Life in the Fast Lane


The Intricacies of the Adult "Friend Zone"

By 5:38 PM , , , , , ,

No, I'm not talking about that kind of Friend Zone.

I'm talking about the different kind of friends one has when he/she reaches a certain age, as well as its complexities.

I came across this article, The Challenge of Making Friends as an Adult, and I found myself nodding and "Mm-hmm"-ing every now and then while reading it. Basically, it tackled how difficult it is to make friends and keep them in this age of social networking, varying life stages, intense stress at work, changing priorities, what have you.

Here's one snippet from the article that got me nodding:

"In your 30s and 40s, plenty of new people enter your life, through work, children’s play dates and, of course, Facebook. But actual close friends — the kind you make in college, the kind you call in a crisis — those are in shorter supply."
This is true, to a certain extent. Over the past few years, there've been people in my life who came and went. People with whom I've had lots of memories and fun times, but who've seemed to move on because of unforeseen circumstances and different priorities. And I don't resent them for that. Because I, too, may have unknowingly pulled away from some people because of my own circumstances. Things like these happen.

It's a tricky business, being part of this generation, in particular. When my mom was my age, she was married and already had two kids (yours truly, followed by my brother Chuck). In those days, getting married at 28 was seen as a no-no. 25 was a suitable age.

Today, now that most of us are 30 (or are at least turning 29 by now), some of my high school and college batchmates are already married and/or have kids. A number of them are in stable relationships. Then there's that other percentage of still-single career men and women. I'm in that group.

Given all these, it's no wonder that our former sets of high school and college (and, in my case, church) cliques have evolved considerably. The new mommies are starting to reach out to fellow mommies, hoping to get tips on how to make their babies sleep straight, etc. The newlyweds and just-got-engaged's start interacting with people in the same situation so they can pass on tips about the best wedding photographers in the metro with the best rates, etc. Then there are the single ones like myself who discuss the perils of working overtime on weekdays and make plans for Saturday nights out.
"No matter how many friends you make, a sense of fatalism can creep in: the period for making B.F.F.’s, the way you did in your teens or early 20s, is pretty much over. It’s time to resign yourself to situational friends: K.O.F.’s (kind of friends) — for now."
I think we all have K.O.F.'s now, come to think of it. The people you run to when you need someone to watch a movie with; the ones who give you advice about something your friends-from-forever can't relate with; or those from your line of work or gym/fitness regimen who know what you're feeling. Because your former B.F.F.'s, while still in the picture, aren't and can't always be there for you. And even if they are, you may not necessarily be on the same page when it comes to life stages or situations.

And so you hang and interact with your K.O.F.'s now, adding to your list of memories that complement those created with your B.F.F.'s. All is well and good, while a part of you may feel a sense of displacement, if there such a term. That sense of wondering how long this will last, but in the meantime, you cherish it anyway. You love it, even.

What I'm realizing now, though, is that your K.O.F.'s are nice to have in good times; maybe even in bad times. But when the going really gets tough, that's when your true friends will step in. Even if you're unable to understand each other as well as you once did when you were younger; even if you don't see each other on a regular basis; even if you might have drifted apart from each other.

Your true friends, those who transcend the term "B.F.F.", those who'll always have you in their hearts, will find a way back to you. Despite differences in life stages, despite marching to different drum beats nowadays.

I'm thankful for the fact that I know who mine are.

I'm thankful to be part of their lives, too.

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  1. Kahit dati, nung bata pako, medyo picky na ako pagdating sa pagpipili ng friends. Ngayon, actually, hindi masyado. Gusto ko kasi masurprise. At nagwork naman. I've met a couple of people who I believe will turn out to be friends for life.

    Pero totoo, mahirap din gumawa ng bagong kaibigan, lalo na itong age natin. Most of the time kasi, alam na natin ang gusto natin, may conscious effort na ng crticism nung ibang tao.

    Pero ang napansin ko naman, extreme and results. Either magkasundong-magkasundo kayo o talagang hindi. Yun ang tuwang-tuwa ako kasi at least, dun man lang sa part na yun, pinadali na desisyon mo, hindi ka na mamomroblema pa.

  2. Hi, Jaq!

    Ako din, namimili din ng mga kaibigan. Mga tunay na kaibigan. Siguro dahil "shy" din akong tao (baka hindi lang halata, hahaha) pero iilan lang talaga sa mga kaibigan ko ang true blue B.F.F.'s ko. LOL!

    At least, kung magkaroon man ako ng mga K.O.F.'s, hindi ako masasaktan kung umalis na lang sila bigla. Kasi alam ko nandyan lang naman ang mga B.F.F.'s ko, kahit matagal na kaming 'di nagkita. :)

    Mahirap talaga ang tinatawag na "adult relationships", 'no? Ang dami na kasi life stages ngayon (i.e. married OR already a parent, in a relationship, single), 'di gaya ng panahon ng mga magulang natin dati. Lahat, halos, may pamilya na nung sila'y ka-edad natin. Kaya okay lang na i-maintain ang kaibigan nila mula college, high school... kahit grade school pa! Kasi pare-pareho ang mga kaganapan sa buhay nila bilang working dads/stay-at-home or career moms.


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