Note: This post is a particularly old post from one of my previous blogs. I share it not because it’s completely relevant to my current state of mind, but to give context to a separate post that will be going up later in the week.
Did you know that people apparently don’t care about the sportsball? I was a bit surprised too, especially considering that two of the largest sports websites in the world, ESPN.com and Bleacher Report, are ranked #114 and #336 globally by Alexa respectively. Furthermore, of worldwide sports leagues, the National Football League trails only the English Premier league in terms of popularity, and I’m not even sure that’s a definitive statement.
As a result, you can imagine my confusion and dismay when I watch my blog traffic drop by 70% just by writing a week’s worth of sports posts. Furthermore, comment traffic dropped 85% from where it had been over the course of the last month. To say this was shocking wouldn’t be an understatement, as even if my readership basis was skewed to a below average number of the general population who were sports fans, that shouldn’t cause a 70% drop in traffic. On Saturday afternoon, however, I may have received a deeper answer to the traffic drop than I would have initially thought of, all from an unexpected conversation.
On Saturday afternoon, my girlfriend and I drove down to visit my grandparents and my dad for a few hours. My dad worked until 4pm, so much of the first hour of our visit was spent talking with my grandma as she readied her kitchen for making dinner. I mentioned to my grandma that I now have a chair in my living room to sit in, though I was considering getting another one in case I have friends come over to visit. Her response, while not totally surprising, did catch me a bit off guard.
“I think you’ll be fine. I didn’t know you even had friends.”
As the statement was made in jest, my girlfriend quickly agreed. The two of them shared a laugh before going back to talking about whatever else was on their minds at that time. I laughed a little bit too, as I did realize they were joking. That said, for every joke that’s made, there’s at least a little bit of truth in it.
It’s highly likely that adding a second chair to my living room wouldn’t have any impact at all to how I live my day-to-day life. Other than my girlfriend and my apartment complex’s maintenance crew, the last time someone other than myself was in my apartment was when my dad last came up to visit — March of 2012. I don’t care about the fact that my bed resides in my living room because I know no one will see it (this is also largely due to the fact that my air conditioner lives in the living room and isn’t powerful enough to reach the bedroom, but still).
I’m not exactly the type of person who’s good at making friends in person. I have lots of people I talk to online that I consider my online friends, but with one exception, I’ve never met any of them in person. I get along great with people at work, often times playing the role of peacemaker when there are internal quarrels in my department at various jobs I’ve held. That said, it’s very rare that one of those work friends becomes someone I talk to outside of work.
There was recently a discussion on 20SB regarding how easy it is to make friends outside of the context of a college environment. The feedback was largely the same across the board — sure, it’s harder to make friends outside of college, but it’s still a fairly simple task if you try. I’d disagree with this statement in part. I definitely agree that it is harder to make friends outside of a university setting, but I don’t think that for many people it’s for a lack of trying.
As most humans grow into adulthood, we find ourselves learning the harsh realities of the world. The vast majority of people are out to get what works best for them and nothing more. Sure, an exception may be made for a spouse, family member, or particularly close friend, but unless an interpersonal exchange results in either short or long term benefits for at least one of the two parties involved, you can be damn sure it’s not happening.
This isn’t to say I’ve completely abandoned my existing “in real life” friends. I do still have a few people I still talk to on a regular basis that I’ve had long friendships with. However, while they reside in Arizona, Boston, Wisconsin, rural Southern Ohio, and Northwest Ohio, I’m in none of those places. I don’t have the luxury of being able to meet a friend for a drink if I want to on the spur of the moment. Outside of occasional emails/texts I’ll get from one of the aforementioned friends, my life largely revolves around exposure to one other person. I miss having friends.
Of course, the counter argument to all of this rambling is “well go make new friends”. Life isn’t that easy. While it may be easier to be cynical in stating that the world is a place where good people are few and far between, it’s also a relevant and truthful statement. Even those in the world who aren’t great people have the capacity to look out for those they care about. The trick is finding them. Everything else in the world is smoke and mirrors — a witchcraft that we all practice in an attempt to isolate ourselves from the cruelty that is real life.