Since coming back to the gay community, I have been trying to collect friendships like Pokemon Cards. Which is an odd thing for me to say since I’ve never played Pokemon. But, in short, I have attempted to hold on to all of the newly minted friendships. Trying to keep a connection with my new acquaintances. Or trying to revive or build a friendship with someone I knew ages ago, whom I have recently reconnected with.
The last two days for me, have been fairly emotional. Not in any groundbreaking sense, but, I think I realized I should have been trading some of the cards that I had collected and not attempting to collect all of the friendship cards in this area.
Friendship: Quality over quantityAccording to the article: This is Why You Don’t Need More Friends
The article suggests that: Maybe you don’t need more friendships, you need deeper ones. It seems simple enough. Unlike in Shasta Nelson’s TEDx Talk, Frientimacy, my social network has not grown. In fact, many of you know I do not have any social media. So, I rationalized my quest of collecting all of the gay Pokemon Card friendships in this metro as an attempt to network, in an old-school way.
Needless to say, those philosophies were at odds and I had not realized it until last night.
Last night was a weekly meeting of some newly minted friendships, where we gossip over dinner and then go to a local weekly gay event. The longer this weekly ritual happened, the only satisfaction came from the dinner and the deeper conversations we would have across many topics. In fact, most of my weekly dread would be a sum of accepting that I would be in attendance for the local weekly gay event.
As every week, people have different work schedules and obligations in their daily lives, so, their attendance would be very dynamic. Might show up for dinner and skip out before this event. Might skip dinner and show up for this event. Last night was no exception.
The night moved on and these newly minted friends would have to call it a day and leave. The legacy friends that I am attempting to revive that old friendship with were all that remained. Now I’m left at this gay event with these gay friends that I knew years ago, you would think I would be the most comfortable and have a sense of peace. But oddly, I felt more anxious, more out of place, more annoyed, and more alone than with the newly minted friends that have left for the evening.
I have nothing in common with them (the legacy friends). The stories they tell are fairly shallow and have little to no substance. Hell, the longest story last night was about one of them going to the doctor and being admitted to the ER. I hadn’t even had much to drink at that point, but the story went on for what seemed like hours. It ended with: “So that’s why you didn’t see me out over the past couple of weeks.”
Reflecting, standing at the bar service-well waiting to order, I thought to myself: Had he been missing a couple of weeks? Had I even noticed? I then truly realized, I did not know if he had or had not been around recently, and I didn’t care. In fact, I disengaged in the conversation to ask one of my newly minted friends if he wanted a drink or not.
That’s how shallow a “life milestone event” of going to the emergency room and being admitted to the hospital for a few days was. I just did not care. Which made me wonder why I would even spend time going to see them in person?
This then leads to me reflecting on how often we actually talk outside of this single gay event. Ironically, the only texts we exchange are him (this legacy friend) giving me breaking news alerts on if he’s going to be out for that event or not.
Is this a friendship?