Friday, July 13, 2012

Making Friends

To go along with yesterdays post I thought I would explore something that has given me reason to ponder over the years. What is the "golden ratio" of characteristics that make for the best friends?

I started thinking about this when I found out we would only be living in our new city for a year. A year isn't a lot of time. But I want to make the most of it. So the question really became, "how can I weed through the hundreds of people I may come in contact with, and find the people that have the greatest potential to become friends?"

It sounds harsh, and rather unfriendly of me. I always try to be friendly.

Let's be honest. Not everyone we meet we have interest in becoming friends with. And by friends I mean the kind that you want to have over for dinner, call on the phone, trade babysitting with. I like having a large acquaintance pool, but I have noticed that my friend pool I like to keep a little smaller.

When I think about the characteristics of my best friend, we share the following (in no particular order): kids of similar age, medicine, hobbies, religion, body composition, political affiliation, economic standing, beliefs about money, food preferences (and probably more). And maybe what makes her my best friend is that our husbands are also best friends, too. We have a magic combination.

I also have a friend with whom I share little in common (by comparison). The tie that binds us together is that she was the person who I met first. Other than that we shared: neighborhood, age, religion, and political affiliation. Our kids are no where near in age, our economic status is different, we manage our money completely opposite of each other, an easy 100 lbs separate us, our husbands are friendly,  and I am not always ready to eat her cooking. But she is my friend, one of my longest and dearest.

So what is the magic combination? Is it a numbers game? Are some characteristics weighted more heavily in favor of friendship? I still don't know, but I am positive that one exists. How? Based on pure experience. I can't think of a single friend that doesn't share at least three thing in common with me.

I don't rush into friendships, or at least I haven't in the past. My fear now is that as people find out our stay here is short-term will they be interested in investing the time to forge a friendship? Will I be interested? How much time is necessary for true friendship to develop? I don't know that I have ever been able to accomplish that in such a short time. There have been the exceptions, like my best friend. Some people you meet and immediately know you will be friends. Now off to find those people!

What are some of the commonalities you find make for the best friends? Or do you have friends with whom you have nothing in common?



  1. I have friends based on my values, religious affiliation (I tend to have friends who are not of my religion or very progressive within my religion), medicine for sure (hard to relate to people outside of medicine once you've been on this road for so long), politics is important but i feel that goes with my values and religion, my kids' ages (or they have to have kids bc it's just so hard to relate to people without kids and women who want to get pregnant but can't or won't) and SENSE OF HUMOR...and guess what I DON'T HAVE MANY IN REAL LIFE FRIENDS. I am stuck in a very provincial city for residency where people operate like a small town in Oklahoma. (I'm far from OK but you get my point). I am a bit city girl. You think you have it bad with one year?! I've got a five year sentence. When I do meet cool people they are always on their way out. Met a resident wife (also a doctor) our kids were one year apart but she left after 5 months of being friends. Met a lady from my hometown and speaks my native language, moving 5 days after I met her. I'm going to say God doesn't want me to make friends here because this is just a stop in the road for me. Just in case you don't make any friends, maybe my current mindset will help you cope instead of feeling pressure to "make friends" or like somehow you failed. Diversity is good in my opinion but one has to stay true to their values as well. Good luck. In all honesty, as my husband tells me when I get down about friendships: friends are over rated. Be glad if you have one good best friend (and I do---my husband).

    1. Very wisely put, my husband is my best friend - when he is home. And most of the people that I consider friends are of the virtual variety scattered all over the country and we may never meet. Thank heavens for the internet, otherwise I would be lonely - no time for that now! But, a lot of help you are to me when I need a babysitter:-) I agree with the kids thing, it is a place to get started and come to think of it, I don't have real life friends without kids. Church is a good place to meet people and medicine provides another instant connection. Sometimes I do think I could broaden my horizons by intentionally seeking out people who are different than I am (at least at first encounter).

    2. Don't waste your time trying to befriend people who are different than you....(at least if the differences are morals/values). You will just be disappointed and disgusted with society. At least that's my conclusion. I'm a cynic though. =(

  2. Replies
    1. I stumbled across your blog last week, the feeling is mutual!

  3. Winding down our fellowship year I discovered it was much harder to develop friendships than I thought it'd be this past year. I was involved in a MOPS group as well as a book study through church & while it gave me the chance to get out among other women I discovered that with my kids' varying schedules I really didn't have a ton of time to invest in forging friendships. It made me realize that all of my closest relationships have been cultivated for years and now as a busy wife/mother that new friendships don't blossom as quickly when I'm only seeing these women every couple of weeks. Good luck finding someone that you enjoy hanging out with this year!

  4. Hi I'm Ellen. I share a blog with one of my best friends Erin. She is probably the only person I could blog with because she is not easily offended and takes constructive criticism extremely well. That being said, my friends need to share my core values and NOT be crazy or cause drama. Hope you can make some friends. A year is tough when you are an adult.

    (Found you through your comment on Your Doctor's Wife. Love her.)


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