On review, itís likely that Iíve retained the majority of my friendships by way of good fortune rather than through any highly developed interpersonal skills. That being said, I am immensely lucky for the friendships that I have.
Recently, a friend confessed her new yearís resolution to me. It was simple, wholesome and deeply admirable. The resolution was to develop more friendships. She was troubled that her declaration would make her seem tragic, pathetic perhaps. This made me wonder. How, on this great earth, could this person possibly be deprived of friendships? This fine individual epitomises compassion, curiosity and optimism. There is a dearth of endearing adjectives to heap upon this kindly soul.
Surely then, I reasoned, that the need for her to undertake a newfound quest is at least partly due to societal failings; given she has so few. As a dedicated professional, she mused that an ailing social agenda had one root cause: babies. Not her babies, mind, the babies of others. I vowed not to let my hypothetical spawn seriously undermine my capacity to maintain links with the people that are presently the crux of my existence. Obviously, Iím not the most maternal of creatures, but I felt for this friend of mine.
How do we build new relationships in age of separation?
Turn off Facebook?
Get outside the office?
Develop an interest?
Walk the dog?
Chat people up?
Ask to be introduced to mutual friends?
As the conversation on my friendís resolution developed; another party made the observation that itís easier to begin an intimate relationship than it is to make a friend. Sadly, I fear this furthers my assumption of a societal woe. Continuing by that logic (to the extent of hyperbole), itís more socially appropriate to ask a stranger if theyíd like to fornicate, than to ask them to engage in cordial conversation.
How did we let this happen? I know Iíve let a few of my friendships falter through inattention, selfishness and damned laziness.
The day passed slowly until something fascinating happened. As I was a sweaty mess on the treadmill at my local gym, a lady turned to me and giggled. I returned her gaze and she smiled, saying, ďdamn that guy next to you smells good.Ē Laughing, I agreed. The fellow next to me smelled far better than any exercising adult should ever be allowed to. It was plain unfair that this guy smelled better than I do after a shower, and a spritz of liquid that costs far more than petrol. This is it, I thought: this basic, human interaction is diminishing.
In light of my friendís search for fulfilling platonic relationships, Iíve decided I need to do two things - at least. I need to express my love for the friends that I have; and capitalise on the chances offered to make more. Itís not much; but itís better than propositioning someone on a busÖ