Today people are confusing becoming "friends" with people they "meet" on the Internet with the friends they meet in real life.
Ideally, people would physically meet and become friends with people, then use the Internet to maintain contact between meetings, or to grow these friendships if they're long distance friendships.
Rarely I have experienced friendships I met on the Internet to progress to face-to-face friendships, or that they have lasted, usually "petering out." However, the friends I have met on TGGuide have been lasting, quality, emotionally safe and supportive friendships, which is the exception.
Sometimes people make lifelong friends at school and work, but it is getting more difficult as it becomes standard to have many employers over a lifetime.
People often confuse acquaintances with friends.
This is how I break it down:
- Light/Casual Acquaintance - You recognize someone as a familiar face.
- Moderate Acquaintance - You are comfortable exchanging first names.
- Good Acquaintance - You share a cup of coffee.
- Light/Casual Friend - You go out as part of a group.
- Moderate Friend - You exchange full names and cell phone numbers.
- Good Friend - You share sensitive information, such as your home address, landline phone number, and issues that are occurring in the home, etc.
Be aware, so-called "popular" people, especially in a high school or college setting, really do not have that many friends, but many acquaintances, that they call "friends."
In my opinion, people of my generation, the "Baby Boomers," seek friendship mostly within romantic relationships.
First, people in a coupled relationship are able to become more easily friendly with others who are also in a coupled relationship.
For instance, during my ten year relationship with my Beloved, (she was a transwoman who identified as a mid-fem Lesbian, and I am a cisgender mid-butch Lesbian), we became good friends the first two years we knew each other through a transgender support group (I was exploring the possibility that I may have been a FTM, but I concluded I was not - that's another story!) and gradually fell in love. As we started dating, we became friends with three other couples, where the transwoman identified as a Lesbian and the butch was a cisgender Lesbian, all of which I am sure the butch would not have been friendly to me had I or both of us were single. About the fems, I am not sure, to be honest with you, but my partner and I only had good acquaintances at work and in professional societies.
Friendship is very important at every stage of life (I will be 59 years old on January, 2017). It is important to get out there. You won't make friends in front of your T.V. or computer screen. You need to join organizations that you truly find interesting that meet regularly. No one is going to want to be your friend if you only meet them once or twice, or once in a long while.
Here are some resources and ideas:
- Toastmaster's International
- Gender support groups
- LGBT - friendly churches
- Professional societies
- volunteer work
Please share with me your comments and suggestions!