Why don’t I have new friends anymore?!

I was reading Pepper’s blog post here about friendships and I wanted to write a comment, which ended up being an essay on its own. So I thought, I may as well type out what I feel about my friends and friendships.
 
I was talking to a guy the other day, and he said something on the lines of, the more you live in USA, the lesser friends you tend to have. It made me think and I realized it’s not completely wrong. At least in my case, the statement holds weight. The only part being different for me was USA. This has happened to me every time that I changed schools or colleges. I have always had hesitation in talking to new people that I meet, and my insecurities about myself tends to compound the situation into total absurdity. I have switched so many schools, and my experiences with getting bullied, have made friendships difficult. For some reason, sustaining friendships was also a hard task for me. But it changed quite a bit in college, where I found some life-long friends(hopefully). Having verbal diarrhea is also not a big help.
 
Talking about friends in India, we were a group of girls and boys in the engineering college who are still together on different levels with each other. The girl group(we were roommates) is still together on Whatsapp. But my relationship with them is quite non-existent. The onus lies on my own personality issues too, but I will not take the blame on myself completely. I think I have stopped trying to please people, which was a compulsive habit even till a couple of years back and that has resulted in some acidic conversations. I do not feel welcome there, and so I don’t feel like I am a part of that group. Exceptions being of course Ani and Moo and I hope they understand my point of view. From the group of boys, I am friends with most of the boys who I was friends with earlier, but there are two people who are firmly within my circle of trust. Hazra and Shib are, and will always be family, and it makes me very happy that they are aware of this and reciprocate.
 
After moving to USA, I have switched between people and between groups and had reached a point where I needed only two people. The xBF and Abhi. The situation got weird after the xBF left, but Abhi made the time easier for me. We are not in the same cities. But he and Nisha are among the people I can count on if I get in trouble. Abhi is like the brother I would have had if I had one. I like to think that they are aware that I can be counted on if they ever need me to be there.

I have another really close friend who I work with and workout with(we recently paid extra for the gym membership, so that we can continue that after trying to work out alone since the last July). We have our lunch together where the other accompanies the person even if they have a lunch box, and we meet over the weekends to watch movies and have lunch again. We share stories, jokes, frustrations and work gossip and we yell at each other. People have mistaken us to be dating, but they realize eventually that we have turned into siblings, squabbling with each other. So that makes a grand total of THREE people around me who are friends in real sense of the word.
 
After a certain age, the dynamics of friendships change from complete buddy to people needed to spend evenings with, and even to call in case of emergencies. I may have a lot of friends around me, but friend-friend is becoming the Loch-Ness monster of people. There is a need to lower the bar of expectations when it comes to friendships. You cannot expect someone to show up when you crave a steaming bowl of Pho, leaving their partner or their kid behind. It is just like how you will not show up to spend an evening at the bar with your buddy during a work week. Situations change, priorities change, and the biggest cause of worry, proximity to each other changes. If we talk about making new friends in Grad school or at work, friendship thrives when you let your guard down, and that is seemingly impossible with so much competition involved. It is a cut throat world, and most people tend to hide their vulnerabilities.
 
When younger, friendship is a survival tactic. Proximity in school, college puts you together. You need someone to kill time with, to say the least. When family, partner, work and life are thrown into the equation, the unstructured relation of friendship becomes more vulnerable to collapse. It is no longer a real necessity. How well one deals with friends and balances relationships, depends on an individual’s personality and the need for social fulfilment. If they make a FRIENDS 2.0 I am sure Rachel and Phoebe haven’t met each other in 3 years. And Ross hasn’t heard from Joey since he moved away.

In the end, it all boils down to this insanely accurate definition.

  

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31 thoughts on “Why don’t I have new friends anymore?!

  1. I was also going to write a post on friendships, inspired by Pepper. But the blogathon has just got over, it is vacation time. Hehe.

    Talking about friendships – once I was talking to a guy living in the US (ahem, my mom ‘asked’ me to talk to him, if you know what I mean) and he said that friendships there are very different from friendships in India. He said that you can’t just spontaneously make plans with people or just hang out at their place doing nothing or just watching tv together or just randomly chilling without any agenda. I told him that I don’t do that in India either. We all need to make plans to meet. I think what he meant was that in the US when you hang out it is more objective oriented, like going somewhere, doing something. In contrast to that, in India you don’t really have to be doing anything, you can just chill and actually be doing nothing substantial and have a good time with someone, just talking.

    What do you think? Is it too much of a generalisation? I am just curious about how different or similar the cultures are.

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  2. This is so true.. I think when you stop pleasing somebody, they automatically drop out. most of them constantly seek something from a friendship, and when you have nothing, or just want to be yourself, then there is no space anymore.. I am left with a few handful too and i think it’s always good to have a few really good ones than to have a dozen of friends to show off.. 😛 🙂

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    • Yeah! Same here. I am left with few people but good people. Today Shawn has brought over lunch that his GF made w/o meat for me. They are for keeps! Lol
      I think I have lost patience now. I still remember everything that I have done to make people like me, be friends with me. Stemming from the friendless-ness that I have experienced from changing schools, I became needy. Now I am over it to quite an extent. It’s relative easier(still working on it) to roll my eyes and walk off.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, the last paragraph has hit the proverbial home run! We separate the wheat from the chaff once we move out of particular groups (schools, colleges etc.). The wheat are our friends, the chaff, just the people we hung out with!

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  4. I think about this sometimes. As you said, it’s easier to make friends in situations where you’re thrown together every day (like school), but the older you get, the harder it gets. After both my emigrations I had to start over, and when you throw personality into the mix, yeah. Not the easiest. I’m really lucky to have a few people I would call good friends, and I treasure them very much. But I also have limits about what I’m prepared to do for others. So I would do ANYTHING AT ALL for my friends—EXCEPT twist myself out of shape to please them. Ha. Thanks for sharing this.

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  5. That’s life. We tend to become our own person after a while and that’s when we realize that canceling plans, saying no and laying out priorities is really ok.

    I think as we grow older we change and so does people around us and I think the relationship between friends also goes through transitions. Surviving through those transitions makes your friendship stronger. Sometimes convenience strengthens friendships.

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    • Yes! It’s like how people say that to improve relationship with in-laws, it’s better to move out! I think the same thing about friends. As kids, we just want to be with each other always, as we grow up, we have to bend the relationship as per convenience, as per time. The more understanding we get about other’s commitments and priorities, the better the friendship becomes. I have personally experienced it and we had to work very hard to stand the test of time on our 9 year old friendship.

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  6. Like you, I didn’t have any friends through school really. And college was interesting – a few good friends who are in touch but not really in touch if you know what I mean. Whatsapp doesn’t really count if you only share jokes and forwards and crap. Anyway, I think I have made my peace with the concept of friendships in my adult life over the last few years – maybe because we have moved so much off late. I still feel everyone needs friends to survive in a place – certain go to people for emergencies and such, and then beyond that , I am honestly past caring. I rather have several friends a few levels below the inner circle, to do occasional dinners, play dates and such like, and its even better if the families get along once you have kids(but that’s another post by itself) .I no longer need several bosom buddies anymore.

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    • I think something similar happened to my mom. She didnt care so much about needing friends when we used to move so much. But now I see her calling up her Friend from our old place every other day and so and chatting and sharing things. They used to do everything together. But I am like my dad. I need people around me. Just one or two are fine, but they should be my people. I don’t know how things are going to change once I have a partner and then family. It would be silly of me to say that I will always be like this.

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  7. You know, you’ve put up two very good points. Not only do we struggle to make new friends, we also struggle to sustain old friendships.
    In my case though, I find the sustaining a bit easier than the making new friends bit. But really, I am learning to hold on to the few people I have now and make peace with the fact that that is all I will have. It isn’t too bad. I know some people who don’t have a single good friend and I feel for them.. 🙂

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    • Moo, Ani and I had a roommate and a very close friend, who stopped speaking to all of us one fine day 2-3 years back. She did not respond to our chain emails, calls, news of engagements and marriage fixings in the group and did not invite any of us to her wedding which would, technically, have been the first in the group. We aren’t sure what happened. But on analyzing, we all realized that she NEVER spoke about her school friends where she was for nearly 10 years. Perhaps she was very good at moving on. Most likely she didn’t need people long term and just wanted friends to get by on a daily basis. She made a new MBA group and perhaps is sustaining that relationship thanks to her husband who was a part of that group. It’s really strange. Some people just don’t need anyone except superficially.

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  8. I think, definition of friendship means different things to different people. Some people, give it all to sustain the friendship, if that is not reciprocating enough, it is just not easy to hold onto. Further more, unless we meet very regularly, it is easy to grow into different personalities over a period of time, unless the gap is filled, it is very hard to reconnect.
    Of course, the priorities in life take the precedence and we tend to neglect those friendships for various reasons – distance, time, workload, family responsibilities. That is not an excuse but you have only so much time in hand.
    I have difficulty maintaining my current friends, since they live so far away, weekends is the only possibility of meeting, or some times it takes months or years until we meet. I have had great friends in the past and thought they are for keeps, whom I lost with distance and time. Or perhaps, they were never meant to be.
    At the end, it’s the quality matters over quantity. Having one or two really good friends is more important than having many friends.
    In my opinion, it is easy to make friends, but difficult to maintain them. So, why bother making friends if you cannot handle?

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    • Some people find it so easy to move on from friend to friend whereas some people have the same friend for 30 years. It’s all dependent on personality. But one thing is there for sure. Like all relationships, friendship needs work, and a little bit extra. Again, how much importance and priority you want to give, depends on person to person. Time, family, work definitely comes in the way and makes it harder.

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  9. it is a very insightful post. I lost contact with two of my closest friends in college. However, I don’t know why but I don’t feel bad about it. I feel more like ‘it was going to happen someday or the other, so chill’.

    I always thought that the friends you make while in school or college are the ones you stay in contact forever. But, surprisingly (or say fortunately), I made some great friends at my workplace and I like to think that even though we may not be working in the same organization tomorrow, but we will definitely stay connected.

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  10. Yes, I know what you mean… Sigh*** I used to have friends all over the place. Memorably, our engg college Principal had passed an order to get me kicked out and in my crafty wisdom I had decided to take along an RSS man to vouch for me, to appeal to the right-wing sensibilities of the cretin.. and he let out a frustrated cry “Yes, yes, that is alright.. but how can I reverse this decision without losing face? He even has the gardeners and labourers here as friends.. everyone will know about this in another twenty seconds.. Tejaswi is the worst thing to happen to me.. now, even if you recommend him, I cannot reverse it.. everyone knows him.. even my attender comes and recommends him…”
    Well, such was the KT of those days… and now.. hardly a few… if I just count the healthy fingers it will still be more than enough for the number of friends I have now. It is a good thing, actually… 🙂

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    • I think that’s better though in the long run. Distances, life, being busy doesn’t affect these friends who are closer than family. It will always remain the same. Thoda effort lagta hai of course, but these people work out the best.

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