Where did my friends go?

lil boatMy Dad who reads the Boston Globe daily sent me this article today.  It’s about middle-aged men and why they lose their friends.

Here’s some more reading on the subject if you are so inclined. Apparently, I am not alone.

What timing Dad. I have been contemplating this for a while now; “Why am I so bad at maintaining friendships?”  “Do I have friends?”  “What does friendship mean?”

It’s almost as if I made a conscious decision at each milestone of my life to destroy the past.  Perhaps I’m oversimplifying and exaggerating, but at the heart of this discussion I believe there is some truth.

Here’s my friendship life-cycle summarized.

  • Go to school, make friends.
  • Go to high school, make new friends at cost to some of my older friendships
  • Go to college, slowly and unintentionally cull high school friends.
  • Graduate college, live in parents’ house for a year. Lose contact with college friends, and simultaneously re-establish friendships with high school friends.
  • Move to Seattle, lose contact with majority of high school and college friends, make new friends in Seattle
  • Get married, maintain friendships with Seattle friends (and partners/spouses as they are all either married or in relationships)
  • Focus on career and soon kids, start to lose Seattle friends.
  • Make some new friends at work – (thinking of one job in particular where I made some new, great connections and am currently trying like hell to hang on to these friendships.)
  • Lose contact with Seattle friends, see them once or twice a year at a bbq or group gathering. Focus is on family and work.
  • Get divorced. All friendships are now mostly acquaintances, with some exceptions.
  • Date/Hang out with women.  End things with the promise of friendship.  This sometimes works.

What to do about it?

  • Make plans, don’t flake
  • Reach out and continue to reach out
  • Call instead of text
  • Make the effort
  • Share everything
  • Talk about it
  • Listen and be present

I will let you know how it goes.