excerpt | friends of a certain age

In your 30s and 40s, plenty of new people enter your life, through work, children’s play dates and, of course, Facebook. But actual close friends — the kind you make in college, the kind you call in a crisis — those are in shorter supply.

As people approach midlife, the days of youthful exploration, when life felt like one big blind date, are fading. Schedules compress, priorities change and people often become pickier in what they want in their friends. No matter how many friends you make, a sense of fatalism can creep in: the period for making B.F.F.’s, the way you did in your teens or early 20s, is pretty much over. It’s time to resign yourself to situational friends: K.O.F.’s (kind of friends) — for now.

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. 

External factors are not the only hurdle. After 30, people often experience internal shifts in how they approach friendship. Self-discovery gives way to self-knowledge, so you become pickier about whom you surround yourself with, said Maria Paul, the author of the 2004 book “The Friendship Crisis: Finding, Making, and Keeping Friends When You’re Not a Kid Anymore.” 
“The bar is higher than when we were younger and were willing to meet almost anyone for a margarita,” she said.

Manipulators, drama queens, egomaniacs: a lot of them just no longer make the cut.

Thayer Prime, a 32-year-old strategy consultant who lives in London, has even developed a playful 100-point scale (100 being “best friend forever”). In her mind, she starts to dock new friend candidates as they begin to display annoying or disloyal behaviour. Nine times out of 10, she said, her new friends end up from 30 to 60, or little more than an acquaintance.

“You meet someone really nice, but if they don’t return a call, drop to 90, if they don’t return two calls, that’s an immediate 50,” she said. “If they’re late to something in the first month, that’s another 10 off.” (But people can move up the scale with nice behaviour, too, she added.)

Having been hardened by experience, many people develop a more fatalistic view of friendship.

“My ideas of friendship were built by ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Diner,’ ” he said. “Your friends were your brothers, and anything but total loyalty at all costs meant excommunication. As you get older, that model becomes unrealistic.” By that point, you have been through your share of wearying or failed relationships. You have come to grips with the responsibilities of juggling work, family and existing friends, so you become more wary about making yourself emotionally available to new people. “You’re more keenly aware of the downside,” said Mr. Koppelman, 46. “You’re also more keenly aware of your own capacity to disappoint.”

“I haven’t really changed my standards for what it means to actually be friends,” he concluded. “It’s just that I use the word ‘friends’ more loosely. Making the real kind, the brother kind, is much harder now.”

 

williams, a. (2012) friends of a certain age, why is it hard to make friends over 30?

 

 

31 Chapel Lane
excerpt | why,

sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Carroll, L. (1865) Alice In Wonderland

31 Chapel Lane
excerpt | be a rainbow

you may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
do not complain.
make every effort to change things you do not like.
if you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.

angelou, m. (2008) letter to my daughter

31 Chapel Lane
excerpt | nobody climbs

on skis now and almost everybody breaks their legs but maybe it is easier in the end to break your legs than to break your heart although they say that everything breaks now and that sometimes, afterwards, many are stronger at the broken places. I do not know about that now but this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.

hemingway, e. (1964) a moveable feast

31 Chapel Lane
excerpt | if you can talk with crowds

and keep your virtue,
or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
if all men count with you, but none too much;

if you can fill the unforgiving minute
with sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
and - which is more - you'll be a man, my son. 

kipling, r. (1895) if: a father's advice to his son

31 Chapel Lane
excerpt | if you can make

one heap of all your winnings
and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
and lose, and start again at your beginnings
and never breathe a word about your loss;

if you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
to serve your turn long after they are gone,
and so hold on when there is nothing in you
except the will which says to them: 'Hold on'

kipling, r. (1895) if: a father's advice to his son

31 Chapel Lane
excerpt | if you can dream

- and not make dreams your master;
if you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
if you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
and treat those two impostors just the same;

if you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
and stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools.

kipling, r. (1895) if: a father's advice to his son

31 Chapel Lane
excerpt | if you can keep your head

when all about you
are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
but make allowance for their doubting too;

if you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
or being hated, don't give way to hating,
and yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise.

kipling, r. (1895) if: a father's advice to his son

 

31 Chapel Lane
excerpt | the road

goes ever on and on
down from the door where it began.
now far ahead the road has gone,
and I must follow, if I can,
pursuing it with eager feet,
until it joins some larger way
where many paths and errands meet.
and whither then? I cannot say

tolkien, j.r.r (1954) the fellowship of the ring

31 Chapel Lane
excerpt | the hidden and awful wisdom

which apportions the destinies of mankind is pleased so to humiliate and cast down the tender, good, and wise; and to set up the selfish, the foolish, or the wicked. oh, be humble, my brother, in your prosperity! be gentle with those who are less lucky, if not more deserving. think, what right have you to be scornful, whose virtue is a deficiency of temptation, whose success may be a chance, whose rank may be an ancestor's accident, whose prosperity is very likely a satire.

thackeray, w.m (1847) vanity fair

31 Chapel Lane