On Friendship

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They say that it’s hard to make friends after a certain point in your life.

Somewhere in your twenties, apparently, you have the friends you have and…everything grinds to a halt.

Even with social media. According to Elle Magazine   https://www.elle.com.au/culture/the-age-you-stop-making-friends-8322    at age 25, even your peak mobile phone usage slows down, and you – stagnate, I guess.

But on an anecdotal basis, I cannot agree.

Social media has been a godsend for me, and I now have friends all over the planet. At 64, I’ve found my tribe, and their ages range from late-teens to 70-year-olds. They come in all sizes and shapes, and in every conceivable gender definition available.

We bare our souls in DMs when we’re depressed or anxious.

We send out virtual hugs, we wrestle with the problems of the world, we make each other laugh, and we hold each other up when things look bleak.

We introduce our friends to each other, and expand the circles.

Maybe we don’t always get to meet each other in the flesh, but they are there.

If I wake up at 3 am in a state of existential panic, I can log on and somewhere, no matter the time zone I’m in, there’s someone awake who is there to cheer me up or reassure me that things are not quite as bleak as I believe.

When I share good news (“Hey! I sold a book to a stranger!”) they are there to type “WOOT” into the comments.

I’ve sent money to people going through a time of trouble, and they’ve come to my rescue when I’ve been in need, too.

For the record, I think that many of the pundits and dinosaurs don’t really understand friendship.

It’s not about getting drunk together in a bar.

It’s not about singular experiences shared in real time.

It’s about honesty and trust and being one’s true self when the chips are down.

And if it is hard to form new bonds after you’ve left adolescence behind, it might be because you (personally or generally, I’m not pointing any fingers here) listened when society told you that you are not supposed to care about people outside your immediate circle, and that “wisdom” is what makes you afraid to open up to a stranger, makes you unable to widen your horizons – forces you to concentrate on getting through your working day as if that were the only thing that mattered.

If you are here, you are at least a potential friend.

If you are here, you have something to offer me: a new perspective, a different vision, an interesting solution, or maybe, just a moment of strength when I need it – and I will offer the same to you.

So let’s build this together.

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