I read an essay today that had been published about a month ago in the NY Times about finding friends as an adult. The author of the essay mentioned that she had plenty of friends in her life but didn't know if she had a "ride or die" BFF. That got me to wondering if I had one. I concluded that I'm not so sure.
I've never had a large number of friends in my life. It's almost as if I only have the capacity for about five friends and the names on the list change depending on the circumstances. To be clear, I don't count all the people I've met online as friends, despite the terminology on social media sites like Facebook. I stick to the old-fashioned idea that a friend is a person that I have spent time with face to face more than once. I think that some of the relationships I've developed online have the potential to evolve into friendships, but they aren't quite there yet.
Of course, part of the reason for my list of friends being so short is that I am not good at starting or maintaining friendships. Between my innate hermit-like tendencies and my inability to drive, people who are friends with me end up putting in most of the effort to keep the relationship going. It is no surprise to me why people fade out of my life.
My definition of "ride or die" is that the person would drop everything if I called with an emergency, makes plans with me a priority, and misses me if I can't attend an event or something. There are people in my life that fit in this category, but I don't think they see me that way. I would "ride or die" for them, but I don't think they realize that I would and I don't think I'm as high on their list as they are on mine.
Even before reading this essay, I've been pondering the role of friendship in my life. There have been a lot of articles in the past year or so that talk about the importance of friendship to our physical and mental health as we age and how our technology-driven society is making it difficult to maintain real, in-person friendships. I realize that I don't really have a circle of friends, let alone a "ride or die" BFF, and it may be too late to fix that. I mean, how would you like to know that I'm building a circle of friends just so I don't sink into dementia in my old age? That's no reason to make friends, is it?