What was the strangest way you’ve met a friend?
For me, it was during the spring semester of my freshmen year in college. I was at a shuttle stop, patiently waiting for the bus to appear, when a strange boy approached me.
“Excuse me, are you Jenny?”
“Is your AIM screenname B________?”
“Yes…how do you know this?”
“I see you on all my friends’ Buddy Lists! I always ask them who it is, and they say, ‘Oh that’s Jenny.’ They’ve shown me pictures of you, but I had never met you in person. Oh! I’m Eric, by the way.”
It turned out that we were headed for the same destination, so we sat next to each other on the shuttle bus and chatted the entire way.
We discovered that we had more than mutual friends in common. We had similar interests, and we even shared a class that semester! (It was a very large class in a lecture hall, so we hadn’t noticed each other.) Not only had I made a new friend, I had also gained a study buddy.
One of the many regular game and beer nights I used to host back in my school days.
(Faces blurred to protect privacies, as I am no longer close to most of these people.)
People have always told me that it becomes much more difficult to meet new people after you leave school. Be it lack of time, new obligations and priorities, less opportunities to attend social gatherings, or even just plain laziness! I, for one, know that I have fallen victim to the pressures of adulthood and became became more focused on my career and family as my circle of friends ceased growing…and eventually began to shrink.
And if Eric approached me today, using those same words? I probably would pass him over as a creep, as my cynicism and distrust have both magnified over the years.
To be completely honest, I can’t remember the last time I met a new friend. Acquaintances, definitely. But people I count as good friends? No.
I’m not entirely sure what the point of this post is. All I know is that I recently saw, via Facebook, that Eric had gotten married and I thought back to the first time we had met. How we hadn’t spoken to each other in years, and how so many people I once considered good friends are now merely social network buddies who share major life events through semi-public — in other words, impersonal — announcements and pictures.
But surely I am not the only one who has noticed this trend with each passing year.
I can see how that could happen. I moved to my husband’s home town two years ago when we got married, and only knew his friends. It didn’t take long to meet some new people, and oddly enough one of my best friends was a Weddingbee user! She noticed the town on my invites and pm’d me, which led to texting, then lunch, and now we’re very close friends. It’s kind of funny how on one hand social media and technology can isolate people, and other times bring them closer together. We don’t have any mutual friends so we probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, and I would have missed out on such a great relationship.
I’ve been struggling with this myself- how to make new girlfriends now that college is over, and many of my friends have moved away, either for more school or for full time jobs. I am back in my hometown and it is tricky to meet new people without coming off as creepy.
I recently finished “MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For A New Best Friend” by Rachel Bertsche – it’s a great read and I really recommend it. The author goes on an active hunt to find new friends in Chicago.
I think that losing touch with school friends as you enter your adult life, family and career has happened through the ages. People used to sit and reminisce, maybe pull out a box of old photos and wonder “where they are now.” But now, in the age of social media, it’s no mystery. They’re out there, on Facebook, telling you where they are. It does leave one with a bittersweet feeling, I agree.
Yup – same trend in my life, especially now that I’m a mom! There’s just not enough time in a day… and it takes more effort than I’m willing to give to get to know new people when I already have an inner circle of friends who know me inside and out. I am still really closely connected to my college friends even though we’ve all gotten busier and despite some moving further away. We have daily email chains that keep us in the loop with each other’s lives. But hey, Carol told me you were going to be in LA in September… maybe we can all grab dinner together! 🙂