Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Connections


"Go through your phone book, call people and ask them to drive you to the airport. The ones who will drive you are your true friends. The rest aren't bad people; they're just acquaintances."
 
- Jay Leno
 
Friendship is an interesting topic, as there are different levels of friendships:

Best friend(s)
Good friend(s)
Friend(s)
Colleague(s)
Acquaintance(s)
I know them

What's the deciding factor on where you would classify someone if somebody asked you if someone else was a friend of yours?

Time? Shared experiences? Operating on the same wavelength? Amount of conversations?


I've come to the realisation that I'm the type of person that has many acquaintances but few close friends. I know a ton of people through school, the organisations I've been a part of growing up, and through various networking/social events. However, that doesn't mean I'm good friends with anyone of them. What I mean by this is that if I were stuck in a really tough bind or had an emergency, outside of my family I would only feel comfortable asking about 4 people for help, and knowing I would receive it...and out of these 4 maybe 1 or 2 really "get" me. This is further amplified by being half a world away.

I've never had an issue making friends, but it's such a subjective term. Someone who you might consider a friend might not consider you a friend but an acquaintance. Coming to this realisation with someone can feel like getting a swift kick to the groin. Though I'm classified as an ENTJ, I see myself more as an outgoing introvert. This means I'm not shy, I enjoy socialising, and I can give great presentations or performances but I need my "me" time to recharge my batteries. I enjoy the company of others but I have no issues doing things on my own and prefer it at times. Going to movies, restaurants, cafe's, trying new hobbies and going on trips on my own are no big deal. Because of this I think it's been a bit detrimental for me on the "making new friends" front.
 
Allow me to elaborate.
 
When you're a kid it's easy to make friends (for those that aren't socially awkward.)  A conversation typically goes like this:

You like Nintendo? I like Nintendo! Let's be friends!

Are you skipping rocks? Cool! Can I join?
 
  
There's something about the innocence of being a child and being naturally curious about the world around you that makes it easy to spark new friendships. This still holds all the way up through university since it's usually when you're "free" from your parents and are a full fledged adult. It's when you get out into the real world that making genuine friendships is much more difficult, especially moving to a city where you don't know anyone...let alone a new country. People are friendly and will help you out for sure, but making actual, real connections...these are hard to come by. Isn't that what life is about, the connections you make with others?
 
There isn't as much time to get to know new people in the "real world" as there is in school. People have jobs or schooling to do, sometimes on odd schedules. People make time for their already established friendships, significant others, or even start their own family so making time for new people isn't a priority. People can't be as carefree as they have a professional reputation to maintain, but not always. People are already set in their ways or are judgmental so they won't make an effort and so on. From my experiences with others here I've noticed the trend that ex-pats generally hang out with other ex-pats. This is because they're new to the country and open to meeting new people, and it just so happens the people that are also open to meeting new people are other ex-pats and because of the reasons stated above. But it also takes two to tango...so I'm not faultless here.
 
 
I like doing new things, but I don't always ask people to join since I don't have any issues going on my own. Sometimes I get selfish and don't compromise on doing things, or maybe I make snap judgments too quickly about people. It can also be that I haven't met enough people with similar interests. As with everything else, I could always try harder. I could put myself in new and different situations, initiate more and not be so quick to judge, or refrain from falling back into old habits. 
 
You want to think you get what you put in right? So if you don't put in any time and effort to get to where you want to be or do what you want to do, you'll reap what you sow.

So note to self...try harder.

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