Where have all my friends gone?

Maybe I’m alone on this one, but I hate how, as we get older, our friends drop off like flies.

I know … I know—family commitments, kids, work, rest, etc. I get it. But I just feel like, over the past five years or so, I’ve gone from a guy with a slew of close pals to a guy with one or two. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I smell. Maybe I’m annoying. But if you were to list my 10 best friends from a decade ago, only two or three remain on the list.

Making matters worse, I take it personally. I had an extremely close friend throughout college, and after college, who never calls or expresses an interest anymore. I mean, literally, never. I was always the person reaching out until one day it hit me like a rock: Maybe he just doesn’t care anymore. So I stopped calling, hoping he’d pick up the phone. We haven’t spoken in, oh, seven months. Maybe more (I sound like a scorned lover. Wacky).

It’s strange how, in 2010, neighbors replace classic friends as classic friends. Daniel and Andy across the street, Larry up the block, Chris down the hill—these are the guys I see most often. We chat and hang and occasionally shoot hoops on the driveway backboard. They’re wonderful people, and I dig it. But there’s something irreplaceable about historic friends—those people who knew you way back when. The ones who tried meeting girls with you in high school. The ones who got drunk with you in college. Those sorts of folks are invaluable to me; sort of make me who I am.

Alas, they’re largely gone.

It sucks.

10 thoughts on “Where have all my friends gone?”

  1. Proximity, or lack thereof, does this to all of us, even us younger folk. I’ve only been out of college a short time and despite having seemingly limitless means of online communication with friends, I’ve noticed the same trend over several years. I always figured that even though online communication lacks intimacy (although some will disagree), it’d still be enough to keep distanced friends together. Nope.

  2. You’re not alone. It is depressing and hard not to blame yourself. Did I say something offensive? Am I not conservative enough? Do I not share my political beliefs often enough? but I always come back to the same thing, it’s them.

  3. Like FuzzyKitty said, proximity is very important. Most of my “old” friends used to live less than a few miles from me. Even if I didn’t move, there would be only 1 (as oppsosed to 10+) who fits this criteria. Also, our interest have changed a bit (but, not too much). Facebook is a nice tool for keeping in touch. But, of course, it’s not the same. Seriously, though. Do you really want to hang out & play Pacman every night like you used to?

  4. If it weren’t for Facebook, I’d have no contact with any of my high school or college friends. I’m about the same age as you, so it I know what you are going through. I take it personally as well, at least for a minute or two, but then I realize that I hardly reach out to them either, so….

  5. Proximity is an issue, that’s true. I went to school in Nebraska and none of us live there anymore. I’m in Minneapolis and the core group are scattered between Denver, Houston and Charleston, SC. That said, we’ll occasionally make an effort to “get the band back together”, usually around a non-family holiday (like Mardi Gras in New Orleans) or, in the next case, a football game.

    But I think the bigger issue is children. Adults of today – if they have kids – get involved in their kids’ lives in ways we never experienced when I was a child. And my friends with kids were forced into a sort of sabbatical while their children grew up. Now that the kids are older and more independent we’re reconnecting again.

    So don’t lose hope yet, Jeff. It can still come back around.

  6. I agree with the comments here on proximity. My core group of buddies from high school/college are 1000 miles away.

    WTF do you do now if you want to go see a movie your wife won’t go to? I have had to set up 2 man dates to see Jackass 3D.

    I enjoy my work/neighboor buddies but that shared sense of history that you have with someone that you have been friends with a long time is hard to replace.

  7. Life is different now – my parents grew up with lifelong childhood frieds, and they all remained friends through adulthood -even when they had kids (us). And we kids (now adults) all grew up together as friends. Now many of us/them are having kids, are scattered around the country/world, and we see each other…on occassion every couple/few years. It’s a different world now.

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