This article on making friends as an adult has fascinated me today. I’ve been thinking about friendships lately, as they pertain to both me and the young ‘un. Alex Williams notes,
“As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added.”
It’s also, I would say, why friends from any sort of residential setting–in my case, camp in particular–can be so enduring. With a few stragglers, most of my nearest and dearest come from camp or divinity school. A few are from other settings, although in nearly all cases, I’ve traveled with them or attended an intense type of conference with them.
There’s quite a bit to this, I think. There’s quite a bit to living in places–for even a shortish period of time-where you regularly bump up against people. There’s something to not having to plan or schedule life together, but instead just showing up and figuring it out. Hands down, the best conversations I’ve had have been unplanned–just showing up at the refectory at the same time, or being assigned to the same post-camp work-crew.
I had a conversation the other day with someone who had a lot of complaints about her best friend. “Why not spend less time together?” I said, while thinking inside that this woman sounded like a grade A psycho. “We once got lost on the metro together for nearly a whole day when we were sixteen. This was before cell phones. We just rode around trying to find our way home and talking. We’re for keepsies.”