Social networks, or, envy

A quick recap to bring us all up to date: I had a fairly stable group of friends in elementary school, and a better group in middle school. Come high school, I moved to a different school district where I knew no one. Not being the outgoing type, it pretty much stayed that way, and I had a few fairly good friends but not a large group. Next comes college, a realization that I’m really not leaving anyone behind, and that I at least have a chance to start fresh, do it right.

Of course I still lacked most of the social skills, and took the easy route, bonding and hanging with people in my building and on my floor. No branching out to other cohorts meant that most of the rest of campus remained mysterious to me. Sophomore year or thereabouts I realized that friendship by proximity does not necessarily translate into true friendship, and in response tried to expand my social circles and meet more interesting people. I knew I was behind, but was working on catching up.

End recap. Enter present day. I feel I have a fairly good number of people that I am friendly with and enjoy the company of. A few I will certainly maintain relationships with after college. Some I may talk to occasionally. Many I probably won’t talk to again.

What I don’t have, and envy in other people, is kinda a long-term, close-knit group of good friends. Or, at least, a sort of unified social circle of people who communicate with each other. I’m envious of people who have some good friends from home, people they have known for years. I’m envious of groups formed in college that now have several years of shared history and experience, of bonds and in-jokes and understanding.

Here lies a placeholder for a few paragraphs I wrote about a specific example of this phenomenom. Reading it over, I realize that I do not have the verbal faculty to convey the demonstration I wish to convey, so its better to leave out something that will just cause undue awkwardness.

Breaking into a social circle can be a very difficult task, especially late in the game. I wrote about this in my Cyberlaw paper on trust relationships, but then it was just theoretical. The real thing is so much more complicated. It helps, though, to have a person or two encouraging you along and filling you in on backstory enough that you don’t feel completely alienated everytime someone tells a n amusing antecdote. And don’t get me wrong, it makes me happy, not sad, to see people taking pleasure in each others company. It just makes me envious. And we’re allowed to envy happiness, right?

3 replies on “Social networks, or, envy”

  1. I hope that none of my current friends take this entry as a sign that I do not value them, for that was certainly not the intent. I’m just feeling something that I want to puzzle out, and am finding it difficult to do so.

  2. Very much understood, and (for the most part) agreed.

    This entry was very interesting for me, as I’ve got some “friend issues” as well (not at all helped by the fact that I’m a social idiot). Most of my acquaintances at Brandeis have strong connections to friends back home, but I’ve only got one or two links. And I think I can live with that.

    friendship by proximity does not necessarily translate into true friendship
    Boy, do I hear ya… Not to say that I didn’t have some very great friends who lived nearby, but venturing out from one’s rabbit-hole is a requirement for making good friends.

    …a long-term, close-knit group of good friends…
    Again, agreed — I tend to stick to a more “nomadic” policy (not necessarily by choice) by which I take friendship where I can find it, and leave when there’s none left for me.

    Breaking into a social circle can be a very difficult task, especially late in the game
    Both in high school and now, I’ve found that I tend to prefer as friends those who are older than me (this causes obvious problems when people graduate/move on, but that’s not the point). I guess what I’m saying is sometimes you just have to live with not understanding every inside joke, and not being invited to every shindig within a particular group.

    But it’s perfectly fine to envy all those things.

  3. Some people have many acquaintances and few true friends that are there for you when that counts most. We all need soem of each but true friendship is really important. don’t count yourself short you are a true friend and that is to be valued. You get this from my side of the family Your Dad and me I fit into your category,Linda and Ralph J they got it from a different gene. Cherish your true friends and just work on the other

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