Had the worst possible week this week, myself and my immediate circle of friends. That really got me thinking about how we choose friends.
We cannot choose family, that is something we are born with. We cannot choose the people who come into our lives (you can steer the course of how many people you may choose to meet) that is controlled through fate and serendipity. However the choice of friends is one of the freedoms and liberties we get to enjoy in our lifetime.
Common logic would dictate that we choose friends based on shared experiences. This would include:
The basic premise is to confine individuals to the same 4 dimensional space and assume some form of chemistry takes place between certain individuals. The molecular theory of bonding and activation energy would hold true for friends as it does for individual particles.
The second assumption is that friends must have a common interests. Communication creates and builds bonds. If there is nothing to talk about then people would not hang out together.
Wisdom of elders tend to believe the lifetime friendships are those that are forged in middle or high school. There are no conflicting interests and agendas apart from trying to outdo each other in grades, at most in chasing a girlfriend/ boyfriend.
The last few years, I have observed a few things. The friends I was close to in the past have drifted apart. Those that I was distant with have come closer together (and I am sure as time marches forward, my group of friends will realign again). And new individuals have entered my life that have been absolutely amazing. (Some of these friends I have never met in person and you just hit it off)
Dating apps are an amazing way to meet random strangers that are not too hard on the eyes (Being superficially attracted is a good first step). Over the course of last year, I’ve met a few awesome colleagues who turned out to be awesome friends (Never seen them in person but we communicate a lot over the internet). I’ve met a good friend on Tinder (Not friend zoned, ahem, I had a girlfriend at that time and really wanted to find a way to meet more random people). And of course some other cool folks in the meetups I attend. There were also some folks I was hesitate to befriend but over time they turned out to be awesome (and of course vice versa)
The general ingredients for friendships to sustain are:
- Sacrificing of time
- Pretend to give a shit about other people’s interest
- Having a common experience or interest
- Similar tone/ vocabulary used in communication
The last point I think is the glue that holds relationships together. The list sounds callous, but from a logical standpoint it mostly holds true.
Sometimes I can’t shake the feeling that my friends I have not met for a long time have a fear of not having anything to say. It’s like there is an obligation to talk. About something. Anything. However, I think the best friends are the ones that are silent and say nothing. There are a few good friends of mine where we just sit, have a drink for an hour or two. And then just head off without saying a word.
At the end of the day, who would you call a friend?
For me, it’s someone who challenges me to grow and learn.
For my friends I know it’s someone who will be there when they are in trouble. Because of different agendas and priorities, we would rank differently in each other’s list of friends. And time allocated to each person would reflect that ranking. However, if time were not an issue, I think it’s fully possible multiple people would be ranked the same.
That logic allows leads to the common fallacy that since person A is my friend and person B is my friend, they should get along. The chances of that happening is still as good as a coin flip.
Let me know your thoughts or if there is a logical framework to classify friends (yes yes, relationships should not be quantized) but that might be an amazing way to figure out how much time to spend with each friend and work out a schedule :)