Today marks the anniversary of this blog! That’s right. Exactly one year ago, I made my first post on here. And given that this is my 34th post, I think I’ve done pretty well! It hasn’t always been easy to come up with new interesting things to say and updating a blog on a regular basis does take time and discipline (although my interesting in writing novels certainly developed discipline in this regard). The topic for this post, however, was easy enough and elaborates on a new way I’ve learned to look at friendships.
Well, a third level of freedom! What have I discovered now? My first post on freedom was about the aftermath of my first term at grad school and how given the intensity of the work, I learned to get rid of academic perfectionism. My second level of freedom occurred just over a month ago when I decided to stop looking for a girlfriend and decided to just keep doing what I love and let the girl follow. Romance happens when you least expect it. (For convenience I’ve created a new category Freedom where I’ve placed these three freedom posts and where I’ll place more if more come). What I’m going to elaborate on now relates to this (indeed it can probably incorporated into it, but given that it didn’t automatically follow and it took a month to do so, I’m going to treat it distinctly). And what does it involve? Well, it involves not just “letting the girl follow”, but also just “letting friends follow”. In other words, I’ve decided to not put so much energy into getting closer friends, but to simply do what I love and let any friendships develop naturally.
There are various levels of friendship. In my third post on my blog On the Difference Between Friend and Acquaintance I described (at least how I see it) what being a friend entails and it requires more time than being a mere acquaintance with someone. The time factor is key, especially when it’s outside of anything formal like courses, a job, clubs, societies, etc and you spend a lot of time with someone in order to be close friends with them. But in order for you to develop such a connection with someone, requires more than just the two of you being nice people. Two relatively nice people who see each other on a regular basis because of, say, school or a job can become acquaintances fairly easily. But in order for them to become close friends, they need to spend a lot of time with each other outside of this. But in order for them to get to such a level of close friendship, they need to have a “special connection” between them.
It’s because of this “special connection” that the vast majority of people that we interact with in our lifetime don’t become close friends. It isn’t because we aren’t nice people. We are. But you also have to share a bond. The number of people that a person has a “special connections” can be very small as a result. I’m really beginning to see and understand that this is how friendships basically work and it has caused me to re-evaluate my methods for obtaining friends. For example, in my undergrad university Acadia, I knew two philosophy majors who are a great example of this. At least one of them was certainly an introvert. The other I chat up on facebook every now and then and when I was talking to her about the difficulty of obtaining friendships just over a year ago, she actually said that while she did have friends, she hadn’t really developed any close friends except for that other philosophy major and they ended up dating.
This has caused me to revise my own methods in a lot of was. I no longer to into a social situation whether it be with one person or a whole bunch of people with the mindset that I’ll develop a really good friendship with someone, but let the “special connection” happen naturally like it should. Such a method automatically has a lot of advantages (similar to how I explained in a previous post that I’ll “let the girl follow”). It means that I don’t have any expectations on anyone or that anyone will end up treating me as someone more than an acquaintance or a friend I see only every now and then at best. Thus I no longer feel disappointed in anyone.
Now obviously the optimal situation is where I do develop a “special connection”. This is why I do what I love. People who have more in common with each other have more of a chance of developing a friendship, which is partly why I’m going to start a writing club this fall (I have gotten four other students interested in this!), as well as an autism support group. The realm of writers and autistics are certainly two potential groups for making friends (though like I said above I hold no expectations). I’ve also met a girl who lives in Waterloo on a dating site and she’s an introvert as well and we text/chat on a regular basis (and we aren’t dating, we’re just remaining friends).
There you have it! The solution to friendship and loneliness. Now I just have to run with it…