Friendships, and connecting. Can you or can you not. I cant!

To me, decades ago, friendship and or relationships felt semi- hard to achieve, but obtainable. However, these days, forming relationships seems fruitless, almost impossible. It is not to say I do not like anyone in general, but the connections do not feel the same. This is my opinion, and you do not have to agree, but the process of making friends does not feel normal anymore.

Friendship is a word that carries weight, and honor, but at the same time, friends can turn into complete strangers in an undecided and unspecified amount of time. Individuals break apart for different distinct reasons, here are examples, a huge fight occurred, loss of similar interest as you age, illnesses (health issues), growing apart, marriages and children, political views, individuals move away, and sometimes there will never be a reason. Think about all the friendships you accumulated from birth to the present day. Are any of them lifelong friends? How long have you known them? Do you see one another often, can you count on your friend (s), and trust them?

I have one friend, I do not see her often, but there is frequent communication through a phone via text messages. But what about the days when there was zero social media (except for AOL). For those who do not know, AOL is America online, and it began in 1983 as the largest media company of the early internet, dominating email, internet connectivity, online news, and chat. AOL chat room appeared on your home computer only and included multiple people (up to 23) and one on one chats. Before the nineties ended, people had to TALK to one another, nowadays you can maintain the idea of a friendship because of apps like Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, tic tock, email, and the good ole — cellphone.

Wishing someone a “Happy birthday” is advertised with a post on Facebook for the world to see, while a text is stimulatingly shot off to one’s phone, leading that person to think “man what good friend (s) I have.” Things have become extremely impersonal. At times, I do not feel the need to check in with certain individuals, because their social media app tells me everything, from the breakfast they ate that one morning, to last night’s concert. Social media and phones have allowed people to disregard one another’s feelings. For example, one could say to a close friend “I feel like we never talk” or ``hang out,” and said friend could easily reply with what do you mean? “I have texted you every day for two weeks, we have talked every day since then.” How do you respond to that?

Attend a get together or an event, guarantee someone will be on their phone, which is fine. We use our phones for calls, texts, people have children, or use their phones for work purposes. Acceptable. But technology has made it easier for people to disconnect from each other, without anyone acknowledging, admitting, or realizing it.

If you were born before the social media craze, boredom meant you would find your friends, use the earth as your playland, explore the outdoors, take walks, ride bikes, use creative thinking, ideas, create projects, talk, listen to music, laugh, take photos on your camera for scrapbooks and to create memories. Nowadays, it is easier to scroll on the phone, zone out, and compare what you are doing with your time to someone else’s fun. People tend to create “memories” to show the world, and your friends are just props, doing the same thing. I would not have considered certain folks to be friends of mine if we did not party or drink together back in the day.

Growing apart is another big antidote for an ending friendship. I do not remember the specifics, but around the age of 28–29, I started to detach from others. In 2012, I had a baby, spent a substantial amount of time with him, and my feelings shifted from one life to another in an instant. After that I met my fiancé and devoted all my time to him and my son. Then health and personal issues occurred, and I became even more introverted. As we age, we go through life changing events, your mindset and who you were at any given point can change in a blink of an eye.

What used to be important, is not, your view of the ever-changing world is different, and connections with certain people are not there anymore. The updated version of yourself finds it hard to relate to old friends and finding things to talk about feels forced. As someone who enjoys alone time in every aspect of the word, it has gotten lonely and sad to think about. How can I spend half my life extremely close to someone, and one day feel like complete strangers? The only way a conversation takes place and continues, is if I talk about the other person and their life, and their life only. Well, what about me?

Regardless, it’s normal to lose friends as we age. Completely normal. I just desire real connections without doing much. Trust is number one, but the ability to relate to someone through talking, laughing, sharing ideas, and helping one another grow is a key factor. To be your authentic self around those you consider friends, is amongst one of the best feelings. Scary to think we could be all alone in life, especially when we are older and could use the help. Therefore, finding a bigger purpose, or hobbies that inspire, make you happy and keep you going is a way to combat loneliness or lack of friendships. Trying new hobbies, changing careers, joining a sport, or having a creative outlet such as writing can help us work though our feelings, and meet likeminded people and create NEW friendships.

Going forward, continue to work being the best version of yourself, and really learn to enjoy your own company. Loneliness helps us discover who we truly are. A goal of mine is to do more alone, go to a movie or dinner solo, and worry less about what others may think. If an opportunity presents itself, be open to making new friendships. However, we come into the world alone and go out alone. What is the true meaning of friendship? Has it stayed the same or did it change? What is it to you?

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Kahlen Riviello

Kahlen Riviello

Mom, partner, loves to eat, cook, sunlight, traveling, and here to write and sort the thoughts out of my head.