Making Friends Is Work

Everyone always talks about relationships as rough. It’s always modern dating blah-blah-blah.

Well, modern friendships in the digital age is tough. So many people seem to have a 1,000 facebook friends and not one person they can actually call at 3 am for help with a broken-down car.

There are all these six billion rules in my generation of what you’re supposed to do and not supposed to do. Make one mistake and you won’t be forgiven. You’ll be cast out, blocked, and blamed 100 % for the failure of the friendship on the grounds that you’re a “toxic” person.

In college I had groups or cliques that I hung out with. However, I didn’t realize what they were at the time. I thought they were friends, but really there was always a set hierarchy.  There was the core group and they could never go anywhere without inviting each other.  Not even to a dinner party that only one was invited to.

Yeah, he invited the entire core and they all showed up expecting the host to pay for their meal.  Instead of telling them to pay for their own meal, the host went ahead and paid, yet fumed behind their backs about their behavior.

No one would ever answer their phones.  Everyone had an “anxiety” disorder or some kind of disorder that excused their bad behavior (or in some cases poor grades).  If you asked someone if they wanted coffee, you got, “I don’t know… I guess…”  Then you’d find out later they were complaining about you for “pressuring them”.  

Everyone also had “lists” on you.  Lists of all your carefully recorded flaws that they’d blindside you with when they wanted to end friendships. It’s no wonder my generation has so much social anxiety and fear of social interactions.  From what I saw, we’re messed up in how we interact.

Nevertheless, if I thought my college years were bad, my younger brother’s are apparently far worse. It was at the tip of the iceberg.  He’s lucky because he avoids 99% of the trouble by only socializing with those that approach him and answer their phones or reply to messages.

Living in Japan, I made a close knit group of friends when I first arrived. However, most have moved back to their home countries.  I still skype with them and family. Sometimes we have skype movie night.

I wish I had someone to hang out with regularly in my area. However, I’d rather go to a movie alone than deal with anymore of people who can’t respond to texts or freak out when you ask if they want to have coffee.  It’s too much of a headache.

I actually found dating so much easier to deal with than making friends.  Guys make better sense to me than most women.  I don’t know if it’s just me. My grandmother and mother had the same problem.  We struggle to conform to the rules of female society. It’s a family thing.

Most of the western women in my area behave the same as the ones I met in college.  They play the same games and it’s always about controlling the “power”.  Sheesh, we’re not dating!  Can’t we just be equal?  Why does someone have to size up whether you have the “proper qualities” to make friendship with you worthwhile.

Going to parties, I feel like I’m being analyzed by the Terminator.  It’s like a date interview and they want to know what kind of friend I’ll bring to the table.

Most of my remaining friends live in different prefectures or in other parts of the world.  Nowadays I use social sites to meet people to go on hiking trips and outings.  It’s easier than bothering with the whole “friendship interview” process.

People talk about meeting someone (to date) as tough. I think meeting friends is worse.  There was an article talking about how Hollywood, ever since Sex in the City, has made a fetish of female friendships.  From Bridget’s Jones Diary to “Then and Now” girl friendship is praised as the one thing a girl can count on.

I disagree.  I never fit into any girl packs. I don’t like groups. The women I friended were the type who didn’t mind meeting a person one-on-one. Those women are few in number.  Most want to be seen in “packs” for those social media photos.

Ever since childhood, I have struggled to fit into girl circles. Again and again it always ended in failure. I can work in office groups and school projects, but not in girl clans. It’s always that hierarchy that chafes at me.

Over a year ago, I got stabbed in the back by a woman I trusted and thought was a friend. She sent me a list of all my “flaws” on my birthday and then blocked me from her social media. The attack came out of the blue. She was very young and always talked about how she suffered from crippling social anxiety.

One of the items on her numbered list was that I didn’t talk to her husband enough. Another of her items is that I didn’t talk enough about daily life (like shopping, cleaning, and cooking). The list continued with inanities. Oh, the one that really peeved her is I asked her if she was free for coffee by messenger. She felt “pressured”.

It was the stupidest thing I read.  It shows how limited the options can be here in Japan.  I’d like to make more friends in Japanese female circles, but that’s a story unto itself.  Maybe I’ll go into that story in another post.

In the end it was a good lesson and I’ve learned to just enjoy my own company.

After all, friendships like that consume a lot of money and time. Thinking back (Mrs. List as I’ll call her), sucked up a lot of time and money to meet with. So yeah, savings?

Guess I’ll never have that gaggle of girls like Hollywood always fetishizes. Is that so bad?


7 thoughts on “Making Friends Is Work

  1. I find it hard to make really good girl friends too. Sometimes I get chatting to someone at a party or wedding and we hit it off and talk about going for coffee & exchange numbers. But then when I suggest something they are always busy and then it just doesn’t happen. I also have a nice group of friends here and the dynamic just changed a lot once they all had children. They would all meet up for play dates and meetups during the week when I had to work and talk about their kids the whole time. And then people often end up moving away from where I live which is tough. You can try to keep in touch with skype but it gets harder as time goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very true.

      The coffee thing is so frustrating. It feels like making friendship abroad is tougher than dating.

      It’s true about kids. They definitely change the dynamics. My two closest friends that I skype with have never been interested in children nor dating so they don’t seem to have changed in that way.

      However, I no longer hear much from my friends that have children, except for the photos they post of their kids on facebook. Taking care of their children keeps them occupied.

      I don’t know if you experienced this, but I found that the friends who’d talk about their boyfriend all the time would transition after marriage to talking about their husband all the time (how in love they were yada yada). When the kids were born, they became the focus.


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