Just finished watching “I Love You Man” with Paul Rudd and Jason Segal. Hi-larius!
As I yucked (there were some really gross body fluid jokes) and chuckled (Lou “I’m not the Hulk” Ferrigno is a hoot!) my way through the movie I realized Paul Rudd’s attempts to find a friend is really not at all
sad and pathetic unique. Making friends as an adult is hard. It requires savvy, time, effort and a jump out of your comfort zone. It’s easier to sit home and bitch and whine about your lack of a social life than it is to actually do something about it.
Having a twin sister I have never really had to work too hard for a friend. Buffy was there, we shared the same interests (Barbies, pudding and not wanting to wash dishes) and unless we were truly pissed with each other, it was always playtime. Having a twin is also a curse. As children we were always in the same classroom, collectively known as “the twins (total aside: I always swore that if I gave birth to twins I would insist, nay DEMAND that they be separated so that they would be allowed to have their own identity). Anyhoodle, as one of two, we were lumped together with no choice and while I piss and moan my poor sad childhood loss of identity, I always had a partner when those sadist teachers would inevitably enact out their own brand of Darwin’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ by allowing the children to chose partners.
The idea of friend evolves throughout your life. When you’re an infant it doesn’t matter if you have friends or not; everyone coos over that small, cute bundle. And as your parents schlep you all over the place you make friends by default. If your parents are among a group who all had kids at the same time, you are all set.
As a toddler or once you enter preschool, friends are made by mere fact of being together. You like Barbies? Cool! Wanna color? Use my red crayon! Going on a field trip and assigned a partner? In like Flint!
Elementary school can be just as easy. One can either carry the friends that made through the preschool or from the neighborhood. New friends can be made by a forced alphabetical choice through the assigned seating that teachers use. (I was a nerd and always scared to look behind me so my friends either came in front or next to me). You’re best buddies until either mid year when a new seating arrangement is made or a substitute comes in and can’t get into the teacher’s locked desk.
The only exception to this rule: no making friend with the opposite sex. Unless you were the rare type who didn’t think he/she were yucky.
Middle school gets a little more dicey. Friends can again be from the block, your old school or through the hated seating chart. However, there was always that one anarchist teacher who allowed you free choice and assigned your seat as the one you grabbed first day. You could luck out and sit next to your friends or arrive late (after having gotten lost!) and have to sit eerily close to the teacher’s desk or with THAT GROUP.
High school is an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, gridded on a schedule. The dynamics shift through out the day! Your homeroom buddy at 8:15 is not seen again until gym at 1:32. So one is forced to make new friends every 43 minutes. Exhausting! By the time one gets to college its no wonder people lose their minds and act out. They’re tired and confused!
Adult friendship resembles a toddler’s: forced to be with together with someone long chunks of time and you come together for a common need. Got a copy of a memo? Whew; you saved my hide! Got a red pen? Buddy! Can you help me with the copier? We’re bonding! Unlike preschool, as an adult you can choose how much time you spend with your co-workers.
- lunch in the break room or at the restaurant down the street
- staying at your desk (if you’ve a cubby or office all the better)
- It’s so and so’s birthday! Work party with cake!
Also, unlike preschool, you are allowed to talk to strangers and your circle of friends widens with the letter carrier, UPS guy and the motley crew of people who enter you office or work place.
As an adult there is the new dimension to the word ‘friend.’ One can be a buddy, pal, mate, associate, homey, your girl, your boy (boy with attitude!), without being a friend. Another reason why adults are so darned tired! All of these rules to follow!
Please to note, all of the above becomes null if you’ve a significant other; the majority of your time is spent being half of a duo. Not the pathetic “I can’t lead a life without you” duo but the “all of the guess work is taken out of how you are going to spend your weekends and who you will hang with” duo. Your life does change as you enter different stages of your relationship.
- Married friends tend to stay with married friends. Single friends are a drag, always looking for a date or carrying emotional ‘I just broke up and I hate all men/women” baggage* or see example three.
- Friends (married or not) with kids are wrapped up in Noggin or some other rated G activities that wear thin after a few minutes (especially if its not Spongebob or Timmy Turner).
- Single friends are always seemingly free to do some exotic super cool single type thing that you can’t do because your sig other doesn’t want to or the kids have ____________ in the morning. This does not include the ones itching for a relationship. These are just the ones that want to be and are happy where they are in life.
As an adult your life is supposed to be set and all the stigmatizing crap that was the norm as a kid is supposed to have been vanquished (excuse me while I chuckle)/ Baloney! It’s just as hard to do the scary stuff, if not harder since your stuff is supposed to be mature.
So when you rent “I Love You, man” from your library (shameless plug!) don’t take it for face value. Look at it as the blueprint for the friends that are yet to be made. And if you have friends and think this doesn’t apply to you, please know that they don’t like you any way!
Wondering why can’t we be friends,
*Perhaps this is a Rachee. maybe this is why my back hurts….