?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Friends

In May, a friend (D.) was having a party in upstate New York, near Rochester. He and I had been great friends during college, and a lot of people that he knew from college and whom I'd met were invited, so I thought it'd be fun. Plus, I hadn't seen him in the two years since I graduated, so it sounded like a good time. I drove there, 7 hours, and spent the night trying to have conversations with people but mostly feeling like an outsider. I went to bed around midnight, I think, pretty drunk, and having spent about a half hour sitting alone and staring into the bonfire.

When I woke up the next morning, I wanted nothing more than to be back home with my wife, so I left, long before anyone else was awake, and drove home to her. I got here exhausted and dirty, and there was nothing sweeter than being able to hold her.

I managed to convince myself that I had enjoyed myself. Some of it was actually fun. There was a live band that played pop songs relatively well which I enjoyed singing along with, and there was a guy there who was doing graduate work in network security that I talked to for quite a while about computer stuff (we got jokingly scolded by the drummer for spending too much time talking about "smart stuff").

In the time since then, I've come to realise that it wasn't actually all that much fun for me. I didn't really know anyone, and even in the best of circumstances I have a hard time getting people interested in me enough to want to spend time with me. D. was fun to see again, but he was busy the whole night, being one of the organisers of the party and having many friends and a girlfriend to attend to.

I've also realised that D. and I have very little in common now that we aren't sharing a dorm and classes, and judging by our infrequent, banal communication by IM or email, we aren't all that interested in each others' lives. In school, we'd talk about everything. Girls, classes, family, religion, computers, cars, you name it. We'd get pizzas and watch Steven Segal movies together. We'd go for late night drives to Denny's on a whim, or we'd sit next to each other and work cooperatively on writing x86 ASM for an assignment. I spent many hours helping him write software to build a magnetic-stripe/barcode reader for his junior project. But now, we occasionally make small talk every five or six months, and nothing else.

Another friend of mine from college, K., lives in Boston now. She and I were also very close while we were in school, spending some time nearly every day with each other, even if it was just going to the dining hall for dinner or watching a little TV. We had many deep, thoughtful discussions, and were quite close. Now, we send each other email about every three months, updating each other on our lives, but that's about it.

And my third close college friend, J., I haven't talked to since a few months after I graduated. He was a fascinating guy, always packed his daily schedule full of tons of interesting activities and always managing to put together neat and interesting projects that he wanted to talk to me about. We both loved the music from the Final Fantasy series of games and helped each other try to build as complete a collection of FF mp3s as possible. We spent hours throwing frisbees around on campus, and working together on programming projects. And now I have no idea what has happened in his life in the last two years.

I miss all these people. I miss being able to call someone up (or more often, send them an instant messsage) and have them just come over and hang out and watch a movie or chat about anything that was on our minds. I miss making plans with them and going places. I feel like there is a gap in my life where a friend or two could fit nicely, but I don't have anyone to put there.

I work with a lot of older people, most of them at least 50. They aren't interested in what I'm interested in, and I just don't connect well with them on anything other than a very casual level. I live on a college campus, but I'm older than all the undergraduates, and I don't run into the graduate students who live in our apartment complex enough to get to know them. I have a lot of friends online, but no-one very close, emotionally. I've tried meeting some of them, some of you, and it's pleasant and always fun, but it doesn't give me that good-friend connection that I'm looking for.

I know Sarah is going to read this and get worried that I'm unhappy. That's not true. Sarah is my best, closest friend, and I am truly, very happy with her and with my life and our life together. It's wonderful being together, and I love it. But there are still some things that she can't provide me with - not because she's lacking anything, but because it's just something that it's impossible for her to do.

I am happy. I just want something more in my life, but I'm not sure how to get it. I'm trying to pursue anything that might help -- cassiggity just moved to Providence recently, and we get along well online, so I've tried to make plans to do things with her, but they keep falling through.

I don't know how to end this entry. Hmm.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
inkster
Jul. 9th, 2003 09:09 am (UTC)
Not really sure exactly what to say except I understand completely.

I had some really close friends in High School and another group in University. And we used to talk about everything and anything and I could never imagine that we would ever stop having stuff in common. Except now I can't talk to any of them about anything because we just aren't on the same wavelength anymore.

Case in point, my first roommate in first year. She dropped out after first semester, though we kept in touch, which is why she was my first roommate ;) We had so much in common and we had tons of fun together. I couldn't have asked for a better roommate (at least until Seabrooke came along :P). But then she left to go do other things like figure out exactly what she wanted to do with her life, since University obviously wasn't it. And then we had very little in common anymore, and as the time we spend apart increased, it got worse and worse until I couldn't imagine that we'd ever had much in common at all.

So even though I'd love to call her up sometime (wherever she is, I actually haven't heard from her in a while) and get together, I don't know that it would be all that fun anymore.

And as for feeling like you need more friends in your life... I can understand that too. When I lived with Rob a couple of summers ago, things were great. Except that I didn't have any real friends of my own and I would have loved to have had someone around. Not that Rob isn't my very best friend and it's not that there's anything wrong with him... it's just that you need more people in your life than just one person, no matter how excellent they are. And it's not that I wasn't happy with Rob, because I was very happy, it was just that I needed another kind of relationship as well.

As to how to solve that problem, I don't know :P Friends, especially good ones, are hard to come by and especially hard to force. It seems to me that they just happen, kind of like relationships.

Anyway. Don't know if that helps any at all, but I can understand what you're saying and I think it's pretty common.
rfreebern
Jul. 9th, 2003 10:35 am (UTC)
Thanks. I know that what I was feeling when I wrote this really wasn't anything new or novel, but I think I just needed to get it out of me so that I could move on. Since I posted this I've been feeling a lot better. It was just a little temporary melancholy, I think. :)

But thank you for understanding.
cassiggity
Jul. 9th, 2003 10:07 am (UTC)
As soon as things settle down over here, we are so on. This whole moving thing has kind of been hard for Alex and I... we did the long-distance relationship for two years and really haven't spent this much time together in a row... if that makes sense. So we're trying to learn how to get along with each other all over again. I won't even start complaining about money because I don't think comments can be that long... but we're just strapped and cranky lately. I try not to journal that stuff because a lot of "friends" of mine in VA would love nothing more than to hear that I'm unhappy sometimes.

I know how you feel, I'm absolutely lonely here, I have no job and no friends so I'm just in the house all day by myself.

I'm sorry to keep you waiting. We will hang out. I promise.
rfreebern
Jul. 9th, 2003 10:33 am (UTC)
Oh, I didn't at all mean to make you feel guilty! I'm looking forward to finally getting to spend some time together, when one of our plans actually does work out. I understand that you and Alex need time to be together now, and I definitely understand the "strapped for cash" part. So don't worry about it -- I'm sure the right opportunity will come along soon enough. :)
okb
Jul. 9th, 2003 10:36 am (UTC)
Hoo boy, yeah. I think about this kind of thing every once in a while. It seems to be very easy (at least for me) to lose touch with people. I had various friends throughout elementary school and junior high and high school who just sort of faded out of my life, and then of course since I graduated from high school most of those people aren't really part of my life anymore. (Then, of course, I met people at college, and I've developed friendships with them. In fact, it seems like the friendships I've made there are way more deep/fulfilling/whatever than the ones from before.)

I wish I had something meaningful to say but I really am not good at finding friends and mostly just try to reciprocate when it seems like someone likes me. I think what you say is true: a lot of times fiendship is pretty random, just based on watching Steven Segal movies or throwing frisbees or random stuff. This makes it kind of hard to know just from normal interaction who you might have a good friendship with. It's unpredictable.

But hey, man, although it's not practical for me to drop by for a pizza, if you want to chat about random stuff I'm up for that most anytime.
rfreebern
Jul. 9th, 2003 10:44 am (UTC)
I'm not really sure what kind of comments I expected to get on this entry, just that felt like I wanted to hear what other people thought on the subject. I think I wanted to know that I'm not the only one who feels like this, too, even though I knew that already. Sometimes it's just nice to hear others say it so I know I'm not alone.

Thanks. I appreciate your friendship, even though you're thousands of miles away. And a pizza would be fun, next time I'm in CA or you're in the northeast. :) Plus, it would have Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Onions, Pineapple, Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, Sausage, Ground Beef, Chicken, Parsley, and a perfectly-baked crust.
maes
Jul. 9th, 2003 11:40 am (UTC)
I know how you feel. It appalls me the number of people who have passed through my life in the past few years and the fact that I'm not in contact with any of them anymore. Surprisingly, my closest friends now are the ones that I had in highschool. It's quite bizarre.
fmi_agent
Jul. 9th, 2003 11:57 am (UTC)
a shot in the dark, so to speak
a hobby can be a Good Thing for meeting people, e.g. via classes of the type that meet once a week at night for a few weeks. perhaps URI has some of those.

in case you happen to be interested in photography and able to get up to Providence fairly easily: i'll mention that there is (or at least was) an excellent photo teacher named Angelo Marinosci, Jr., who taught through the Brown Learning Community in Providence.
isquiesque
Jul. 9th, 2003 09:12 pm (UTC)
**hugs** Friends are fairly random, I think. It's not the sort of thing for which you can go and look and generally be successful in the search, so you'll probably find one when you're least expecting it. Hang in there!
(Anonymous)
Jul. 9th, 2003 09:14 pm (UTC)
Free bad advice.
As others have said, this seems to be a pretty common post-college feeling, and I know I felt the same way. That forced/instant comaraderie that comes from sharing close living quarters is hard to come by when you're in an apartment with one other person and rarely see others. The situation seems to be that, in college, whatever mood you're in (adventurous, movie-watching, pissed off, focused on work, needing exercise) someone nearby was probably in the same mood, or close enough that you could commiserate or cooperate and have a mutual good time.

The trick becomes expanding your circle of local friends so that you can, spur of the moment, call someone up who is likely to be in the same mood - or have enough people to call that your odds of finding someone go up. Doing this is never as easy as it sounds - how do you get out there and meet people?

Yeah yeah, everybody says join a club, go to a church, etc. The best way to do it, from someone who has been through this recently, is to find something that you want to get better at. This is easier now that you're an adult - you don't need to dislike activities just because your parents made you do them. Think about where you want to be in 10 years - a better photographer maybe? A pianist? Sound tech for the community theater? Maybe learning to rock climb at the gym is worth a shot. Maybe watching Cirque du Soleil on Bravo made you think about taking up gymnastics or yoga. Whatever. The key is to be honest with yourself and find something that you truly feel driven to experience - ideally, something that groups of people will do. Then give it a shot.

Try one thing, try five different things... go to group meetings, get on mailing lists, sign up for lessons. Don't go out planning to meet people - go with the goal of learning and achieving everything you can. With most things, a great way to do that is to talk to other people, anybody more experienced than you - and even those who are just starting. You'll find it's easy to have conversations when you're actually interested in the subject. Best of all, along the way you'll probably start meeting people who have the potential to be good friends. See them a few times at the gym, or on hikes, or at free concerts in the park, and soon they'll recognize you and your circle will expand. It may take a few years to feel surrounded by good friends again, but this time you'll probably have more in common than the random folks that Myers-Briggs assigned you in college.

Wow, I sound like a pamphlet from a guidance counselor.
superherobear
Jul. 10th, 2003 09:13 pm (UTC)
I think maybe life is a little funny that we're only really friends at the point that we have some kind of common ground on which we can be friends. Without that common ground there's no touching point for us to converge.

That having been said i know how you feel, too. But it's hard feeling that way; how do you make friends once the old ones slowly mist off? How do you meet people the right age, and with the right interests?

It's hard. Life is busy. We don't always have the time to go off and start a new hobby or join a volunteer organisation. If you don't work with people your own age it can be really crippling and alienating. So what's left if you can't do any of that? Bars? Clubs? Hoping to meet a chance person on a random night out?

I don't have the time to join extra organisations. I'm working some 70+ hours a week right now. I sleep a LOT because my job is physically taxing. The people i work with are all WAY too young, or WAY too old. I'm glad that you at least have Sarah. While she fullfills the spot of wife, best friend, lover, confidant.. there's always a need for more than one person. I hope you find some friend somewhere before you start to feel too lonley. In the meantime? Give your wife a hug!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

February 2011
S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728     
Powered by LiveJournal.com