I don’t quite know how to explain this. I don’t know how to ask for help on this. It’s just that…
I don’t know how to make friends anymore.
Another blogger I follow regularly wrote a very poignant post about spending time with the ‘right’ people and learning to take value and appreciate that our growth can be very much attributed to the sum of the people we surround ourselves with.
I count myself very blessed that I have been surrounded by incredible people for my entire life. My family is warm, nurturing, supportive, and affectionate. My friends share similar values, beliefs, interests, and we call upon each other to always fulfill the best of our potential. And I am grateful for all of this.
I don’t think it’s selfish to want more, though. As I shift focus away from romantic relationships and relearn how to appreciate and develop the platonic relationships in my life I also want to gain a better understanding and skill in fostering new relationships with people.
I’m headed to Chicago tomorrow, which is the furthest I will have been for work. Unlike Florida, this will also be my first time in this area. I’m excited and looking forward to a fresh break. With Beautiful back home I am too constantly haunted by reminders in everything I do and everywhere I am. My hotel is in a great location, within walking distance of all the Chicago landmarks. The Cloud Gate (bean) is nearby, I’m two blocks from Pizzeria Uno, and there is a great rooftop bar and club I will be visiting on Thursday at the dana hotel. I’ll be walking everywhere, I only have three stores to visit so I’ll have plenty of free time, and I would love to use this opportunity to make some new connections in a strange new land.
Later on this year I plan on using the air credit from the cancelled flights Beautiful and I were supposed to go on together to take myself on a solo vacation. Four days in a place I’ve never been before and I would like to think I wouldn’t spend all four of those by myself, or I might end up retreating to my hotel room and never venturing out.
The science is there to back me up. The great paradox of our modern society, other than how a cronut can be both flaky like a croissant and rich and doughy like a doughnut, is how the world can be filled with so many new mediums for social interaction and yet create a generation of existentially lonely people.
It has become increasingly harder for 20-somethings and above to create lasting meaningful relationships with their peers. Without school and the constant persistent echo of other people’s noise we are unaccustomed to the ritual of making friends.
How do I reach beyond the void and touch the person next to me? I am realistic and know that three days in the city a friend for life does not make. But am I to assume that the image of strangers meeting at a bar and going off on a night of crazy adventure and camaraderie is only reserved now for movies about man-children and bad mothers? While I walk through the Windy City, how do I connect to other people so that maybe I might hear footsteps other than my own headed in the same direction? As I absorb the beauty of the city at night from the rooftop bar how do I reach out to the person sitting next to me so that we may both imbibe of more than just spirits but the spirit of the city?
When I return home, how do I find all these people who are so close to me that would share the same interests and hobbies and would want to pursue them together? I am supposed to be on this journey of reflection and discovery and new personal and relational growth. But I cannot keep tending to the same flowers over and over and say ‘look at how wide and varied my garden has become’.
I’ve got two things going for me, though.
The first, as is so readily apparent in my writing, especially my last post, is that I am one funny bastard. The other are these guys. I met then in Boston two years ago at Boston PAX (a huge video game conference) and have been following them on YouTube, watching them play games and enjoying their commentary, ever since.
The last time I took a picture with a stranger was when I was rum punch drunk in Saint Lucia. The drinks are stronger and cheaper in the Caribbean, so I hope it doesn’t have to come to that again in Chicago. I don’t think my wallet could handle it or my already over-worked liver would appreciate it.
Man: 25 Loneliness: 14