Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I've got rose-tinted glasses on

Posted on 3:17 AM by Charlie Milwall

i will be moving to a different place, still in brighton/hove area, so not comparable to the other moves i've done. it's interesting that since my family left the London, UK to live in the US, i've not stayed more than five years at any one place. I lived in northern California for three years, in southern California for four and half years, in the midwestern US for five years, the Rockies for five years, and now back to the UK where I've been for almost three years.

whilst the travelling and moving had been interesting, at least with regards to exposure to different things, like culture, people, and surroundings, there have also been some drawbacks to it - mainly the establishment of long-term relationships with friends and lovers, if you will. a friend of mine, who i've been lucky to actually call my best friend for the past three years once mentioned that for an average person it takes at least seven years to develop a deeper friendship with someone. i'm not sure if he was just making this up to discourage me from moving back to the UK, or if it was something he actually observed empirically. but i think the main point to be taken from what he said is that it takes time to cultivate a true friendship, one with meaning, and one that you will not hesitate to defend or preserve. and whilst i would like to think that i'd made those types of friends in the relatively brief time of stay in a number of places, i now catch myself wondering if those friends feel the same way about the friendships we have. if you believe the idea that my friend came up with, then i could easily attribute these doubts that i have to the less-than-optimal time spent cultivating the friendship. to be honest though, i'm not sure i can point to this as the main contributor to my doubts. i think it's more me. i say "think", because i'm not at all certain, but i see how it could be me.

i can easily blame one thing. i'm a workaholic, plain and simple, and this cuts into any quality time i may spend with friends. i realise that i can only get out what i put in. cliché, but it clearly applies here. the other reason, maybe, is that i'm very naive about people at times, almost child-like when it comes to meeting people that i feel could be good friends. i react by instinct, and immediately see who i will be comfortable being around with. i've been burned by it, but i don't think it's really made me more wary. i guess you can say that i've got rose-coloured glasses on. i don't think this is really so bad, but i'm sure you can see how it would contribute to my situation.

now, how do i feel about growing apart? i've moved so much that i've really become somewhat numb to it, but meeting new people has always been and still is exciting for me. it doesn't mean that i don't get affected by the growing apart bit. i still feel that initial disappointment/hurt, but i just deal with them better. and one way is to try to convince myself that it's their loss and not mine, though i'm not entirely sure about that. LOL. i've got my sets of good and bad qualities that come out in different combination at time. the key is to not let all the bad qualities come out at the same time. i can tell you that you would witness the most unbearable human being. haha!

so, will i ever have meaningful friendships? i'd like to think that i have and that i still have them. as for the new ones i've made, we'll just see where it goes. i'll just need to find the few that are worth nurturing. how do i find them? instincts, i guess. they've not really let me down yet. :)


  1. Do you have any desire to settle down at a place or is moving on just part of your nature?

  2. Friendships, I have some experience with. Lovers, none at all--an unfortunate consequence of living a life where I felt it necessary to keep my true self hidden.

    Most of my longest lasting friendships have been formed with people I worked with, or with people I've met through them. Perhaps I make friends more quickly, although this has not always been the case, but I believe the depth of a friendship, and how quickly that depth is achieved, is highly dependent on how receptive both individuals are to the development of the friendship. So, I'd say a common element brings people together, but the individuals determine the speed and intensity. I would tend to doubt it would take seven years, in fact, I think most people would lose interest if it took that long.

    I also believe in the basic goodness of people. Entering into a relationship without a certain amount of naivety can sour the process before it starts. I would rather risk being hurt than to present myself in a defensive manner--the body language alone would drive people away.

    Everyone experiences the growing apart. Surprisingly perhaps, distance isn't the primary reason, in my opinion. My personal experience is that people's lives take different directions. They move into different social circles, the initial intensity of the relationship cools--I've lost friends because of workplace promotion. Growing apart will never be pleasant. Best we can do is learn to deal with it, as you say.

    I can't see how your thoughts or feelings differ significantly from mine, or most people, hopefully (or we're both in trouble here ;) Instinct is really all we have to start with. Experience eventually kicks in. Practice strengthens both.

    I'd be curious to hear your thoughts about online friendships. Does the anonymity make it easier, or more difficult? I've observed, and experienced, extreme concern and caring for others online and would feel a great personal loss if some of my online friends simply disappeared.

  3. @Mr. Urs - i think it's a little bit of both. i move around out of necessity, and sometimes boredom. when it's out of necessity, i really do not mind it.

    @captastro - online friendships are just that, online, but i do feel that there is always a possibility of taking it to the next step, which is real-life friendships. as far as anonymity, i think it's really what hinders people from taking the relationship developed to the next step. anonymity breeds a certain level of suspicion, and only after a number of online interaction would one feel confident enough to suggest a meet-up for example. i, on the other hand, can be impulsive, but i have no qualms backing out if i realise that something does not feel right.