Life After 25

Out With the Old and In With the New: The Art of Finding, Making, and Maintaining Real Friendship

By: Vanessa Zelaya
@ListenUp_NYC

At thirty-two years old my circle of friends seems to have gotten smaller and smaller with age. Friends come and go; some marry, some have children, some relocate, and sometimes people just simply grow apart. However, while some of us, myself included may know many people, if we are honest, how many of us have real honest, sincere, and true friends?

I have thought of this very question many times in my life. While I felt that I had genuine friends in my life, I could not help but to do an honest assessment on whether any of those friends had in fact been my real friends. Perhaps they were friends at the time in which they were a part of my life, but did I really trust them?

Could I tell them anything without them going behind my back and telling others? Were they really happy for me when something good took place in my life? Or were they secretly hoping that something would go wrong? Were there times when I felt that they were working to “up” me if I made a significant accomplishment in my life? Or were they satisfied enough with their own life to be happy either way?

Over the years I have had to let go of many “friends”, one friendship in particular became especially difficult for me to maintain and A few years ago, I made the heart wrenching decision to stop communicating with a friend I had know since the age of five years old. I suppose at some point in our lives we may have had things in common, however, as I started to grow up, there were things about her personality that began to rub me wrong. I began to feel drained, tired, and suffocated by her constant self-centered and self-absorbed nature.

Over the years, I had watched her demean, insult, and belittle other friends and boyfriends. At times, as kids I had been on the receiving end of her attitude. I had tolerated her all these years, so why did I suddenly have the desire to remove myself from her presence now? I could no longer take her negativity anymore. I began to realize just how different we were or how different we had become. While I am not perfect, I actually do care about other people, and while I can be many things, I am not self-centered or self-absorbed.

In an attempt to remove myself from her presence, I started to avoid her by finding ways to stay busy. I bumped into her here and there and after sometime, she finally moved on with her life. It took time, and a few tears, but I realized that everyone that is a part of your life today, is not meant stay apart of your life forever. It is ok to grow up and grow apart. It is natural growth and progression. As time went on, I would have to make this type of decision to let go of people a few times since then.

I realized that I may have to make this decision many times in my life, especially if I begin to feel that my love and respect for you is not mutual. Making and maintaining a friendship sure is hard if you care about the company you keep and If you are like me and want to be around those that are similar to you in values and in morals. I found that letting go of people would prove to be half the battle, but finding friends to replace them with would turn out to be another challenge.

Where does a thirty-two year old go to meet and make new friends? While I am aware of the many places to go and groups to join, I must admit that making new friends at this age can be an interesting experience to say the least. Just recently I heard of this somewhat new app entitled Hey! Vina.

My first thought was how ridiculous to have to seek friendship on an app! But hey many people out there do not have many real friends if they are honest. While you many not find your best friend on such an app, perhaps it can be helpful in communicating with others who desire to find friends that share their interest. Maybe someone is new to a job or a city and they don’t know anyone, if nothing else maybe this app can be a potential ice breaker!

Whatever the reason, apps such as these may be far more useful than meets the eye, if the intent is sincere. Personally, I prefer to meet people the old fashion way, in person. No matter how life brings people together, I believe friendship should happen organically and naturally without it being forced or pushed. Like any great date there should be chemistry and a feeling of ease when you are with someone you call your friend. It should not be too hard. At least that is what I believe.

Whenever I propose the question, how many real friends do you have? I either do not get a direct response from people or they simply shrug and say “not many!” I suppose if you are like me, you know many people, but you only allow a selected few to share your negative and drama free space. If you are like me, then you may have come to accept that your friends may never exceed the number of fingers you have on one hand and that’s ok. Today, I meditate and ask for kindred spirits to come into my life. Today, I am much more interested in quality than quantity and in my opinion one true friend is better than none.

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