Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

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Out of Prison Blues

Relating to a line of thought started by recent comments by feydreams, I've been thinking about the difficulties people tend to have in making friends as they get older. It is a general trend, I think, that university is the peak time of socialisation in one's life, and that ease of making deep friendships drops off rapidly after separation from that environment (and, perhaps not coincidentally, people tend to begin a shift towards being more conservative -- this link is worth considering later). There are a number of possible reasons for this general shape of friendship ease. The one I've given most thought to is that the forced situations in University (combined with the usual separation from one's previous life) creates a break from routine, creates a need for friends, and also provides a massive melting pot that allows people to, regardless of economic class/lifestyle (which are not fully formed yet), meet others (at the very least through classes, but also usually through organisations that don't have the kind of stability of membership that other parts of society do). A lot of people have their first meaningful relationships in University, and a lot of the time these relationships are across social boundaries that would be more difficult later (e.g. Lawyer marries Artist). It is also probably a factor that university provides a chance to reinvent oneself (most people take responsibility for their housing for the first time in this part of life), as people's mental shapes tend to be altered by people around them -- people tend to become less fluid and presumably less shapable to each other as they enter the more static world of the workplace.

Other possibilities that might be factors include hormones (could "settling down" be something we're programmed for?), maturity (maybe maturity makes people less interesting, and thus makes it hard for them to make friends? I have toned my personality down over the years)

What are we left with in the post university world? To some degree, we simply look for people who will (to borrow someone's words) simply tolerate us. Work friends tend to be (but do not *always* remain) a slightly more beefy version of acquaintences, more based on nonspecific need for companionship than common viewpoints/interests/etc. Sometimes this even ends up being hanging out with people one doesn't really like (as some people I knew in Columbus admittedly do). I suppose, to complete the discussion by touching on something klari said, I have immersed myself in a pre-graduation life in the hopes to make new friends. Has it worked? I don't really know. Sometimes frustratingly not, and sometimes a bit. I think there is a bit of a mismatch (a third of a generation), and I am admittedly a bit less likable (and less social) than I once was. I never am sure if I'll keep trying, but maybe. I keep hoping to find love, there or elsewhere, but I'm reallllly picky.

Thoughts? Anyone?
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