“Great friendships develop when something important is shared, when effort is expended, and when there’s a personal stake in a relationship.”

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Ed Vasicek's picture

Many people do not have friends.

I often wondered why all the disconnected people do not get together. There are so many of them. The answer, I think, is that they want others to do the hard work of making a get together happen. They expect others to do the initiating -- or at least their share of it. If you want friends, you can't count how many times they invite you over or plan things. You might be the one who has to make it happen.  So many people are weak when it comes to social skills -- how to have a good conversation, how to share things about oneself, how to know when one is blabbering too much, etc.  

Incidentally, friends should not be confused with "projects."  We may make effort to help or love people, but friends also give something in return.

People no longer play (family) card games and board games, for example.  Watching movies together may bond some people, but it doesn't have the same interaction as making one's own fun.  Again, some people have little room for fun or wasting time together. That hurts friendship, too.

"The Midrash Detective"

Aaron Blumer's picture


A lot of truth in that, Ed. There's a human tendency to assume that other people are supposed to make the things happen that we benefit from.

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately. A couple of barriers that tend to lead to lots of disconnected people: one is introverted personality, and related to that, the skills of friendship. Outgoing and gregarious people often don't realize that making and maintaining friendships requires skills--because, for them, the behaviors involved are like breathing. Introverts feel like they're taking a big emotional risk every time they try to form a connection with someone... and that's reinforced by frequent failures because the skills involved don't come at all naturally to them.

So... those of us who are extroverts or kind of in between (I tip the scale toward introvert but it's very environment-based) have to learn to understand the less skilled and less bold and help them grow in their ability and motivation toward being a part of other people's lives.

Much of that is working at drawing people out. Some are naturally talented at it. For many of us it's like ice skating: lots of work, lots of fails, lots of bruises, and never completely free of awkwardness.

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, But a man of understanding will draw it out. (Prov. 20:5)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.