Tuesday December 23, 2003

Friendships

[ This question is courtesy of Out There! Collaborations (December 2000) by way of diarist.net/spark/ ]
What kind of people do you surround yourself with as your friends?
Do you find yourself more comfortable with people your own age, or does that matter?
Do you like to surround yourself with lots of people, or do you like to have a smaller, more tight-knit group around?

How easy or difficult is it for you to meet new people and make new friends?
Is it easier or harder to make friends using the Internet, and what kind of positive effect has meeting friends online had on your life?
What are the greatest kindnesses a friend has shown to you?


What kind of people do you surround yourself with as your friends?
Do you find yourself more comfortable with people your own age, or does that matter?

Most of my friends have similar interests to me... technical interests or feline interests.

Age doesn't matter and never has. I joined Mensa when I graduated from College and moved from Central Pennsylvania to Connecticut (New Haven area) for Grad School. Mensa gave me many opportunities to meet new people: some with similar interests, many with different interests, but all interesting. Many of the Mensa members were older than my then 21 years; it never mattered to me. I occasionally would hear that they had trouble attracting "young adult" members because they wanted to be with people and participate in activities for their "age group" and I recall thinking "all of these people are smart and interesting; they all like to talk. What does "age group" mean??"

Looking back, I see that the Connecticut group was very special. All Mensa local groups are different. Connecticut did many dinner things, small special interest groups, lots of "sitting around a living room and chatting". It was a great way for a new arrival to join an instant group of pleasant and welcoming acquaintances. The greater Washington DC group was much larger and given to dinner groups, animation festivals, and pleasant parties. I met Rich there! Neither of us participates much in the San Francisco Bay Area group. Oddly, this group is more into bar groups and very special interest subgroups divided, (wrongly, in my opinion) on the basis of age! They have the "under 30" group and the "40-50" group and... yich. Even if I "approved" of age splitting like this, Rich and I have a 10-year difference between us (which I only occasionally, in situations such as this, consider :-). So, which groups would we attend?

Here in CA, there are so many techie people that our friends tend to be techie people, Perl programmers, Unix operating system types, and people we met through those people.

Do you like to surround yourself with lots of people, or do you like to have a smaller, more tight-knit group around?

I prefer a smaller group. I like to know everyone's name and some of their interests. Even my "jokes to friends" email list is pretty short. I'm not a party person; in large groups I'm pretty shy (Although people who know me better have a difficult time believing that :-)

How easy or difficult is it for you to meet new people and make new friends?

It's non-trivial :-); As I've said, I'm actually shy and introverted in groups. Then again, so are many of my friends. We meet best through other people.

I have three friends from College with whom I communicate often; three others with whom I communicate less often. None from High School. A dozen or so from work over the past two decades. More recent friends from user groups. Some friends of friends who became friends of us.

Is it easier or harder to make friends using the Internet, and what kind of positive effect has meeting friends online had on your life?

Easier, I think. Different, certainly. I get to meet people I never would have met. I can meet people who share my interest in the Web, or my interest in cats, or my interest in technical things. I meet people around the world. I'm more "myself" when I write; I write so much more fluently than I talk! So I just jump right in and write and people write back.

If you didn't see my weblog entries on Internet friends, I invite you to read them and comment if you like.

Online Relationships (Dec 10)
Online Friends (Dec 12)

What are the greatest kindnesses a friend has shown to you?

Listening! Being there when I wondered where I was going (should be going), what I should be doing, whether my choices were the right ones. Responding. Discussing. Considering my viewpoint as valid and worth considering simply because it's mine. Believing I could do whatever I wanted or needed to do. Judging my decisions in the light of my thinking rather than anyone elses. Believing in me. Sticking with me for 20 years or more!

Friendships ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Tue, 23 Dec, 15:36 Pacific | «e»