I'm curious, how do you all make friends in your adult years? Obviously, it's not the same as when we were boys, but I've found it a bit difficult lately.
I'm 29, and a graduate student. There are a few guys in my graduate program, and we get along great. But I wouldn't necessarily call them "friends". They're nice, we hang out once in a while. I've hung out a bit more with one guy who I thought we could "hit it off" -- and we had lunch a few times and played tennis a few times. We have very similar interests. And yet, although I gave it a shot and put some effort into it, I didn't feel that "chemistry" -- and I'm using this term in a friendship, not romantic, sense. And it's not like he didn't like me, we still get along great, but the spark wasn't there.
I contrast it with my best friend who I met in high school. He is completely different from me in every way. Different cultural background, different education training, differing tastes/likes/preferences, he's a country person, I'm a city person. And yet, we still get along after all these years.
So all of this makes me think and ask -- why are you friends with your friends, the ones you made as an adult? How did you start these friendships in adulthood? How would you define who is or isn't your friend?
I suggest a search of the forums for previous threads on this -- you'll see several responses already made.
The "chemistry" thing is interesting. I know what you mean. Some people I like, and I may not know why. Others I find absolutely boring, and I don't know why.
One thing I notice is that once in a blue moon I get in a group that wants to talk about media: movies, TV, music. Of course our experience has to overlap. And I love it a lot more than talking to people about the usual things: work, politics, this or that funny thing that happened to so-and-so. So for me, it's often about, "Oh, yeah, I think that's cool too."
Yet one man I hang with sometimes... all we talk about is the funny thing that happened to one of us, or such, and it's so authentic I love doing it.
I still haven't met those with whom I feel "chemistry". The closest I come to authentic friendships are the guys I met through hosting exchange, who are now adults. My worldview is very different from the local culture around me, so i don't have any friends with whom I hang out regularly. I am not giving up on the prospect of that, but I stopped looking for it where I know it is not.
One reason for developing friendships throughout a life time is that it expands one's base of networking which to me is crucial for my survival. I'm not one who professes "rugged individualism" as a way of life. I know my strengths as a man, but I equally know my weaknesses and struggles as a man. I have addictive behaviors as well as besetting sins (Yes, I still believe in sin.) Thus, I can't trust myself to go it alone trying "to solve life's persistent questions" as Garrison Keillor says every week on Prairie Home Companion.
Friends keep me accountable; extend grace and mercy when I need encouraging; and become a phalanx of warriors who keep me focused on finishing well. Friends "love the hell out of me" with a straight forward love that beams truth into my life rather than the "pious piffle" of "I'm OK, You're OK" crap of post-modern society.
I'm always on the hunt to find and then invite men to join me in this common goal. Some answer the invitation and some don't. Those who reject the invitation may have good reasons for not getting aboard. They may not be ready or they already have commitments that take precedence over my invitation.
My prayer is that I can give something in return to support and love my friends as much as they give to me.
Once again, I quote the old saying which has been true all my life:
“Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold"
What you describe is the perfect hypothetical friend, but can you say that such friendships exist in the real world? I have found it extremely difficult to get passed the 'Sup' stage with friends--you know "Sup?" "Nothin'. Sup with you?".
If you have found the secret to getting past this barrier then, Sensei, I am your humble student.
I can say that those types of friends exist, with absolute certainty. I have several friendships of this type...and only several. Quality, not quantity.
By all means, be friendly with as many people as you want. But I always make a distinction between friends (lower case) and Friends (upper case) because Friendships can take years to develop.
Cultivating a Friendship can be a lot of work, but it is SO worth it.
So I'll ask you the same question I asked Davis--how do you get past the "Sup" stage?
That's when you crack open that beer in your hand.
Reference my comment in the "Does It Make You Less of a Man If You Don't Drink" post.
Unfortunately, that often leads to chasing married women around the bar, not meaningful, soulful discussion. ;)
You're stopping too soon. After you've drank and been rejected enough, you pour another, sit down with your new found buddy and say, "Women".
Ok. I'll try that. I usually go right to the fall down stage. Looks like I've been missing a step.