Oct 21, 2009

An adult's guide to making friends... part 1 (I need friends because...)

What do you find difficult about being an adult?  Is it the having a job thing?  Is is being a parent, having to cook, or running (and cleaning) your home?  One of the most challenging parts about being a grown-up that is most often overlooked is how difficult it is to make friends.

How a four year old makes friends:
1. Go to school
2. See another child
3. Announce that other child is her "best friend"
4. Have a new friend.

How a six year makes friends:
1. Go to school
2. Annoy the child who sits next to him
3. Play some unexplainable game with the same child at recess which includes; screaming, running, waving your arms around and randomly yelling "Behold the chicken"
4. Have a new friend.

This is how adults make friends:
1.  Go to school to drop child off.
2.  Smile at familiar faces, say "how are you" without waiting for a response.
3. Walk/Drive away
4. Go to school to pick child up
5. Stand by other strange adult, smile oddly, say "hi" inaudibly.
6. Think about how they probably wouldn't have much in common with the other, strange adult, and justify by thinking about how busy they are, how they could NEVER fit another person into their busy life, say something dumb when the bell rings, get child.
7. Walk/Drive away
8. ... Friends? What friends? Who has time for friends? They have kids and their kids' soccer, piano, playdates, birthday parties, school functions, church activities, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Obviously there is a desire to have friendship, this is probably why social networking sites like Facebook and  blogging is so popular.  It's like having friends without the commitment or the expectations. Whats not to love? You can "stalk" your friends without having to take the time to pick up the phone and have a conversation, because who knows how long that can take.

The problem with this is of course the decrease in intimacy in a friendship (nevermind the over-abundance of TMI out there on status updates).  What builds greater intimacy, a quick note commenting on a funny picture or a 20 minute phone call catching up and laughing together?  Which is better, looking at a friends pictures on Facebook or looking at a friend's pictures together at their house?  I'll admit that with friends who I had lost contact and who live in other states,  it's been a way to connect, and keep in touch.  But those are not intimate friendships, they are wistful, reminiscent friendships, which are okay to have, but those types shouldn't fill your time.

So, you may be saying to me, okay AJ, what's your flippin' point?

My point, friend (and I use that term loosely), is that you need to make some more friends. There are some really good reasons to make friends.  According to this Australian study, that older people with a large circle of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those with fewer friends.  This Harvard study found that strong social ties could promote brain health as we age.

In a 2006 study of nearly 3000 nurses, it was found that women without a close circle of friends were four times as likely to die from the disease as women with 10 or more friends.  Another study shows that people without friends are more likely to die from heart disease.

What I'm saying is that if you don't have friends you'll die.

Okay, that's not all I'm saying.  What I am also saying is that you need friends to help you feel less alone and able to face lifes challenges.  Not just facebook friends or blogging friends, who are very important too, but real, face to face, chat on the telephone, grab some coffee, can I give you a hug friends.

Tomorrow I will be expanding on this topic by talking about where to find victims potential friends, and how to make them like you set out to build a mutually edifying friendship with them.  I simply am too excited!



  1. Okay, I admit it. I'm stalking you on your blog. It makes me happy. I'm not good at calling. I've never been a caller...but apparently I'm a stalker. :-)

  2. I'm not good at making friends at all. On the internet - yes!! In real life, not so much.

  3. and then if you are a friend... you better show up!! ha ha ha

  4. I have forced myself to join a mom's club Bible study in Turlock. I told myself I had to connect with someone and not just smile and nod. Now my best friend goes and we just sit by each other and smile and nod together. Go figure!


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