Monday, June 25, 2007

Circle of Friends, or Friendly Circling?

I've found myself musing on the strange, inexplicable process of making friends. One of the aspects of Life in Chicago that I'm still struggling with is the absence of a tight-knit group of friends. I had one in college. I had one in Chicago a few years ago. But people get married, have babies, move away, grow apart...and I've found myself on the fringes of the social scene, with no group that makes me feel as though I really belong.

Sure, I go out. Almost every Saturday night, and often during the week. But, with few exceptions, I rarely go out with 'good' friends. Instead, I go out with people I'm friendly with, always hoping that some of them will become 'good friends'. Real friends, the kind that you can call just because you feel like chatting, not because you have a question. Friends who share inside jokes with you.

For some of these friendly, occasional drinking buddies, I do feel as though we're slowly starting to become real friends. The part that I muse on is this: When did it become so difficult to make new friends (and not just acquaintances)?

I don't remember the process of become close with my college friends. We went from acquaintance to friend without really working at it. Same with my old chevra, now scattered to the winds. We met, we clicked. Was it really that simple, or is memory just selective? And if it was that easy, why does it suddenly seem so hard?

(Note: This is not to say that I don't have good friends. I do, and I'm grateful for them. Nor are all of them from the college or pre-college years. I have made some wonderful, close friends since graduating. Some of them even still live in Chicago.)

I'd hoped, when I moved back to Chicago last May, that I would make new friends, and create a new, satisfying social scene for myself. I was terrified of falling into the social rut that had partially sent me scurrying off to Israel the year before. And while I'm not quite back in that rut, the threat of it still looms. That wished-for social scene never quite came to be. Is it me? Is it a natural part of *gasp!* getting older? Or do I just think too much?

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