Lately, I have been thinking about (or is that reviewing?) the nature of friendship, and how we make (and keep or let go) friends is very much linked and related to the friendships we cultivated as children.
When I was a kid, we moved around a bit: Adelaide to Millicent to Mt Gambier as my mother’s marriages went pear-shaped. I started primary school in Millicent: went first to a public school, then a private. Then in around Grade 5 or 6, we moved to Mt Gambier, and another private school. My high school (which I didn’t move from) was in the Mount.
But all this moving around meant that I had a very transient view of friendships. I found friends quite easy to make (well, I had to in order to survive!), but had no trouble whatsoever moving on from them. I also tended to have different groups of friends, and I’d transition between them, depending on what was going on at the time. I have never really had a “best” friend, and this hasn’t really changed over the years. My mother didn’t really like having people over, so we rarely had friends visit: I tended to go to other people’s places.
In my adult life, this pattern has replicated. I could change it, but I haven’t, although the nomad-like nature of my friendships is starting to bother me slightly. And I am putting the type of friendships I cultivate under the microscope. Many of my “longer term” friends are married or in steady relationships, and I am pretty sure my single status gets in the way. In these cases, I think I am a friend of convenience: great for having a stop-gap coffee with every now and then, or to be a “filler” when hubby isn’t home or is doing something else. But not good for much else, and I think these connections will fade over time, as they perhaps should.
Interestingly, I am finding that it is some of my “newer” friendships that are much more satisfying, and I have social networking sites like Facebook to thank (I think). Linking up with work and ex-work colleagues – and their friends – and others has produced a richness of interaction that is really helpful to a transient friendship nomad like me. I can connect with and get to know people on a level that just wasn’t possible before Web 2.0. And what’s more I can maintain the connection if I choose.
And I think that’s the best bit.