the week. I tend to fall under both of the above, however, the latter is usually where you can find me.
So, You Have a New Friend. So Now What?
When we were kids, it was so easy to make your friends “fit” into your life. You would either ride your bike to their house and knock on the door to see if your buddy could come out and play, OR your mommies would arrange a play date for you. That doesn’t happen in our adult world, does it? We have to make the effort to maintain friendships, at least close ones.
Many adults have the one Best Friend, that no matter what, they can rely on. Some are lucky enough to have a posse or tribe of friends who get together on weekends and do random activities together. And some, like myself, have friends scattered here and there, that if I want to make an effort, I could “possibly” call them or text them. Mostly, I just don’t. My bad.
Some of my friends, if I am being honest, just don’t fit into my life the way I wish they did. I used to make an effort to meet people, and chat with them until it became a regular “texting daily” relationship. You can text someone for a year, without physically seeing their faces., and still call them a close friend. This makes me feel uneasy for some reason.
Often, I will tell one of my friends, “We should get together”
Their reply is inevitably, “Yes, let’s make a plan!”
I try. I try and “make the plan”. I offer dates, lunches, dinners, wine nights, movie dates, coffee, you name it, and once it has been decided, I try and follow through. One of my friends, however, always says she will be there, and at the last minute bails on me, or, she cannot commit to “the plan”, so it goes to the wayside. She is one friend, who simply doesn’t fit me. I love her to pieces, and she knows a lot about me that many people don’t, but we just don’t fit together. And, it’s okay! We both accept it. We even joke about it (through texts)
She has children at home, and dogs, and a cabin at the lake. I have my partner, no pets, and an adult child who has been on her own for 7 years already. She is busy with her kid’s activities and yoga, and I am busy at working and writing. I have freedom whenever I choose, she has a tight schedule, with no full time job. We can offer each other 360 dates of the calendar, and for some reason, we just don’t fit each other’s lives. The irony of this, is she literally lives 3 houses away from me.
We see each other when we are outside doing yard work, or we bump into each other at our community grocery store, as we roll our eyes and laugh at how ridiculous our relationship is. We text and Facebook each other, and have even Facetimed a few times, but hang out for a coffee? Nope. We are both way too busy for that business. Occasionally she will message me informing me that she is outside, but she catches me out running errands, or vice versa. It’s just not meant to be. We also do not have the same circle of friends, which complicates things even more.
Conversely, I have friends who live hours away that I see more often than the people in our community. One of my closest friends from grade school lives 3 hours away from me, yet at least once a year, we get together for a weekend of wine and catch up chats til the wee hours of the morning. We have always made the effort to stay a good fit for each other.
Sometimes, people just don’t fit your lifestyle, and forcing it to “work” is like trying to cram a size 7 foot into a size 6 tennis shoe. It may go in there, but it’s uncomfortable and awkward, and just doesn’t feel right. It might be the nicest, most stylish shoe in the world, but if it doesn’t fit, it just doesn’t fit. You can’t force it.
Family can be the same way. Perhaps you have siblings that have a bunch of kids, and you have none, or your parents vacation year round in their RV and you are a workaholic. You can “try” and make an effort to get together, but sometimes, your lifestyles just don’t match. It feels as though you try to put a Jigsaw puzzle together with the pieces from an entirely different puzzle. You might be able to wiggle the piece around and force it to go in, but then it looks weird, feels forced and is just too awkward.
We should all be able to accept these human dynamics. Everyone lives such fast, crazy lifestyles while raising children in a world full of safety and extra curricular crap, and trying to be involved in everything their kids do. I get that! I did it too, to an extent, but now my reward is that my girl is a University Graduate, finding her place in the world. She is in a separate city from me, attempting to make her friends fit into her world. She is busy with work, and trying to hold a relationship, while balancing her interests and working toward goals of her own. Most of her closest friends have been with her since daycare, and she tries to maintain a bond with them. But, she is now finding as well, like a great pair of pants or a shirt that you wore when you were 12 years old; sometimes they just stop fitting.
The question is, is do we need to de-clutter our non fitting friends from our lives, like we do clothes or shoes? Or, is it better for us, to try and maintain some semblance of relationship, even if it’s only a once a year visit?
Again, it seems like their are two categories of people:
> The ones who simply cut the “non fitters” out of their lives and have no regrets
> The ones who hang onto the last thread of communication, in order to be able to say, “Oh yea, she’s my friend”.
That is basically what social media is all about, isn’t it? It’s about sharing pieces of your life, that you display for others, as your “friends”. How many of us can honestly look at our Friends lists and remember the last time you sat down over a cup of coffee or a meal with them? How many of your social media friends do you actually SEE regularly in real life? But most importantly, how many of them can you honestly say “fit” into your life, enough that you could spend time with them. Is it alright to classify these people as “friends?”
When we do meet a fellow human, make light conversation, and decide that they are not horrible people, what is the first thing we do? Ask them if they are on Facebook/Linkedin?Instagram etc, and we “FIND” them. We may or may not creep their photos and memes, but now we can say we have a new “friend”.
Right or wrong, this is the life that the majority of us lead. We have friends or followers, we search people through devices, and sometimes we try and make new friends in face to face situations. In the end though, not everyone fits us. We may keep them around, just in case one day, they magically match our lifestyle. We may decide that they just aren’t worth our time.
The most cherished friends to have, in my experiences, are the friends that make real memories with you. The ones that step up when you’re having a rough time, or to help you celebrate a promotion. THESE are actual people who I consider friends, and I am lucky to be blessed with quite a few of them. I would also be there for them in any situation where they just need to talk, or hang out. Just to be “there”. I suppose that defines real friends that “fit” versus friends who don’t. I may not see them often, but when I do, it’s valued and quality time together.
Social Media makes it easier for us to stay “connected”. Unless the effort is made to spend time with each other comfortably, chances are, they just don’t fit.