Coffee Rhetoric: Friendship
Showing posts with label Friendship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friendship. Show all posts

July 15, 2012

The Politics of Friendship


In my early-to-mid 20's, I welcomed the company of seemingly like-minded new people and befriended folk with a moderate amount of enthusiasm. As I inched towards 30, I found that sustaining newly minted friendships became a bit more complicated and difficult to sustain as major life-events unfolded, interests changed, or connections simply tapered off and waned. Now that I'm 34, I find the prospect of building new bridges daunting. I've realized that not only have I reached an impasse of sorts in my personal life, but as much as I enjoy spending time alone, sometimes it feels bleak out on that ledge without someone to chat to or be silly with. The older I become, the more difficult it becomes to cultivate or sustain new friendships with folks in my age group . 

After college and well into adulthood, the pool of friends becomes diluted, people become more consumed by their own endeavors, and relationships start becoming more compartmentalized to fit where people are in their respective lives: mothers tend to gravitate towards other women who have children, free-wheeling singles want to hang out with other single social butterflies, couples want to hang with other couples, etc. At best, social relationships don't go beyond superficial and are fleeting. 

Every now and again, while mulling over certain aspects of life and human nature, I come across something that touches on specific life challenges. The New York Times published a piece written by Alex Williams. Williams touched on the difficulties of navigating newer friendships during a certain age in space and time…
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. Williams writes.
Experts also weighed in; suggesting fluctuating conditions such as an “internal alarm clock”, proximity, and settings that don’t really prompt folks to want let down their guard enough to share personal information, are also factors; which is apparently why most people have more success meeting and establishing close (and enduring) friendships during college. 
As close as folks can  become at work, often times that dynamic can change once the work-relationship is over and especially when workplace politics start to weigh-into the developing friendship… 
“The workplace can crackle with competition, so people learn to hide vulnerabilities and quirks from colleagues,” says Rebecca G. Adams, professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 
“Work friendships often take on a transactional feel; it is difficult to say where networking ends and real friendship begins.”
Of course once regular hanging-buddies and best friends start to cultivate romantic relationships, which also can affect the dynamic of a friendship, their priorities shift and the thought of being a third-wheel makes you cringe.  
And of course for me, aging brings about a certain level of self-awareness that has prompted me to be a little more discerning about the type of people I build with; and to take a no frills, zero tolerance for drama/the self-absorbed/or the disingenuous approach... and at times this can lead to a lot of moments spent alone. Either way, building and formulating new friendships has become a daunting exercise in futility, especially in this social networking age; and while I have no interest in imploring someone to be friends, I proceed accordingly and try to accept my interactions as openly as I can muster without letting any trepidation I feel from prior experiences, mar chances of potentially meeting someone cool or at the very least, a great professional contact. I also make sure my own ego is in check. I’m a firm believer in letting things unfold organically and just being genuine and getting along with anyone making a sincere effort to get on (and get to know) me. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t lament those younger days, not having to contend with the politics networking and building entails in this current technological age, once you reach a certain age.

April 20, 2009

Update- Tales from the Darkside and Home Improvement

Conversations that transpired while walking around my neighborhood this past Friday:

Encounter 1: Lady buffalo stancing outside Family Dollar and Carlos's Supermarket: " 'Scuse me MISS. You got a dolla'??" Me: "Nope." Lady: "How about fifty cent? You got ANY change?????" Me: I shook my head emphatically and hurried inside towards my destination for Folgers and flip flops.

Encounter 2: While walking from Green Apple produce market

Man: (standing next to disheveled Black woman: "Scuse me Miss... you think you can give me and my friend here some money...." Me: Shook head emphatically and hurried inside.

**I come back outside from store**

Woman (beggar's friend), in a slow, drug induced drawl: "Scuse me... MISS. Can I have some..." Me: Shaking head so hard my neck pops, as I hurry down the street towards home... Woman (yelling after me): "Well, you got a CONDOM den??"
Encounter 3: The best friend (Cat to those not in the know) visits. After settling in, we head back out at around 10pm... Cat, being the genius that she is... parks TWO WHOLE BLOCKS away! We stand and wait outside, in the mild night air, waiting to cross the street...
Condom Lady approaches... head lolled to the side as she lumbers over, like a corpse out of Night of the Living Dead: "Scuuuuse Me. Ladies... Ya'll got aaaany money I can..." Cat and I in unison: "NO!" We run out into busy traffic, desperate to get away from Condom lady. Bitch is lumbering towards us at a clip now!
We make it. I verbally abuse Cat for parking so far away!! And Onward Life has been somewhat busy. I'm still... still... settling into my apartment. It is starting to feel a lot like home, however. With several free acquisitions, a few priced next to nothing accents, switching things around and figuring out (through trial and error) what works in this particular space, things are starting to come together. I now have a king sized bed and board (sans frame, but not dire) today. I'm excited. The bed is huge. Bedding will be costly, but I plan on NOT paying more than 30 dollars for king sized bedding.

Check out what's going on thus far

Oh and I also acquired this amdist the madness.

November 27, 2006

On Bloat

Well, this Thanksgiving holiday found me overindulging in family, friends, and lots of raucous laughter. The BFF visited, and much catching up was done, wonderful trinkets were distributed, overeating ensued, and possession of spirits and wine found us “touched” as we fell out laughing, insulted one another in jest, discovered cool new haunts in our travels, made stupid faces in our inebriation, made lots of noise as we caught up with one another and exchanged gossip, and capped it off with a lovely jazz brunch, complete with mimosas, espresso, and tea.

The train wreck known as Michael Richards (aka KKKramer) slowly dissipated from my mind, as I enjoyed the company of my very best friend. The debauchery was relatively decorous and manageable, and we were able to carry on coherent conversations during our possession.

I awoke this morning sans pajamas, tangled up in a sheet, stiff, with burning eyes (because I was too lazy to wash off my mascara), and with a dry mouth; sour from the remnants of the prior night’s wine consumption and the Djarum clove ciggie I smoked. Upon my return to work- (I was tempted to call in “sick,” so as to catch up on some sleep)- Lunch was very light fare : A Lean Pocket and a small side salad, followed by a dessert of sliced kiwi and more black coffee. The recovery process from this weekend was gradual, and I must say, considering that I’m a very voluptuous woman or “thick” as they say, bloat does not wear well on me, at’all. Since I’m not a follower of the Hollywood Diet Plan: ciggies, cocaine, Jamba Juice and/or Starbucks, I decided not to skip any meals, opting to have a banana and a large bowl of black coffee for Breakfast to start my day.

It’s amazing how invigorating laughter and good company are. I look forward to New Year’s Eve.

November 20, 2006

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof...

After a harrowing couple of days of carousing with, um, interesting company), which I will not detail here (as much as I would like to), I do look forward to my best friend's visit this upcoming Wednesday evening. I can be a complicated and neurotic personality (I read: quirky), I'm fairly easy to get along with, albeit particular about what I like to indulge in, the places I like to frequent, my appearance, the foods I like to eat, the booze I like to drink, etc. In essence, I’m a snob and refuse to change my interests, penchant for promoting wonderful and exciting things, or dumb down my intellect just to placate someone’s narrow-mindedness and aversion to differences. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to interact and socialize with people who share in the same types of things I enjoy doing. I've blogged about this frustration extensively... particularly in this post, aqui.

Most other acquaintances, while seemingly interested in sharing in the same things I enjoy doing; are incessant complainers, deem the elements of all things cultural, hip, and drama-free as “weird,” can’t carry on conversations with effortless fluidity, and seem to love wallowing in drama and making public spectacles of themselves (and me). I’m sick of it, and so mostly go it alone. Which is quite fine with me, as I enjoy being someplace mellow, having a glass of red, languishing at my own pace, and meeting interesting people to chat with. I’ve dealt with enough dramatic things in my life this year, so I don’t need any added disturbances throwing the stars off, in my orbit.

It’s important for me not to be around toxic or narrow-minded people.

I do look forward to seeing my best and closest friend this Wednesday. The infamous Cat. Yes, this specimen does exist in human, female form, and is not a figment of my imagination. My best friend, whose company I enjoy immensely… who I can curse, laugh and guffaw raucously with- the two of us creating a lot of necessary noise pollution - and share in many and all things interesting, new, and exciting!

It has been awhile, and we have lots of catching up to do, much wine to sip, much food to consume, insults to playfully hurl at one another, men to lament over and berate, and lots of gossip to exchange, as it’s an easy and effortless friendship. After many annoyances and frustrating moments with people who just don’t flipping get it, I will be getting a much needed reprieve with this brand of company, for the next 4 days.

Cat and Coffey We are a suppler- (sometimes drunker)- and younger and more debauched variation of Gayle and Oprah, sans the lesbian rumors, Hermes handbags, and buckets of sweet moolah.