Friend Threshold

SeedAndThreshold_02.pngFriend Threshold: The maximal amount of friends or loved ones a person chooses to maintain. All other associations will either be discarded immediately or left underdeveloped.

What’s your number? Did you reach it? How old were you? Moreover, how did it feel?

I ponder this out of sheer ignorance. The idea of having a myriad of friends, a sweet social network, remains a foreign concept to me, and not by choice. Without my consent, I’ve become a loner, and given my haphazard track record, one might even conclude that it was purposeful and assiduously sought out.

After spending another birthday alone last week, I started digging into what this figurative “friend threshold” is. (Oddly enough, you could take it literally as well. Most notably, Facebook has a harsh 5,000 friend limit; consider yourself warned.) From all the blogs, forlorn songs, confessional websites, historical novels, etc., one would effortlessly conclude that you’re more likely to run into someone seeking friendship than someone not willing to squander any of their social time. And yet, each time I fail making that connection, it ironically connects me to that feeling that’s been sinking. I’m no stranger to Miss Misery. As I become mired in dialogue going nowhere, she pours the whiskey, listens silently, and never forgets to top me off.

In part, I blame the city. Active New Yorkers appear, at the very least, brimmed with companionship. Their ships have boarded and departed, and there I am in some makeshift “Cast Away”raft clumsily paddling towards their modern vessel. In all honestly, I’m not advocating to readily accept every human as your best friend. (We have dogs for that.) But there is plenty of middle ground that’s rarely granted to expatriates like myself.

I’ll give an example.

I organized a pizza party with my roommates and we all chipped in on spreading the word. As luck would have it, the apartment across from us is occupied by three women our age, so I knocked on their door to invite them. Within 10 seconds, my neighbor made it seem as though my presence was that of an intrusive gadfly, despite just standing in the hallway.

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“Hey! I’m Single Guy in NYC, I’m not sure if you remember me but I’m you’re neighbor.”

“Okay…” she sighed, hardening her grip on her door frame.

“Well, I just wanted to let you know that my roommates and I are having a party next week and, if you’re all free, you should come hang out.”

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“Right, maybe. Thanks.”

The door closed immediately afterwards.

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You might think she’s just shy but she’s really not. On the contrary, from what I’ve gathered living on the same floor as her, she’s a lively person. Most likely your average beautiful urban 20-something year old just relishing in their prime. And probably comfortable with her friend threshold. Pizza party? Ha. What’s in it for me?

I guess I see her point. 

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC

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6 thoughts on “Friend Threshold

  1. I’m clearly now gonna stalk through your blog but this struck a chord and I’ve written about it a bit. As a kid you make friends purely based on location. What school you go to etc. Then you start making friends based on actual interests but work and life (and crippling depression and OCD!) gets in the way and suddenly you can find yourself my age with less friends than fingers on one hand.
    I guess so long as you have one person to talk to if things are bad, that’s how I presume I’m still ok for friends! I set the bar pretty low.
    And a pizza party is a good idea. I am constantly terrified of talking to women because I’m worried I’ll offend or come across as psychotic, it takes balls to even approach people I think. When I get to the point i can say hi to my female neighbour without lowering my head and avoiding eye contact, then perhaps I’ll have made progress!

    • Thanks man. And yeah, you’re absolutely right about how one makes friends – it changes. Not to mention some folks are totally fine with 2 close friends, while others need a million. Moreover, I empathize with your fear (one of the reasons why I started this blog) but the art of conversation is nothing but a muscle that requires exercising. Just sucks that the mind gets in the way…

  2. I guess I’m kind of now in the same boat. I had a great group of friends but recently moved to the NYC area for work. I made the false assumption that being NYC I would go out and make a ton of new friends but it’s now been 3 months and I still don’t know anybody.

    I think that we have unhealthy expectations because we see it on TV or in movies. Then in real life, it just doesn’t work that way. I recently tried a board game night and got three people to come. I guess we just need to keep trying (let me know if you figure something out 😉)

    • You bring up a great point about living in a big city. In NY, you’re bombarded by groups of people wherever you’re traveling to but somehow there’s always room to do your own thing or feel isolated. The way I see it, one has to be exigent in their efforts (eat rejection for breakfast) and live the lifestyle. Also, meeting folks online is an option; sites like meetup.com, etc. It’s easy to get down – like I was here – but sometimes it can be just as easy to get up and at em’.

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