Author Topic: Friends  (Read 3613 times)

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Celany

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Friends
« on: May 30, 2014, 04:26:40 PM »
I'm wondering how often forumites find that their major friend group (or closest friends) change & how the handle making/breaking up with friends, if anybody cares to share stories.

I have one particular friend who has been a friend for nearly fifteen years, and a close friend for probably around seven or eight years. And I have about half a dozen other friends who have been close friends for about five years, but I met them through different groups, so I rarely see them all at once (two of them I frequently see together, and three others are pretty good friends, so we often try to get all of us together. The last long-term friend is a another singleton, so I mostly see him myself). My close friend Jerry (who I have known for fifteen years), I see nearly every week. The others range from every two weeks or so, to maybe once every six months, depending on if our schedules match & up if we remember to message each other about hanging out.

Other than those special people, I seem to change friend groups every two to four years. Nearly every time, it's one of the people who was a linchpin to the group (the person who did a lot of the organizing of outings & may be the person who most of the people met originally) moved to another city, and the group of 8-12 people then sort of drifted off into different directions.

I was just thinking about this because a really good friend that I used to see very regularly left the city & moved to San Fransisco about four years ago, and I just realized that I'm still trying to meet new people with an eye for someone(s) to hang out with regularly. I'd met an interesting group of people not long after he left, & I'd been spending most of my time with them the past few years, but I've just come to realize that...I don't think I want to be close friends with them anymore. For the most part, it's because I've been through a lot of changes in the past few years, & I've realized that my interests & their interests are starting to become really divergent. The other reason is that the person I wrote about in this thread http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=133712.0 wasn't around much for the first year or two that I hung out with the others, due to some personal reasons. Now that the person from the movies is hanging out with us more, & I've gotten to know her, I've realized that I really want as little to do with her as possible. But, she's a package deal for hanging out with the others, so...not going to work for me.

How about everybody else? Do you tend to make your friends entirely organically, just meeting people through meeting people & having a group of friends that lasts a long time, or do you feel like you need to make an effort to go find people you have a lot in common with?
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. ~ Hippolyte Taine

TurtleDove

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Re: Friends
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2014, 04:34:10 PM »
I haven't felt that I have had to make an effort to make friends but rather end up spending time with people who share my interests at a particular stage in my life.  I don't "end" friendships, but simply we recognize our time is limited and make less effort to spend time together as interests diverge.  For me, as a busy mom with a fulltime job, most of my "friend" excursions involve something athletic or something revolving around our kids.  My husband and I also make time for "double dates" with our various friends, but given very busy schedules this doesn't happen as much as we would like!

mime

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Re: Friends
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2014, 05:49:58 PM »
I agree with TurtleDove. My friends tend to come from shared activities and life stages. As I need to bow out of an activity because professional or family life needs more attention, those friendships tend to drift. I do have a couple of friends who have stayed consistent throughout many life changes, but they are the exception.

magician5

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Re: Friends
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2014, 10:33:01 PM »
I recently saw a youtube video in which the host said that often you feel an affinity for people you learn something from, and the two of you often drift apart when you've learned from them everything you can learn.
There is no 'way to peace.' Peace is the way.

purple

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Re: Friends
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2014, 11:21:22 PM »
I recently saw a youtube video in which the host said that often you feel an affinity for people you learn something from, and the two of you often drift apart when you've learned from them everything you can learn.

This idea is beautiful.

Celany

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Re: Friends
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2014, 03:38:28 PM »
I recently saw a youtube video in which the host said that often you feel an affinity for people you learn something from, and the two of you often drift apart when you've learned from them everything you can learn.

This idea is beautiful.

I feel like I've had a number of friendships like that, but I also feel like I've had a number of friendships cut short by people moving. Which is always sad, and while we've often kept in touch as much as possible afterwards, sometimes it just...slowly sadly ends.

I think part of what's on my mind the most now is both how a person makes friends, & also, how to ease back when you realize that you don't want to be friends with someone. The person I want to ease back from is, by now means, a bad person. But some of their...less attractive behaviors are the exact kind of things that I actively work to keep at an absolute minimum in my life, so I need to ease back.
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. ~ Hippolyte Taine

Allyson

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Re: Friends
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2014, 08:26:57 PM »
I have an *incredibly* hard time making/keeping friendships with people when it's just them and me...as in, when we don't have mutual acquaintances or a 'friend group', as it were. I didn't have many friends at all till my early 20s, when I fell into an awesome group of people. For while it was pretty close-knit, as in everyone was friends with everyone, but now it's more Venn-diagram-ish...(I know I"m not using that correctly!) As in, some of my friends are friends with some of my other friends, but we don't all hang out in a huge group. Still, every single person I'm friends with I have met through that group in one way or other.

Many people have drifted off or moved cities, but perhaps because we have a shared activity to keep us together, the group changes faces slowly enough that it never truly dissipates. I find that while in some ways I miss the "one big geeky circle", in other ways I much prefer the way it is now. Much less pressure to invite *everyone*, for instance.

I've had a lot of really good friends move cites, and I still miss many of them, though we keep in touch a bit. Still, I find it hard in almost every case to really keep up with people when I'm not seeing them in the context of activities/groups. 

Ceallach

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Re: Friends
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2014, 09:32:40 PM »
I believe strongly in the friends come into our lives for a "reason, for a season, or for a lifetime" concept.    I've had a lot of friends through different reasons or seasons - participating in a shared hobby for example - but where there's no lasting basis once we move on peacefully.

Having said that, growing up, I always had lots of friends.  So it was a huge shock to me as a young adult to realise I was clean out of friends.   The combination of relocating 3 times in 6 years (big moves e.g. 3000 miles) plus taking friendships for granted had left me alone.   I was also severely depressed at the time which didn't make me conducive to forming new friendships.     I don't think I've actively broken up on any friendships over the years, more just let them go from lack of maintenance.    I also had lifelong a fear of appearing weak or vulnerable which caused me to have a very confident, assertive outer shell meaning people see me as a very confident, friendly, outgoing person not realising I'm actually desperately lonely. 

I started my first fulltime office job at 19, and I found the easiest way to make friends was through work, but that had added complications of work and friendships becoming too mixed.    Over the years I've joined groups, I've brought books on improving my social skills, I've actively pursued the "friend" thing.  And I personally think it's really hard making friends as an adult.   And it takes effort - I finally realised nearly everybody is in the same boat, waiting for others to make the first move.  I decided to try to become the person who makes the effort, even if it meant getting rejected.    Having a baby is what's actually finally lead me to a new social circle.   At the hospital "new mothers" get together I formed bonds with some ladies whom I actually have a lot in common with.  And now, a year on, we get together for girl's nights (kid free!), we text, we share our thoughts and feelings.  We've formed genuine friendships and it's awesome.  Honestly, it's been years since I've had friends this close.   I believe some of them will definitely become lifetime friends.    The baby thing is a red herring - what really connected us was actually sitting down in a group of people to introduce ourselves and talk, and from there identify who we got along with.  It's so rare to have that kind of opportunity in our busy lives to meet new people!  (Everybody always says hobbies, except often the focus is on the hobby and there isn't always time to get to know the person).

I've also made an effort to reconnect with my childhood BFF (we had a falling out as teens, mainly exacerbated by my relocations and a few misunderstandings between us over the distance).     That is a friendship I will have my entire life.   

I plan to teach my children to value their friends and not take relationships for granted.  Ironically, I've never taken romantic relationships for granted - even as a child I studied relationships to try to see what worked and what didn't, desperate not to end up in the same miserable state as my parents.  And that knowledge has lead me to form a very healthy, happy marriage.   But it never occurred to me that such efforts should also be applied to platonic relationships!
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siamesecat2965

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Re: Friends
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2014, 08:44:07 AM »
Interesting question! Growing up I was shy and didn't have a whole lot of friends. Those that I did I was close with, but coupled with my inability to keep in touch over the years, I've lost touch with some, which I regret. I love that Facebook and the internet now allow me to find people and reconnect. I've also tried very hard to get over the notion that people still judge me and don't really like me, and are only being nice to my face.

I'm very lucky in that I met one friend about 15 years ago at work, and others through her, who have become my close group of "local" friends. Several I'm very close to; others not as close, but every now and again we try and get together as a group, even though some have married and had kids. I've also met a couple of people at my second job I've become friendly with, as well as a couple at my current FT job. Not my best friends but we do things every now and then. But the few I'm close to I can count on to be there for me.

I'm one who is the type to have just a few very close friends, and maybe a few more not so close. Due to being picked on and teased as a kid, I'm very wary even now, and find it hard to open up and get close to people. But I'm trying.

Going to my HS reunion helped immensely. I realized that now, no one cares who you were, who you hung out with,etc in HS. we're all adults, and it's been fun reconnecting with people. They may never be my "beasties" but we still get together every now and again.

Celany

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Re: Friends
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2014, 11:24:32 AM »
Going to my HS reunion helped immensely. I realized that now, no one cares who you were, who you hung out with,etc in HS. we're all adults, and it's been fun reconnecting with people. They may never be my "beasties" but we still get together every now and again.

From what I can tell on FB, I'm afraid my high school is filled with people who haven't matured that well, sadly. And (if I went) our next reunion would be our 20 year in two years, so methinks if they haven't gotten it yet, they won't get it.

Although speaking of high school makes me wonder how/if the way I have friends now is a reflection on that. I had a weird school experience. I mostly had few to no friends, until my freshman year of HS, which my mom let me test for gifted. That opened up a whole world of friends. The good news is I had a great friend group for most of HS. The bad news is that they were ALL at least a year older than me, so my senior year sucked because they all left, AND a girl in my year who used to be a good friend started seriously bullying me (I don't want to get into it, but way beyond "kids will be kids" stuff).

After that, I had great friends in college, but then I had to start all over when I moved to NYC. Since then, I've been in a couple of friend groups. It's interesting how much things can change in a few years, depending on where people move to (and in NYC, having someone move from living  a few neighborhoods away from you to the other side of the city may mean you go from seeing them a couple times a month to once or twice a year). And there's the occasional friend-group break-up from some people having a falling out. One group imploded when a married couple in the group got a divorce. One of the weirder things about that was that the wife had been cheating on the husband who...took it super-maturely (especially for being in his late 20s). His feelings were "my ex-wife has a lot of problems, she acted out a lot, & clearly we weren't right for each other. But I hope this helps her & she gets therapy & does better". There were more people in the group that couldn't handle his reaction (and that he didn't want anybody to pick sides) than anything else, & that group ended up completely falling apart.
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. ~ Hippolyte Taine

Specky

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Re: Friends
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 11:57:36 AM »
Interesting.  I realized that I have friendships, some since childhood, but they are all online:  emailing/texting/chatting/FB.  I live a good thousand miles and an 18 hour drive from "home".  I have never been back, and when discussing a HS reunion, I realized that I have no intentions of ever returning. Very long story...   I never send or post pictures of myself or my family--feels too much like an invasion of privacy to me, so these people have no idea what we look like.  If anything, I am frozen in their minds as my 18 year old self, and my husband and children are undefined.

I do have 3 or 4 local friends, but we mainly communicate via emails, texts and FB.  There are 4 of us who manage to go to lunch once or twice a year, but that is it.  I don't have anyone, other than my husband and children, that I do things with or spend time with.  I've tried that in the past with a few folks and realized that I was the one making all the effort, so there was a message in that for me.  Much easier this way.

AnnaJ

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Re: Friends
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2014, 02:02:14 PM »
This is an interesting thread since friends and friendship are so important to me.  I have friendships that are a few years old stretching to some over 40 years old, and they each provide something different to my life. 

Almost twenty years ago I moved to a new city where I knew no one, and that was a huge challenge; I'm not married, no children, so I had to be completely independent in making new friends.  In my case I was in grad school and made a couple of friends with people who are still in my life - we all got lucky and got jobs in the same city.  Another friend moved from my old city, so that was great.

Looking back I've often been surprised by who have remained my lasting friends; there are people I instantly clicked with but lost touch with because of job changes or moves, and other people I initially thought of as acquaintances but are still friends years later.  I think that the key is that friendships often involve a level of commitment and we're not always willing and/or able to do the work involved. 

Also, accepting that friends aren't perfect is part of it - it's always strange to me when people here advocate cutting off a friend or relative as a first step when there's a problem; I'm not always a perfect friend and don't expect my friends to be either. 

Celany

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Re: Friends
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2014, 04:31:18 PM »

Also, accepting that friends aren't perfect is part of it - it's always strange to me when people here advocate cutting off a friend or relative as a first step when there's a problem; I'm not always a perfect friend and don't expect my friends to be either.

I was just thinking about how there are some imperfections in friends that I can easily live with (because I am surely not perfect either) and others that, well, if someone asked me for advice on eHell that had these traits, I'd be yelling "run away, run away!" but that would be because of my own prejudices & not necessarily because of the original problem.

One of my personality pet peeves is people who do character assassinations. Yes, I understand that my friend Susie isn't friends with Jeanie anymore. I also understand that Jeanie did a legitimately crappy thing to Susie. However, when Susie tells me that Jeanie now has poor fashion sense, makes terrible dating decisions, is untrustworthy with money, treats her children poorly, only eats at restaurants that serve bad food, isn't qualified to do her job, and also relays to me a conversation with Jeanie where she uses a fake stupid surfer girl voice to mimic Jeanie & mock her way of talking...well, that all looks a lot worse to me than Jeanie's original crappy act.

I can totally get being angry at someone, especially someone who did wrong you. But tearing that person down and treating them with contempt, even amongst friends, is just not OK with me.

This whole thread has left me feeling really lucky & grateful for the awesome friends that I do have. I just wish it was possible to see them more often!
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. ~ Hippolyte Taine

knitwicca

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Re: Friends
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2014, 09:11:33 AM »
I have a BFF. We have been a part of one another's lives for 15 years. The talk-daily, share secrets our SOs don't know, shop via text/photos together sort of friends. For more than 10 years, she traveled with her husband while she and I maintained this friendship. Now they are settled about 800 miles away so we spend a weekend together every few months.

I have very casual shared-interest friends locally. We don't often get together for any reason outside of our shared interest.

I also have a group of long-distance FB friends. One member put together a "secret" page and invited a handful of her friends. Each of the us was allowed to request adding someone to the group if we thought it would be a good fit.  Many of us have never met in real life. But we are there to support one another. For example, one member had moved from Colorado to Washington. Shortly after the move, another member (J) had a brother who lived in Washington and who was dying.  J announced that she would be going to spend time with her brother. The member who had just moved opened her house to J for several weeks.
Then another member (single mom) who lives in Oregon needed help with one son while another son had major surgery.  J's brother passed away and J went to Oregon to help S with her sons.
When J and her husband were moving from Texas to Oklahoma, a member from Chicago (S) and her husband took vacation time to help J and her husband move.
S just left to go to Spain to walk the Camino pilgrimage.  Her first stop is in London where yet another member opened her home for S to have a couple of days to rest before going on to Spain.

As convoluted as this all sounds, we are there to help each other, have gotten to know each other through the founding member of the group who had an idea one day "I will create a FB page of only a handful of women with whom I have a few things in common."  Now there are 34 members. We agreed to stop adding members so that we don't lose our bond.

So having friends long-distance but being in touch via telephone, text, email or FB seems to work best for me.

Arila

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Re: Friends
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2014, 02:31:31 PM »
I'm with the others, that many friendships I've had as an adult (and to a less-mature extent, throughout my life) have ebbed and flowed with our shared interests/experiences. So, in elementary school, I was friends with a girl who also liked to ride her bike around our neighborhood. In highschool, things mixed up, and most of my friends were in the same club. As an adult, I make most of the initial connections based on similar things, like groups on Meetup, or people who were both new grads at work AND went to the gym, but the only lasting friendships are the ones where we have both the initial meeting condition in common, and something much deeper. So, I met one nice lady playing a real world augmented reality game, but we actually formed a friendship around our very similar, serious and stressful situations that we were both going through at the time.