It’s All About Timing

It’s brilliant because it’s true. How many times have you spoken these words? “We probably wouldn’t be friends if we met today but…”

It’s a phrase oft uttered when one friend introduces a new pal to an old one. A diplomatic way of saying “Don’t judge me based on the company I keep, we lived next door and shared a blankie when we were 5. Her crazy ways/lack of personality/nasty humor are no reflection on me.” You know, without actually having to come out and say it, because you’d never speak ill of your lifelong buddy, right?

Maybe that’s why making friends as an adult is so much harder. Suddenly we’re in full control of who’s awarded our precious time. We’re not thrown into a relationship because our mothers are best friends or we grew up on the same block or we were randomly assigned a shared dorm room. Hectic schedules keep us from making plans with ladies who don’t fit our perceived BFF mold, because that would seem unproductive. A waste.

But here’s the catch. The most satisfying friendships are often with people who are totally different from us. The very souls we could never see ourselves clicking with. They’re the ladies we couldn’t get rid of because our mothers were best friends or we lived on the same block or in the same dorm room. Since we couldn’t shake them, we learned to love them. What other choice did we have?

I read recently that adults decide within 10 minutes of meeting someone what kind of relationship they want with that person. Once our grown-up minds are made up, we have a hard time changing them. Maybe if we did a bit more forcing, the people we meet who seem crazy or stand-offish or juvenile would in fact become the BFFs we’re (I’m?) looking for.

Or maybe meeting each other today would be a disaster.

Thoughts? Do you have an old friend you don’t think you’d mesh with if you met today? Or is that a cop-out line? Is adult friending hard because we simply don’t give people a chance to grow on us?

13 Comments

Filed under The Search

13 responses to “It’s All About Timing

  1. Hmmm… Interesting question… If I met my current friends today, I think we’d still be friends because we have similar interests, morals, etc, etc. But, I will say we do not have similar lives anymore, so maybe that would prevent us from being friends? Meaning, my best friends are now married and many have babies on the way, and I am single, so our lifestyles are so different… Not that I am a wild, fun single gal who is out on the town, that’s so not the case. It’s more so that I don’t have a + 1 to bring to their couple-esq bbq’s… and I don’t have a child to bring to mommy & me yoga…

  2. Sara

    I also have the opposite feeling a lot. I meet a new friend and think, I would never have been friends with you if I had met you in college or high school, I may have even hated you, thank god we’re meeting now.

  3. This is something I think about all the time. I made a lot of good friends while waitressing, and for a time those people became my super closest friends simply because I saw them all the time, and we had lots of down time to get to know each other. Most of them I would NEVER have been friends with if I had met them outside of work.
    But then there are those few who, while being extremely different from me, became some of the neatest people I know. And I still consider them good friends despite the different walks of life they come from.
    Looking at those relationships objectively, I can definitely see that had I met them now, our friendship would never have gotten as deep as it is. This is simply due to the judgments I admit I would probably pass on them now, when I don’t have to be nice because they might help me buss a table or something. It is interesting the sorts of people you bond with due to the timing. (For better or for worse. Haha)

  4. san

    Interesting post… and definitely true. I have a few friends that I’ve known since kindergarten and it’s also true that with some of them, I might not have become friends, if I had met them today.

    However, this statement is true: “The most satisfying friendships are often with people who are totally different from us.”

    My husband once mentioned to me that he’s really astounded by the fact that I have so many different types of friends. Every relationship is unique and our friendships definitely thrive on it.

  5. Allison

    I don’t know if I have any childhood friends who I wouldn’t befriend if I met them today…but I definitely agree about possibly judging people too quickly. Two of my best friends today didn’t make the best first impression on me, and I am SO glad I gave them second chances. Now, when I meet new people and don’t get a good vibe right away, I remind myself: “First impressions are for sh!t.”

  6. Adults are quick to judge, but I think there is more to it. In high school and in college we occupy the similar insecurities so it is easier to forge relationships. Everyone is trying to figure out who they are going to become.

    As an adult, to a large extent we become almost statue-like. We rely on pre-conceived notions of who would be friend material and perhaps discount people based on that judgment. As an adult, it becomes more difficult to immediately find common ground with another. Therefore, perhaps if the initial click isn’t there, we are less likely to invest time in the relationship.

  7. Krista B.

    I think a lot about adult friendship is that we don’t really give people a chance to grow on us. Just this year I changed jobs and started a new tentative friendship with a coworker. It was easy and we enjoyed eating lunch together everyday. My new friend however, started to invite another coworker to join us and I was not happy. This new woman was always negative and their conversations were about subjects and topics I couldn’t relate to and I felt excluded and I really didn’t like the new “lunch buddy.” Fast-forward eight months. Funny thing is I am not very close with the original friend and I have become so close with the woman I didn’t initially like and it was all because we kept eating lunch together and over time my feelings changed. The story however ends in sadness our new incredibly close friendship will be ending because she is taking a job in Germany and moving next week and I am really sad. I don’t know if our friendship will survive, but I am glad that I gave her a second chance.

  8. I think it goes both ways. I have friends from my younger days that I KNOW I wouldn’t be friends with now–we have almost nothing in common other than history, but I love them dearly (despite our differences). However if I met them today, I don’t think I could get past some of the BIG differences in idealogy and opinion that we have.
    On the flip side, I’m friends now with some people that I know I would never have been friends with in high school or college. Maybe it’s the way that the “real world” democratizes some things, but I can look at those people and know for one reason or another I’m only able to be friends with them because of where I am in life today.

  9. All of the good friends I’ve had in my life have been people who I wasn’t all that impressed with when I first met them, but circumstances led us to spending more and more time together, and they turned out to be pretty OK people :)

    • Fanfan

      Exactly! A lot of times I felt tricked by people I had very decent first impression with. Most of the time, humans are very delusional.

  10. All I have to say is: TEN MINUTES?! I definitely believe the statistic, but what a scary thought, right?

  11. I think it’s a lot like finding your life’s mate – the older we are, the pickier we are because we know ourselves better. We are less likely to put up with someone who is flaky, disrespectful or needy. As a teen, I know I was more accepting of these traits. These days I don’t have time or tolerance.

    While I’m sure I wouldn’t have picked some of my old friends today, I’m glad they are in my life, since it is always nice to have someone around who knew you and loved you back then.

  12. Pingback: That Magic Moment « MWF Seeking BFF

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