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March 11

“Couple seeks couple for good time”

Filed under: News,Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 12:04 pm

And by “good time,” they mean hiking, eco-activism, trading nerdy theories about “Lost.” Yes, Ryan Blitstein and his girlfriend/wingman have each other — and Facebook and MeetUp and CraigsList — but they also have solitary jobs in a relatively new city (Chicago), and, as Blitstein writes in a nice essay at Salon.com, they are also having a hard time making friends.

“My Facebook profile is bursting at the seams with hundreds of acquaintances, colleagues and contacts, many within walking distance. But I can count on one hand the number I’d even take out for a drink. So much for the brave new world of social networking,” Blitstein writes. “Until recently, I thought of myself as different, especially when it came to maintaining friendships with other men. I am not afraid to ask a guy out on a so-called man-date. I don’t need to use SportsCenter or an action movie or an indie rock show to overpower the supposed latent homoeroticism that some men attribute to one-on-one male socializing. I’m as comfortable talking about relationships with another dude as I am arguing about politics. But it seems the older I get, the harder it is to find new people to engage in these conversations.”

And: “There is a vast gulf between vaguely keeping in touch with someone and actually sharing, experiencing, exploring and all the other things you give and get and take from a close friendship. I find it increasingly difficult to cross over that gulf with those I’m meeting now. It’s a poignant thing to be a full-grown human and realize you’re deficient in something that seems so effortless for children.”

Blitstein’s essay is not an obvious broadside against the “alienation” of “technology,” yadda yadda. (I’d argue that the “connectedness” fostered by Facebook, while often superficial in one sense, still does the job of affirming one’s role in one’s own life story. High school! Camp! That crappy post-college internship! OMG! Hi hi hi!) But judging by many of the letters written in response, Blitstein and his girlfriend are not, so to speak, alone — and I think there is something new and modern, if not high-tech, about that. When we married much younger, skipping the seeking-our-fortunes/-selves segment of our twenties, we kept our high school and college friends because we’d graduated with them, like, last year. Now, like our phones, we’re mobile. There are more phases in our lives, more places to put down — and pull up — stakes. Makes sense to me.

What about you? Has making friends gotten harder for you as you get older? Might that also make it harder to make more-thans, too, given that “through friends” can be a romantic goldmine?


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