I am used to having people whose love, care and concern I am certain of in my life. Lately, I have really struggled with finding satisfying friendships and I am finding that the lack of such close friends has a big effect on my day to day life. I hadn’t realised how much confidence I draw from the security of friends. The ones I have are great but they are too far away and though we try, it can be hard to keep up with time differences and all.
In this area, I am a mass of contradictions (in lots of other areas too but we’ll save that for another day). I crave intimacy, I love to be connected to people but then I also love my space. I don’t really enjoy superficial chatting about nothing. From my perspective, there’s a big distinction between acquaintances i.e. people I know and can hang out with and people that are friends.
I am beginning to think it is true that it becomes more difficult to make friends as you get older though I’m not exactly sure why it should be like this. Perhaps people have already formed their core group of friends or have a more difficult time letting new people into their lives. Making friends seemed so easy in primary and secondary school; you could meet someone and be best friends with them by the end of the week. These days, I meet people and it is quite clear that we get on but there seems to be a limit to how close the friendship can get. I sometimes find myself embarrassingly keen to be friends with someone but it’s not cool to be that eager. I’m sure others have also felt like this about me so it probably goes both ways.
Another thing I have been noticing more frequently is how difficult it is to go out alone. It seems so socially unacceptable. I mean, I’m a complete person and last time I checked I was allowed to go anywhere I felt like. I haven’t come across any rules that mandate you to always be in the company of other people. Neither have I ever seen see any sign on a door that says ‘no unaccompanied persons allowed here’. Sometimes, you don’t even have other people that you know to go with (people who travel a lot will relate to this). Yet people look at you as if you’ve got something growing out of your head for daring to go someplace on your own so much so that you can start to wonder whether you don’t belong there. Is there something wrong with me for wanting to enjoy an evening of music at my pleasure? Must I have to round up a bunch of people to go with me for everything I might fancy doing? What if I want to explore activities that don’t necessarily interest my usual crowd?
For the most part, I enjoy the activities I pursue whether alone or in a group but I must say that it feels so much less awkward having other people around. I think this is a huge shame. People shouldn’t have to lock themselves away in a room, not enjoying what is on offer wherever they may be located just because they don’t happen to have other people to drag along with them. Maybe we need a rent-a-friend service for times like this*.
The more I encounter this attitude, the more I begin to understand why some people may prefer to stay in a not so great relationship than be alone. At least, you’ll always have someone to go with you to the cinema!
*It turns out such a service is already available in Japan and there are other websites that allow you to find people interested in doing an activity or attending an event with you.
*Some of the things it’s apparently not ok to do on your own: go dancing, go to a concert, go to a non-fast food restaurant and go to the cinema. Did I miss anything out?