I was clicking through articles recommended to me by Medium and ran across one on friendships in adulthood and it struck a chord in me. It’s something I think about often and the author and I seem to share some of the same opinions on the subject, to an extent.
Does the Nature of Friendships Change in Adulthood?
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
When I was a young child, if I was the average of the 5 people I spend the most time with, I would have been an old person. I did not have friends my own age. I grew up on the outskirts of the capital of the state where I live, just outside of the hustle and bustle of the city. It never seemed that there was a big city just 10 minutes away. My grandparents owned over 300 acres of farm land, the road we lived on bore our family name. Their home was nestled at the very end of the road, ours, just a half mile before it. There were no kids on our road, other than me and my brother.
So, I spent the majority of my time with my grandparents, my Dad when he was able to be home, and horses.
As I got older, I had friends from school, but we didn’t live in the town where I attended school. My Dad wanted us to attend a magnet school, which was 45 minutes away. Play-dates were not easily accommodated. Honestly, I didn’t mind. I was the weird child who preferred to spend time with my grandparents, my books, and the horses, rather than my peers.
It wasn’t until we moved to Florida that I really started making friends and spending time with them away from my house. I had a group of girls and guys I spent quite a bit of time with there; I was rarely ever home. For three years, I felt more free than I have at times as an adult to be quite honest. My mother was so caught up in her own drama, she paid little attention to the things I was doing. I would be out of the house for days on end without her even noticing.
My father committed suicide while we lived there. Those friends were the ones who were there for me through that horrific time. We lived there for 6 months after my Dad’s death, before my mother packed us up and dragged us back to North Carolina.
It was one of the worst times in my life. I was 13 years old and had just lost my Dad and the only true friends I’d ever known.
I had difficulty making friends once we got back here. There were the same girls I had known in elementary school around. We no longer lived 45 minutes away, but in the town where school was. But I found that three years of living in such a free and open place had changed me, while these people were still stuck in a rural mindset. I didn’t think the way they did.
I still tried and managed to find a few true friends; mostly with guys. I still have difficulty maintaining friendships with other women.
As an adult, I find it even more difficult. It’s not that I’m too busy, no one is too busy for anything they truly want. Quite honestly, I don’t believe that we need so many people in our lives that we are truly close to, open with. I enjoy fostering real and true connections, not fleeting ones. Whether they are made online or in real life, I would much rather have a smaller circle than a gaggle of people surrounding me just for the sake of saying, oh I have 500 friends on Facebook.
So, who are my friends, right now? My husband is my best friend, one of the few people I can trust with most anything. I am lucky in that. And though I’ve had someone comment to me before here and say online connections aren’t real (bullshit!), I feel I have a couple of true friends I have met online that I am very thankful to have. I have a “sister” from another mister, who is my sounding board, no matter what I need to talk about, and I for her.
That comes to about 5, and if I’m the average of those 5 people, well, I’m doing better than most.