No Friendship Is An Accident For Gen X

If you are from Gen X like I am, your first friends were probably your parents and siblings. At school, they may have been your peers, classmates, maybe even teachers, if you were lucky. For me it was also the man who rang the school bell. When I was in high school, one of the staff at the Physics lab, a man we fondly called ‘thatha’ (old man in Tamil, with due respect to his age) was my friend. Thatha, knew more about resistance, voltmeters and ammeters than I did. He offered to help whenever I was lost, which was all the time.

Then you go on to college. You meet new people who didn’t school with you and you make new friends. I have made some dear friends from the three years as an undergrad. Some of us went on to complete our post graduate programs at another University where we met newer people from other cities and befriended them.

Most people (in Gen X) believe that you don’t make friends at college like you do at school. Maybe because you don’t spend as much time at college as you do at school.

If you are in a job, then you meet people at work. Some of them go on to be your friends. I have continued to be friends with people I met at my first job. Even though I was there only for three years, I have stayed friends with some of my colleagues over the years. When I moved home to a new city and picked another job, I made more friends there. Then another move, another city, another job and still more friends!

Thanks to Facebook, I have been able to stay in touch with friends I made at school, college, in the neighborhood, workplace, my daughter’s school, while walking Maxx, and the like. A quick look at my friends on Facebook helps me reflect on how or where I met these beautiful people. I have memories with each one of them.

I celebrate each one of my friends for the people they are.

The millennials make connections differently. Their definition of a ‘friend’ is most likely to be different from Gen X. My daughter has over 750 friends on Facebook against my 300. And she is only 17. While I can narrate a story about each one of my connections, my daughter says that her generation adds people on to friends lists just by virtue of going to the same school.

I wonder how many people she will be connected to, in thirty years when she is as old as I am now. Will the millennials value every one of their connections like the Gen X does?

Only time will tell.



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