Friend 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.
“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.”
“Right, maybe. Thanks.”
The door closed immediately afterwards.
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