No New Friends? No, No, No.


I swear I hear “no new friends” coming out of the walls these days. The latest mantra coined by Drake is just as annoying and misguided as the last (YOLO), because when uttered by someone who hasn’t made $25 million dollars and ascended to the top of an industry ripe with leeches and parasites, it really sounds kind of silly. In many cases, the folks shouting “no new friends” have demonstrated a lack of mobility and engagement that undoubtedly will expose you to people with whom you may not only connect with, but develop meaningful relationships.

True, I’m still down with my “day one” Niggas, I have a group of friends that date back to before my memory begins, but I’ve also picked up friends at every significant stage in my life. I’m a firm believer that our friends represent the diversity in the components that make us; that being said, they should reflect where you’ve been in life, be a testament to your attempt at growth and the expansion of who you are. Naturally, the friends I grew up with are not in my life day in and day out, because our paths have led us in separate directions and the responsibilities we’ve taken on through the years don’t necessarily allow the time to kick it, doing nothing like we did as teenagers. Our relationships have matured and become just as complex as we are as men, which necessitates the formation of new friendships, because fellowship is encoded in our DNA.

Now, quite a few of my relationships have suffered through the years, mostly due to distance. However, I’m not speaking geographically, but the distance between two humans at any given time. This distance is usually created when one person is stuck in a certain environment or moment, while the other continues to progress or seek growth until the gulf widens enough for both parties to realize the friendship has disintegrated. I left quite a few “friends” chasing dreams of being Nino Brown or an eternal teenager as I matured and my focus narrowed on a more adult vision of life.

The advent of social media has created an erroneous environment of engagement that more than giving a false sense of friendship, gives us more than an occasional glimpse as to why many friendships have become so strained. I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult to maintain a relationship with someone that uses Facebook as a platform to share porn, air out their dirty laundry or even worse, their delusional view of themselves. These “connections” are superficial at best, but do allow the space for friendships to continue in a capacity that doesn’t allow people to truly force themselves in your day-to-day life, but still feel connected based on your level of sharing.

Many of my closest friends have come along in my adult years, because who I am closing in on 35 is far removed from who I was at 15, even 25 and those relationships reflect that progression and just where I’ve been in the twenty years since I had a nappy afro and only wore American Eagle or Champion t-shirts.The relationships I’ve maintained with my childhood friends have adjusted to where we are as we’ve reached our mid-30’s, phone calls and texts, hanging on occasion or plans to do something on a grander scale that often fall through because life gets in the way from time to time. On the other hand, there are cats still standing on the same blocks where I left them, screaming “no new friends”. More important, many of their lives scream “no new experiences” and isn’t that what life is supposed to be about?

Perhaps it’s just my personality; I’ve never found difficulty in making new friends or bringing people into my life, at a distance or on an intimate basis. Conversely, I know plenty of people who are so guarded and jaded that the trust required for forging or maintaining friendships just doesn’t exist and as a result, neither do healthy friendships. In the same way that living by the YOLO (You Only Live Once) meme was flawed because it damn near encourages bad decisions, not opening yourself up to new friendships can severely restrict the world you’re exposed to. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the way I’ve lived my life to this point and I don’t plan to start now. 

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