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Friends and Acquaintances

A friendly ear
brightncheerful
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Friends and Acquaintances

#199318

Postby brightncheerful » February 6th, 2019, 2:22 pm

Over the years, I have met and come into regular contact with a vast number of people. I daresay (some of) you have too. I set out to. Partly an active social life, partly indirectly through my writings for my work. If i had to guess the number then I'd think in the thousands.

I am I hope intelligent enough to realise that meeting and regular contact is not the same as friendship. Even so, 'making friends' and 'making new friends' is such a popular pursuit (and pastime) that starting yesterday I make a distinction between 'making friends' and 'making acquaintances'.

Applying the distinction, I realise that I should've started this post with" 'over the years I have met and come into regular contact with a vast number of people who became and continue to become acquaintances. A great many of them for one reason or another have simply passed through, our paths having crossed only for a short period of time.'

Years ago, I recall reading that most people despite having a wide circle of friends have no more than about 5 close friends, the rest are superficial in comparison. I remember totting up the number of my close friends and thinking 5 about right, although at the time only 3 sprang to mind. It was only after talking about that with a friend that that particular friend suggested I probably had more than 5. With hindsight, I might've given that impression but actually i think the number of close friends i had was 1, namely whomsoever I was dating at the time.

Times change? Apart from Mrs Bnc, I can honestly say that I don't have any close friends. i have a few friends whom i see and chat with regularly but our conversation and available time is limited. So it's mostly superficial, shallow, nothing like as deep and meaningful as I would like. Talking with one of the few recently I asked her if she had any friends. Not really she replied, she could do with one or two more but never seems to have the time to find others. I know the feeling. I think if at a workplace you mix and mingle with colleagues regularly you are more likely to be able to cultivate lasting friendships. I think too that if you have a large or close family the ability to make friends despite being family is also an enabler.

Mrs Bnc and I measure our social achievements by the number of Christmas cards we receive. Last year, the number we received fell compare with the years before. Mrs Bnc and i concluded that acquaintances only send Christmas cards for the duration of the acquaintance. Of the 30 or so people that I invited to my party for my 60th birthday, I remain friends with only about half a dozen of them. Of the rest a few have died, the others gone their separate ways. If I were to host a party tomorrow then I doubt i could muster more than about 12 that I'd want to invite. which is ok in principle except that I might be hard-pressed to think of a dozen.

Creating friendships out of acquaintances is one thing: creating long-lasting friendships quite another. In a social and personal setting, most of the people I know are much better at making friends than i am. But interestingly most of them don't seem to be as good at maintaining friendships: I overhear them saying they ought to keep in touch with so-and-so but they don't. Just being polite I suppose. For my ability to maintain, I am still friendly with my ex-wife (we split up some 40 years ago), two of my ex-gfs send Clio and I Christmas cards, so do a few people we've had more than acquaintance with over the years continue to send us Christmas cards, with handwritten notes about their news and offspring. Every year, I get a birthday card from and send a birthday card to an acquaintance who shares the same birthdate. But that's about it.

Does it bother me? Not really. In the same way I wonder how some people have the time to commit adultery, so I wonder how people manage their friendships. Perhaps they don't. Maybe it's all a big act, keep up appearances. designed to make them feel important. Or perhaps they're on Facebook. In which case it is understandable they can't spare the time to stop in the street for a chat, because they are too busy with social media.

If I had to guess then I'd say I currently have approximate 35 acquaintances. Yesterday I had approximately 35 friends, but i've moved on.

didds
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Re: Friends and Acquaintances

#199340

Postby didds » February 6th, 2019, 3:46 pm

Good post.

Ive often wondered if the "definition" of a "close friend" is someone that you could call at 3 am when in dire need of genuine help and they would (normal caveats aside) just come and help. Of course - one wouldnt ever want to find out via that method!

I would agree "friend" and "acquaintance" are almost interchangeable in typical parlance. I have friends/aquaintances that Ive known for over 30 years - we stay in touch, meet up occasionally. still get along, but hardly ever actually conflab/chat. Geographical distance (and we are only talking 75 minutes drive here, not another continent) is a factor typically - there's no just bumpig into them down the pub at any time etc likely.

didds

brightncheerful
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Re: Friends and Acquaintances

#199360

Postby brightncheerful » February 6th, 2019, 5:16 pm

Ive often wondered if the "definition" of a "close friend" is someone that you could call at 3 am when in dire need of genuine help and they would (normal caveats aside) just come and help.


I'd define a close friend as someone you could call at 3am and the first thing they'd not say is "don't you know what time it is?"

And when you phone them for the first time in years, the conversation picks up from where it left off.

sg31
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Re: Friends and Acquaintances

#199366

Postby sg31 » February 6th, 2019, 6:00 pm

brightncheerful wrote:
Ive often wondered if the "definition" of a "close friend" is someone that you could call at 3 am when in dire need of genuine help and they would (normal caveats aside) just come and help.


I'd define a close friend as someone you could call at 3am and the first thing they'd not say is "don't you know what time it is?"

And when you phone them for the first time in years, the conversation picks up from where it left off.


I've got one very good friend, my wife.

I've got 4 friends who would drop everything without question if I asked them for help. My sister is one of them, we are friends, she respects me, loves me and would do anything for me as I would for her. Strangely we don't get along very well if we spend too much time together. We are totally different in outlook, I've always been driven, she is so laid back and lazy. I think it's just a brother and sister thing .

The other 3 are people I've known 3 years since we moved to this area, we are neighbours in a little hamlet. We don't live in each others pockets but help each other whenever it is needed and get along extremely well.

I have one cousin who I meet every 5 or 10 years at family events. We don't see each other for years and can pick up a conversation where we left it. Neither of us ever changes although our lives have gone different way. When we meet it's like we are still 11 again. It's very strange but very comfortable.

I've had a number of very close friends over the years, sadly most are dead now and the others I've lost touch with. It was before the internet and I've lived all over the country so it's been difficult to keep contact for more than a few years.

Sorry, I'm rambling now. I just think the question of 'what is a friend' is interesting.

Lootman
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Re: Friends and Acquaintances

#199370

Postby Lootman » February 6th, 2019, 6:17 pm

brightncheerful wrote:I'd define a close friend as someone you could call at 3am and the first thing they'd not say is "don't you know what time it is?"

I'd define a close friend as someone you could call at 3am and they'd come and put up bail to get you out of a cell.

brightncheerful wrote:And when you phone them for the first time in years, the conversation picks up from where it left off.

In my case they are people I don't see very much any more and when I do see them we have exactly the same conversation every time without either of us minding.

sg31 wrote:The other 3 are people I've known 3 years since we moved to this area, we are neighbours in a little hamlet. We don't live in each others pockets but help each other whenever it is needed and get along extremely well.

That's interesting as my close friends are all people I have known for 25 years or more. It takes me a long time to trust someone that much, but that might be my problem rather than anyone elses.

ten0rman
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Re: Friends and Acquaintances

#199414

Postby ten0rman » February 6th, 2019, 9:18 pm

I don't think I've had that many friends, being more of a loner. (As a matter of interest, I discovered many years ago, that I worked best being left alone to just get on with the job.)

Aquaintances? Well, yes I've known quite few, and mostly got on very well with them, usually because of a shared interest at the end of which we went our separate ways. As I say, most of them: I did have one who for some reason seemed to think I didn't know what I was talking about, and wasn't shy of castigating me. (Generally he was indeed wrong!)

I think as well, that I've learned the hard way to rely on self rather than others especially after a few bouts of bad workmanship. Plus a certain amount of name calling. All of which leads to the aforementioned loner status and standing on my own two feet. Although I do like to discuss problems with people just to get their thoughts and opinions, even though in the end I may go my own sweet way.

Anyway, there's my thoughts, jumbled though they may be,

ten0rman

AsleepInYorkshire
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Re: Friends and Acquaintances

#200050

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » February 8th, 2019, 10:05 pm

My senior years allow me to recall a particularly resonant episode of Wogan.

He was interviewing Simon Weston. Simon suffered horrific burn injuries in The Falklands War.

Simon talked about returning to his home village. His friends took him to the local pub. Simon was still recovering from his injuries and the bones on the ends of his fingers were still attached although the skin had been burned off. This made it particularly difficult for him to wipe his bottom.

At the pub he needed a comfort break. He said you truly know who your real friends are when they are willing to wipe your bum.

I cannot recall if he was trying to make light of his injuries or if he felt at that moment in his life that he needed to surround himself with positive people.

sg31
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Re: Friends and Acquaintances

#200091

Postby sg31 » February 9th, 2019, 11:09 am

AsleepInYorkshire wrote:My senior years allow me to recall a particularly resonant episode of Wogan.

He was interviewing Simon Weston. Simon suffered horrific burn injuries in The Falklands War.

Simon talked about returning to his home village. His friends took him to the local pub. Simon was still recovering from his injuries and the bones on the ends of his fingers were still attached although the skin had been burned off. This made it particularly difficult for him to wipe his bottom.

At the pub he needed a comfort break. He said you truly know who your real friends are when they are willing to wipe your bum.

I cannot recall if he was trying to make light of his injuries or if he felt at that moment in his life that he needed to surround himself with positive people.


It's not that big a deal, carers do it all the time. I had to do this for my mother for 6 months when she was ill. Not what a son wants to do for his mother but if it needs doing you just get on with it. I think it was more embarrassing for mum than me. You just do the job and think of something else.

If a close friend really needed help in that way I wouldn't be bothered by it.


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