Some Thoughts on Building a Successful Friendship

Early this year, I posted a popular article, Some Thoughts on Building a Successful Marriage. In it, I gave my thoughts on what it takes to make a marriage work – and since your spouse is your most important partner in your finances and your life, it’s important to have a successful relationship there.

Recently, “Gary” sent an email asking a similar question:

I read your this post about sucessful marriage every month. I was wondering if you can create such step-by-step guide for friendships.

I have lots of acquaintances but I am not good at making very close friends. It could be that I am not very open with my emotions and also influences from my parents but I can’t seem to make close friends.

Gary’s question is borne out of a number of recent posts on The Simple Dollar about the power of friendships and relationships – a topic that we’ll be expanding upon over the next month and a half with the book club reading of Never Eat Alone.

But what do you do after you’ve met someone and you want to actually build a lasting friendship? Lasting friendships are often the backbone of our social lives and help us in countless ways throughout our professional and personal lives. They come through for us when we need help, plus they provide the constant support and companionship that a friendship can provide.

Building strong friendships comes easily to some – and not so easily to others. Here’s what I’ve learned about building long-term friendships.

First, friendships wither without regular attention. If you don’t keep in touch in some fashion with a friend, they quickly become an “old friend” – someone that you might be able to rekindle a friendship with, but someone who’s not really an active part of your life. Sometimes, that happens due to a change in interest or in lifestyle (having children can often cause this), but quite often it happens unintentionally, particularly among people with very busy schedules.

On the other hand, regular attention to a friendship is the essence of building up a lasting friendship. This doesn’t mean you have to have a friend at your house every day to keep a friendship strong. Instead, it means that without regular contact, a friendship will fade.

What’s “regular contact”? There’s no exact recipe for it, but I usually define it this way: if I don’t have some idea of what my friend is doing in two weeks, I’ll get in touch with them.

Intrigued? Here are my fifteen rules for building lasting friendships with people.

Keep multiple lines of easy communication open. The more tools you have for keeping track of someone, the better. If you have their cell number, save it – you can easily text them or call them. If you have their address, pop it into your address. If they’re on Facebook, friend them. If they’re on Twitter, follow them. This allows you to keep track of what’s going on in their life – and makes it much easier for you to contact them very quickly. The more lines of easy communication you have, the simpler it becomes to simply get in touch with them at your convenience, which lowers the barrier to continued communication.

Make sure it’s easy to contact you, too. This is why I’m on Twitter and Facebook (and other social sites as well) – it makes it very easy for people to contact me. I keep an eye on both services (to see what my friends are doing), but equally important, I drop my own updates on these sites (so that my friends can see what I’m doing).

If you use such services and you’re silent on them, you’re engaging in a one-way conversation – and how interesting is that? Your contribution is absolutely vital – people who are following you or have friended you want to hear what you have to say.

Another tip – mention that you’re on such services in the footers of your email. Add a link to your Twitter feed or your Facebook page.

Make contact regularly, but be worthwhile. Part of the reason I follow lots of people on Twitter and friend lots of people on Facebook is so that I can keep track on what’s actually important in their lives. Few things bug me more than people who contact me without having anything to say. “Hi, how are you, I am fine, what are you doing?” contacts simply aren’t very interesting and they don’t sustain conversation.

Keep an eye on what your friends are up to and if you have something interesting to contribute to what they’re doing or saying, contribute it. Send them a message or an email, or give them a ring. If what you have is actually useful, you’ve taken another step towards cementing a real relationship.

Quite often, the thing you have to share isn’t a material item, nor does it cost anything other than a bit of time. Usually, it’s information. Most human relationships revolve around the exchange of information with one another, and if you provide lots of good information, then you’re a lot closer to being a good friend.

Exchange contact at least once every two weeks. I don’t keep track of this intensely – it’s merely a good rule of thumb with a good principle behind it. If I haven’t sent a message to someone recently, I’ll pay extra close attention to what they’ve been saying and look for some avenue for following up. If they’re not involved in online social networks, I will often spend some time attempting to recall what their most recent concerns were, then follow up with those concerns and see how they’re doing.

Direct contact is key to sustaining a friendship. While it can be useful to pay attention to what they’re saying publicly – and they’re likely following you, too – direct contact is still necessary and useful. You might be up to date with what someone’s doing, but contacting them directly by phone or other means is still the key piece of maintaining (and slowly building) a friendship.

Fill up your social calendar. You should strive to fill up your social calendar as much as you can with plans with friends (and others). A meal eaten alone is an opportunity lost – a chance to catch up with a friend, build another friendship, or get together with a larger group.

Pencil in your lunch breaks. Have friends over for dinner and a movie or a game. Once a week or so, host a dinner party and invite a mix of people. If you get invited to things, make an effort to go.

In short, start keeping a calendar and strive to fill it up with as many social activities as you can, particularly ones where you’re setting up events directly with specific friends (or attending larger events with friends). The more full your social calendar is, the more friends you’re building relationships with.

I confess that I have some difficulty doing this. My biggest challenge is that many of my closest friends are spread across the world, far away from where I live, and I sometimes find it challenging to open the door to new friendships. However, I do know from experience that it works – the more full your calendar is, the more strong friendships you’ll build.

Be helpful When a friend asks for help, this is the time to really cement a friendship. Be there for that friend. Help them in whatever way you can. Often, the best thing you can do is just listen without interjecting your own thoughts. Sometimes, though, you may be able to help by completing a task or sharing some information.

As long as it’s reasonable, always step up to the plate when a friend calls you. Such actions are the building blocks of lasting friendships.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help – but do it with tact. First of all, don’t expect help. Sometimes the difficulties of the lives of others means that they can’t help you with your situation, even if you’ve helped them in the past and even if they’d like to.

Second, ask in a personal way. It’s fine to broadcast your need on a service where people have chosen to follow you (like Twitter or Facebook), but don’t just send out a blanket email to all of your friends. Instead, contact the people you really need help from individually, by email or by phone (or even by stopping by). Make it clear that you want their help, not just that you’re seeking help from anyone for a problem you have.

Often, such requests go a long way towards building a relationship as well. Direct requests like this show that you do value a friend’s help and input and will make them quite happy to contribute, especially if the help you’re asking for is simple for them.

Celebrate their important moments in a special way. Don’t hesitate to host a party for someone on a major birthday or milestone. Don’t be afraid to take a friend out to dinner (or put a lot of work into preparing one of their favorite meals) to celebrate their new job or their engagement. Stepping up to the plate and making an extra effort to celebrate a friend’s big moments is often just as important as being there for them when there are problems.

Listen. If you’re saying more than 60% of the words in a conversation with a friend, you’re talking too much. Draw them out and get them to participate by asking questions of them. Listen to what they have to say and don’t interrupt them, even if that’s how you naturally converse. Then follow up based on what they have to say.

People want to be heard and to see that their ideas and thoughts have value to others. When you run roughshod by talking all the time or not actually listening, you’re running roughshod over that and damaging the friendship. If you think doing this is boring – then perhaps you don’t want this person as a friend, but as someone who merely follows you.

If a friend stops replying to your contacts, don’t be insulted – it’s often hard to understand what’s going on in their life. If that relationship is important to you, keep the window of communication open. Send emails on occasion, even if they don’t reply. Give them a call just to see what’s going on. Express some concern, but don’t intrude unless you know the person intimately. Look for a sign that they need help before you intervene.

Sometimes friendships die out. Friendships are based on mutual interests and commonalities. Over a long period of time, your own shared experiences may become those commonalities and you’ll have a lifelong friend, but quite often friendships die out or go dormant. Don’t be dramatic or overwrought about it.

One sure sign that you should perhaps let a friendship rest (and devote time to building other friendships) is if you’re doing virtually all the work in terms of making contact. It may be that the friend’s interests have changed and they have moved on to another part of their life’s journey. Back off and see what happens, but in the meantime, fill your time with other friends.

Never force a friendship to continue. It’s unhealthy for both people. Instead, let it drift away and grow dormant – perhaps in the future, opportunity will cause it to bloom again.

Good luck, Gary.

If you enjoyed reading this, sign up for free updates!

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...

42 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Building a Successful Friendship

  1. This is something I struggle with mightily. Married with three premature infants a ten hour a day job, blogging every day etc. We get caught up in excuses and unfortunately, momentum works in both directions.

    I cannot recall the last time I just hung out with a friend. It has to be months. Even my lunchs (does anyone really get a lunch hour anymore) at work are spent cramming food down my throat and catching up on work email.

    I appreciate the tips, Trent. One of my great fears is getting to retirement age and being quite alone. I will make sure that my goals this week involve reaching out to a few old friends…and maybe a new one.

    -Charley

  2. Rebecca says:

    Most of this advice is great practical advice that you’d think would be common sense, but isn’t necessarily for introverts like myself. Thank you for laying it all out!

    I do have a concern about one particular section, though:

    “In short, start keeping a calendar and strive to fill it up with as many social activities as you can, particularly ones where you’re setting up events directly with specific friends (or attending larger events with friends). The more full your social calendar is, the more friends you’re building relationships with.”

    In short, for someone like me, this sounds like hell. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it *doesn’t* sound at all enjoyable or relaxing. I value my friends, but social events exhaust me–I value my quiet time as well! And I certainly don’t want to fill every waking moment with endless get-togethers just to maintain some kind of social networking/safety net …. Going out once or twice a week is about all I manage before this particular introvert starts getting cranky, honestly.

    This is probably one of the main reasons I felt ‘Never Eat Alone’ didn’t really work for me–most of his tactics were based on this kind of social butterfly routine. Is there really no other way to make friends/get ahead?

  3. T'Pol says:

    It is difficult to keep a friendship without mutual effort. Many of my friends are married with kids and even though I try to maintain contact, now that our interests and agendas are not common anymore, they drift away. Some people get plain boring once they have a kid because they make the kid the center of their universe and it is difficult to find common subjects. You get to hear only about the achievements of the little genius, her/his doctor visits and cute pictures. Having a kid must be an amazing thing so, who am I to call these people boring? The ticking gadget placed in every woman’s brain to make her want a kid desperately simply has been forgotten in my case. Children were never my thing so may be I should not be so judgmental. However, it does take two to tango.

  4. leslie says:

    i have a dilemma with the “fill up your social calendar” suggestion too. I do this! However, when it comes right down to it, I don’t really consider some of the people that I do activities with to be my real friends. I find it more of a struggle to have friends who are willing to spend casual down-time with you.

    I don’t always want to go out to dinner or see a move or go to a bar, sometimes I just a friend to come over and talk and hang out. Perhaps it is my age (27) but I find that it’s becoming more difficult to have a friend who’ll just relax with you and not only come around when a group of people are going somewhere.

    I’m also not sure if it is possible to move my social-friendships into more personal friendships or if these should be mutually exclusive.

  5. katy says:

    Sometimes people just go into a different orbit. Its usually not personal. People are just so busy.
    It still hurts, don’t get me wrong, but remembering this helps me.

  6. Carey says:

    As a committed introvert, I also would not follow the “filling up the social calendar” advice, but this may be one of those situations where you take the advice that works, and leave the advice that doesn’t work. It’s not an all or nothing deal.

    Leslie, I’m in the same boat as you, sometimes just wanting to “hang” out instead of “go” out. I’m lucky enough to have hanging out friends in addition to my going out friends. They get along with each other well, but they are generally separate circles. It’s hard to find something that everyone wants to do, so we just all agree that the invitation is always open, and no hard feelings if it’s not your bag (baby).

  7. Close friends of ours gave my wife and I a wall plaque for Christmas with the saying: “Friends Are the Family We Choose”. I think that about sums up how important friendships can be, even though not all friendships rise to that level.

    One point I do want to make in regard to the recommendation of “fill up your social calendar”, while I fully agree that it’s important to be intentional about friendships, you also have to be careful not to press too hard either. Friendships should flow naturally, and if they have to be forced they may not be true friendships worth investing time in.

  8. While all practical, many of these ideas fall flat for me. Like another who commented, my schedule is too full to even begin to consider face-to-face time with people. I’ve gone the route of Twitter/FB, but as my friends are also far-flung, the friendships have all moved into the ‘old friend’ stage.

    My calendar is pretty full: Boy Scouts, kid’s baseball, martial arts, etc. Hanging out (or just chatting) with adults “just for the sake of chatting” hasn’t been something that’s materialized.

    The last few years have taught me to get along on my own. Sure, I pitch in whenever and wherever needed, but I’ve become more self-reliant for my own issues.

  9. Ramona says:

    And what happens when the friendship kind of drifts away – do you “break up” with friends, or just let it die a slow death? This is the dilemma I’m in right now. It seems difficult to say Hey this is no longer working for me. But it seems wrong to not acknowledge it. Anyone?

  10. Trent,

    Timely post, as always. I have a different take on friendship. While I understand that sites like Facebook and Twitter are great. I believe that “social” sites have made it easier for us to disconnect from meaningful relationships. I actually just deactivated my Facebook account. It wasn’t a big tragedy because I had only had it for less than 24 hours. I have been really connecting with married guys on the phone and scheduling guys night out. A lot of guys I talk to are going through a lot of struggles with connecting. I am married and I know how important it is for me to come out of my “cave” and meet other guys.

    It is important to see that we are going through the same issues and struggles.

    Just a thought, Matt

  11. Rachel says:

    I spent most of my life having friends, persuring friends, maintatinig relationsips with friends, but now I just don’t seem to care so much any more. I have found that I am comfortable being alone. I like shopping, going to movies, even traveling, alone. Maybe I am selfish, but if you try to get someone else involved, you have to go to the movie at a time they can go, wait on them if they are late, deal with a last minute cancellation. Why do I want to go through all that? I truly enjoy the company of my husband and daughter more than anyone else. But even too much time with them is too much. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a hermit, scrooge type of person. I am friendly with neighbors, people at church, etc.. I just chooses not to make social engagements.

  12. Tim says:

    um, define friend and friendship first.

  13. plonkee says:

    Why not fill up your social calendar, but also book in plenty of ‘alone’ time? I mean I find that I’m not brilliant unless I spend some time every day all by myself, and also I need at least 2-3 evenings a week without any socialising. Plus I prefer to keep at least half the weekend free. I just fill my social life around that.

    Perhaps other people need more alone time, but it’s still increasing the amount of time you spend with people to the most you can sustain long term.

    Introverts will probably have fewer friends that extroverts because they don’t have as much free time (time you need to be by yourself, isn’t exactly free). Meh – I’d rather be introvert.

  14. Tizzle says:

    This is a topic I have experience thinking about and working on. I would like to add something to your well-thought out way of making friends:

    If one is lucky, and skilled (following this technique will improve the skill, it is not magic), one will still only make friends with 20% of the people s/he meets and likes. That’s one in five of the people who you would like to be friends with will, with time and effort, actually become your friend. If you’re super busy, it’ll be less than 20%.

    I’m a geek, so I am comforted by the ability to make a ratio out of the concept of making friends. But my point is mainly that you should not get discouraged if this one person who you just adore doesn’t follow through with all the effort you’re making to befriend them. It happens. We are all accustomed to dating various people before settling down, but I find people get more nervous about friendships. The process is similar to making them, weeding them out, etc as dating, but without the physical intimacy.

  15. Mary W says:

    Ramona #8, If the friendship is merely *drifting away*, I don’t see any reason for having a break up conversation. This might be the case when one of you has children, goes to grad school, or otherwise has a change of interests. OTOH if there is a *problem* to be solved in the relationship a conversation might help the issue. This might include belief that the relationship at evolved to a giver/taker situation when previously it was even.

  16. KC says:

    I moved far away from home a few years ago and as an introvert, sometimes to the point of being painfully shy, I have yet to really put myself out there and make friends. I already knew a few people here, but they’re more like acquaintances and I don’t feel like I have enough in common with them to bring our friendships closer. The majority of my close friends (and family) are still back at home and I look forward to when I move back. In the meantime, I’m content to spend time with my b/f or by myself. And the close friends I do have provide enough drama and stress for me to worry about on top of work!

    I also find the idea of filling up my social calendar as much as possible painful; no forced networking for me, thanks.

  17. tentaculistic says:

    It’s interesting that the comments are all coming from each person’s individual situation, rather than the one the article was framed with. Given the socially awkward person who wanted to make friends out of acquaintances, Trent recommended… People here are saying it’s too hard to fill up their calendars with engagements – but I would guess that you are not the person who wrote in wanting friends. Either you already have the friends, or don’t want friends enough to do the work. Seems pretty simple.

    That said, as someone with a handful of really good friends, I also don’t like filling up my nights. I’m a homebody, what can I say? And since one of my best friends shares that home with me, why not? :)

  18. Thanks for this — I thought what you said about paying attention to what you want, and not forcing things to happen, was particularly valuable. If relating with someone becomes going through the motions for you, it will probably feel the same to the other person.

  19. Rachel (#9)–Actually, I think that people who are comfortable being by themselves can often make the best friends.

    A person who can enjoy being alone doesn’t NEED other people to have a good time, but can often add a lot to others. There’s something admirable and engaging about independent spirits, while people who are too needy can wear on you.

    It’s never healthy to be alone too much, but the fact is that much of our lives are spent alone so it’s important to be comfortable with that too.

  20. Lars says:

    The truth is, once men and women get in relationships, their lives revolve around their significant other/spouse. Men and women pair off and become each other’s world. Then, the children come along, and you can forget about any other sort of relationship. In my experience, this scenario is universal. There is nothing you can do. Thus, a lot of this advice is, unfortunately, useless for many people.

    This is particularly true in the Midwest. Everything is geared around ‘family’ and child-rearing. There is a ‘window’ to form friendships, generally from childhood to early adulthood, and after that you are fighting a losing battle. It is too late; the window is closed. Men and women have paired off.

    If you are a woman, this scenario is less dire. As females are by nature more nurturing and cooperative, females tend to form more and lasting friendships than men do. While this may be more of a challenge with women who have children, it is not impossible. Many women are choosing to remain childless now. Again, this is also based on my observations. I know many married/single women with a wide circle of friends. With men, it’s wife/girlfriend/children, and that’s it. Again, this is based on my observations.

    Unfortunately, if you are male in your thirties who hasn’t managed to pair off, you’re essentially a total isolate. It’s even worse when, like me, you have no family to speak of. The females have all been married off, so there’s no hope of any friendships or romantic relationships. All that’s left is to become more and more alone until you die. Chronic loneliness has been associated with all sorts of nasty health situations, many of which I’ve developed. Like nature, if you don’t pair off by a certain point in time, you’ve been ‘selected against’ from an evolutionary standpoint, and there’s nothing left to do but go out into the wilderness alone and meet your fate (symbolically speaking).

    Sad but true. I never thought my life would turn out this way.

  21. Kelly says:

    I had a good friend from high school who I managed to keep in contact over the years. Until recently.

    She betrayed me. I was willing to forgive her. I tried to stay in contact with her. She has no internet or computer at her home so I could only call her or stop by her place of employment. I did this for about 6 months with no reciprocation on her part. She decided to move on and I decided that I was tired of being the one to keep the friendship going. After a while, it’s not worth it anymore.

    Guess she wasn’t much of a friend in the first place. She was my only real-life friend. I’ve lived in my town for over 10 yrs and have made friends with no one other than the guys my husband has hung out with his entire life. Now that our son is in school, there may be opportunities to meet other mothers at the school. We’ll see.

  22. bethh says:

    I have another tip: when you are first trying to start/enhance a friendship, always accept invitations if it’s at all possible. No, you may not really want to go see some singer-songwriter, but you have Thursday night free, and you want to get to know your friend better, so why not? That’s the other half of the two-way friendship street. Plus, once you’ve accepted a social advance, people are more willing to risk rejection and ask you to socialize again.

    I moved to a new city 3 years ago, and at first I accepted absolutely any invitation that came my way – even if I wasn’t interested in the subject, even if it was a bit more expensive than I wanted to be paying.

    Then, work any common ground you have. One of my friends is interested in cooking, so we chat about recipes and cooking results and I’ll send her links to recipes that sound like something she’d enjoy.

    Once you’ve made some level of friendship, try to create some enjoyable rituals – annual pumpkin patch trip & carving party, bbq on the 2nd Saturday of the month in the summer, that sort of thing. Make it something cheap!

    And of course… if you don’t have many hobbies/interests, develop some! Even if you’re not that enthused about a topic, enriching yourself will make you more interesting to yourself and others. Good luck – it IS hard to meet people and get to know them.

  23. Ann says:

    This is a timely entry for me – I have been mulling over what to do with a friend that has been in my life for many years, someone that I at one time considered my dearest and best friend, but who, over the last couple years at least, has been really crappy about holding up her side of the friendship. One one hand, I value her and the contributions she has made to my life, but on the other hand, I feel like the commonalities we once had are not as strong as they once were.

    But, at the same time, this hole has opened up the opportunity to pursue other friendships through my hobbies and interests. So, perhaps that’s the hidden blessing – one person exits stage left and while others enter stage right.

  24. Baker @ ManVsDebt says:

    I really like seeing you tackle issues like this on a regular basis. It provides a nice break from the personal finance content, yet is extremely value (and applicable) information.

  25. Doug says:

    I’ll chime in on the topic of friendships and introverts. I’m a huge introvert. I hate crowds, I detest parties, and I loathe small talk.

    However, I have a couple hobbies that allow me social interaction at my own pace. I love boardgames, role-playing games, and miniature games. Small groups, like-minded people, a common interest. Long-term friendships have formed because of my gaming circles. Recently, I went to GenCon (35,000 gamers), and met several people who I post with online. Now, I’ll have a place to crash if I’m ever in Quebec.

    Introverts seem to like deeper friendships, and that can mean it is harder to find people you like. Several aquaintences have a hard time discussing topics more in depth than the weather. So, they remain aquaintences.

    But when you crave alone time, don’t fill it with social activities. You’ll end up unhappy, and people don’t like hanging around unhappy people. Trust me on this one, I speak from experience. :)

  26. Matt says:

    Great advice. I think listening is a key to great successful friendships. My children struggle with this aspect in their development socially, as they believe listening means waiting for the other person to stop speaking as they already have their next thought at the ready.

    I spend a lot of time in my interests and hobbies seeking out others, listening to what they have to say and learning as much as I can. I’m glad to see that you are willing to expand your horizons beyond the normal finance and money saving topics.

  27. Shevy says:

    Is anybody else seriously weirded out by Kelly’s comment?

    Only one RL friend, has lived somewhere for 10 years without making any new ones and seems to have displayed stalking-type behaviors in persisting to contact someone at their workplace via computer and in person when they’ve already “moved on”?

    If someone I knew behaved like that I might be tempted to get a restraining order. And, no, I’m neither paranoid nor a social butterfly who doesn’t understand shy people.

    I’m introverted, don’t make small talk easily, don’t make tons of friends, or socialize a lot but I interact with all kinds of people at work, at synagogue, online, at my kid’s school, etc.

    Not all of them are my best friends but I have countless pleasant interactions every day and could ask some of these folks to join me for coffee or to go to a movie or check out an exhibit I think we’d both enjoy and they wouldn’t run screaming from me.

    I just don’t have the energy or the desire to book up big chunks of my spare time to socialize. That doesn’t mean I don’t value my friends. I do like social networking media and phone calls and I regularly help out when folks need something, but I have a busy life with many obligations and limited energy and I know what happens to me when I overbook or overcommit myself.

    I’d be a wreck if I had folks over for dinner and board games every week or two but am perfectly happy to play a couple of games online or to have my best friend from my elementary school days come over for a beer or a glass of wine and a game of Scrabble a couple of times a year on long weekends when I’m at my rural place.

  28. Kayla says:

    Do you think it’s worth it to spend time with people you don’t like that much (or people who just aren’t that cool or interesting) in the hope that their parties will introduce you to someone you might like, or just because you have nothing else ot do?

  29. Chris Cruz says:

    I’m 26 and hate that I’ve become such a homebody. For a while I kept telling myself that I need to make friends but realized I just need to keep in touch with the friends I already have. I made so many close friends in college but I kind of drifted apart from the gang. Alot of the people in the same social circle still hang out but I’ve have kind of been ghost since college days. Even after grad alot of us would still come back to the school to go to parties and see the younger friends that were still in school. It would be like school days all over but now that we are all in our mid-late 20′s we no longer party with the college kids. Most of them live 2-3 hours away from me but I’ve made very small efforts to stay in touch. I took for granted the friendships I made and now I’m trying to play catchup and keep in touch with them even if its just a text or comment on facebook

  30. I have issues with making connections like this, too. Part of it stems from being uprooted in high school, moving two and a half years later again and knowing that we won’t be here for much longer. (I’m a military wife now, it’s how my life’s gonna be for the next 14 years at least.)

    This morning, my macroeconomics class was cancelled, so I went to grab breakfast, figuring a nice cup of (Starbucks!!) coffee would go nicely with my book. ($4, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.) Instead, I ended up chatting with a guy who’s in my macro class (He had no idea I’m in it, I guess I hide easy) who was in a class of mine last semester. Just about random stuff, the summer, life, etc. It was rather nice to not spend all the time alone, honestly… If this happens more often, that’s great. Otherwise I’m content to talk to people in class and not see them much elsewhere.

    I have people I talk to in class, my coworkers I see at work, duh, and then people that my husband and I hang out with – some guys he works with, but mostly other car people. I consider most friends, even though I only see some every once in a while… I think my own definitions are weird. Either way, I don’t have many close friends simply because people move on a lot in life… No sense in getting super-connected when you seem to fall out of contact no matter what.

    Also, am I the only one entertained that most people commenting on a blog post are introverts? :P

  31. Kelly says:

    @Shevy
    Shevy @ 6:47 pm September 1st, 2009

    Is anybody else seriously weirded out by Kelly’s comment?

    ===================

    So, are you saying I’m weird??

    I interact with people online…but have no close girlfriends anymore. I guess I outgrew all my other real life friends.

    I’m also very close with my mom and sister, so that makes up for the other stuff.

    Again, thanks for calling me weird!

  32. Kelly says:

    Shevy, where do you get that I was “stalking” my friend.I’m offended that you are accusing me of stalking based on what little information I posted in my first post.

    My old friend worked at a retail store and when I would shop there, I’d see her…or even when my child outgrew the things sold at her retail store..it was right next door to a Target so if I saw her vehicle there I’d go over to say hi. How does that turn into me stalking someone? It happened like once a month at the most? She was a friend I’d had since 6th grade…sometimes, that was the only way to say hello to her.

    I get along great with my coworkers but do not socialize much with them outside of the workplace since I live 45 minutes away from work.

    Trust me, if you lived in MY neighborhood, you would see why I don’t get to know my neighbors. There’s meth dealers,druggies, older single men, a 55 yr old married couple. We’ve had to call the cops several times on some of them for having lout parties at 2am. One girl came over to our house to tell us that the other residents in the apt below theirs shot their dog and told us all about how the girl in the apt below hers does pot and other illegal drugs. We even called CPS on them because there are several children in the apt and they also leave a loaded shotgun where a child could get it. I also do not let my child play with them either.

    It’s not the nicest neighborhood in town if you know what I mean. I have the nicest house on the block. My husband and I have distanced ourselves from the neigbors, most of whom rent the houses they live in so they don’t stay to long to get to know them anyway, not that I’d want to.

    Shevy, you go right on thinking I’m some kind of weird freak.

    You criticized my comments to I felt the need to defend myself.

  33. Melissa says:

    @Kelly – what you said didn’t sound weird to me!

    Like others I’m an ‘introvert’, maybe not surprising as like Foxie pointed out, I’m reading blogs alone rather than out making friends.

    I don’t really have friends which may seem weird but I’m generally content with that. Doug hit it on the head, I want deeper conversation, most aquaintences seem shallow. I tried the common interest thing, but it seems that my hobbies are more suited to 65 year olds and I really don’t want to do the night club thing. Honestly, I would rather have teeth pulled than have a social calendar!

    Wouldn’t it be great to have a friend matching service like there are dating services. I saw a girl advertise in the local rag once, looking for friends with a common interest and I thought it was a great idea. People you can have a good chat with.

  34. Kelly says:

    @Melissa

    Thank you!!

  35. All great stuff.

    But, call me paranoid or whatever, but I have always had a rule of limiting my close personal relationships. First, you open yourself up to getting “screwed” by more of them (OK, OK, so I am paranoid) but more importantly, I feeel that the quality of those relationships goes down as the number of them goes up.

    I would greatly prefer having two or three really close friends to having twenty that I really can’t seem to connect with…

  36. Caroline says:

    I find that occasional random contact with some people works best and that I would rather fill up my social calendar with spending time with just a few of my closest friends, instead of spreading myself thin with acquaintances. HOWEVER, I’m not on the prowl for more friendships. I think that if someone really wanted to make more friends, Trent’s advice is sound. Personally I find that the more open you are about yourself and the more you show the other person that you care about what they think, the more they want to be your friend, whether you see them only occasionally or a great deal. I have many many friends, most of them were considered close for awhile, and I still keep in touch with all of them – just not regularly (it’s the quality of the contact for me, not how often it happens). You focus on the ones that mean the most, and keep the rest on the back burner. Usually you’re their back burner friend too, so it works out. Again, I think opening up to people is key to finding more meaningful friendships. It can be easy to fill up your calendar with events, but if you want people to stick around, you have give them a good reason!

  37. Karen says:

    At Ann #23 – I am going thru something similar. I have a friend who keeps telling me that we never spend any time together but almost every time she sets up something she cancels – usually at the last minute – grrrr. I have invited her to several home cooked dinners to watch sports or just hang out – she first says yes then I guess she finds something better to do and cancels. Sometimes without even letting me know. I now am letting that friendship die naturally. I am finding that we have less and less in common as we get older. Everything she wants to do cost money and I have told her time and time again that I don’t have the money to do what she wants to do. I now just call once a week and if I have to leave a message I don’t call again I wait for her to call me.

  38. Amy says:

    Another introvert who would never voluntarily entertain others in my home, though I’m ok with my S.O. setting up something. Once a year is plenty! We do go out with friends at least monthly and we’re happy letting each other pursue our own hobbies/friendships, so it works well for us.

    Most of my friends are involved with our small animal rescue. We work together volunteering toward the same goal, and then we finally set up monthly dinners out together, because we just weren’t seeing each other for ‘fun’ enough. This was a great idea and even as an introvert, I could prepare myself for a known event, help choose the restaurants, and also know we always had something to talk about.

    I’ve also found Facebook and IM at work to be great at helping me keep in touch without the pressure of face to face or phone conversations, which tend to stress me out.

  39. Michelle says:

    One thing that is also important is living in a place where you have things in common with the people around you. I live in a rural area, in a very small town that has very conservative social values that aren’t always aligned with our own. We live here for family reasons, and just the milieu of the town can make it difficult to be social sometimes. I’m not into country music venues or camping, which are two major activities around here. Social groups for women are Junior League type stuff, which I hate. Sometimes I miss the city!

  40. Carol says:

    Not sure how to combine keeping up friendships with frugality. Going out for lunch often is not an option, especially with many different friends. I seem to do a lot of e-mailing to friends, but it never goes too much farther than that, since it would involve some costs of some sort. Inviting a friend to my home would involve extra work for me — making some food, etc., making sure the house is straight — and I like to spend my time at home taking care of my own family.

  41. Ruth says:

    I agree with the post about having trouble making friends in the midwest. I grew up in the small community I still live in, but have found that since my kids have grown up and flown the nest to bigger places, there is NO ONE to even hang out with, much less form a friendship. EVERYTHING revolves around family. If your kids are gone follow your nieces and nephews school events. Seems like everyone can find 3 or 4 generations of family within a 10 mile radius. Those of us that can’t are out in the cold. Cannot tell you how many times social arrangements have been planned & cancelled at the last minute because something came up with a brother, cousin, nephew, etc.

    Also like the idea of finding friends on line. Tried it a few times and always get referenced to the seeking mates or sex sites. Anyone find a way around that?

  42. Nitin says:

    Hi,

    Nice post.
    I make sure to contact one of my friend every weekend. This way i remain in touch with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>