I was recently touched by an article posted to Slate, titled "Good-Enough Friends," written by Dan Kois. This article came to me at a time when I've been thinking about friendship and relationships a lot. Here's some context:
The internet is where I think a lot of my teenagers’ friends live too, whether they’re school friends who don’t get together in person or Discord friends who live in Italy or Minnesota or God knows where. And some of them really seem to be the friends of their hearts—people they’ve professed deep secrets to, people who share a worldview.
As it stands, as a 42-year-old man, it's hard to be "up for whatever." But I like to remember those times, when a phone call could set off a serious of social adventures, when meeting someone downtown could lead to numerous connections with numerous other people.
These serendipitous experiences depended on having a good cache of "good enough friends," of being willing to hang out with people and take time for people I didn't know exceptionally well. I have numerous fond memories of hanging out with people I barely knew, or felt were a little awkward. It was important to give these people a chance, and I had time to do it. As Steve Dangle says in relation to hockey, you need to "make your own luck;" it was easier to be lucky socially in my early 20s.
But pretty-good friends now? They all have families. We're all constrained by time and bills and jobs and whatnot. It's harder to get together. It's harder to keep up with one another. It's harder to make those deep conversations that build years of experience.
I was thinking about Chickens, the musical I was in a few years ago. It was hard and it was grueling, and those friendships were overall really positive. I think we had a lot of great conversations with both cast and crew. But once the play was over, once I moved down the Mainland, the relationships, for me, didn't quite continue. I saw how many of the cast and crew had forged their friendships through years of performances and projects. I was glad to get to know those people for that time, but knew I would never really break in to the friend group, because they had already forged those relationships. And that's OK, because I'd already forged good relationships in other places.
And that's the value of those folks you've known forever. Those friendships were forged when there was time to forge them. And some of those friends are people I haven't seen for decades, but the conversation could pick up smoothly, as soon as I see them again.
In 2005, when I moved from the Island to the Mainland, I left most of those forged relationships behind me. I kind of feel like I still never recovered from that move, particularly after I got married. But I'd like to believe that I can catch up with some of those folks, one of these days.
Scattered thoughts from a scattered mind, but hopefully coherent enough.
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