Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why can't my friends be friends with my friends

Every place you go you have the opportunity to make friends. From Pre-school, to High School— from the swim team to the planning team… you probably have made friends from each. Every place that you make friends has a different dynamic— each has its own set of rules, ways of speaking to one another, expected behavior, etc., etc. One would think that if you get along with one group of people— those people should get along with people from another group you know as well.

I recently made a comment to a co-worker that I felt I was always the same kind of person no matter who I'm with. They payed me a nice complement by saying "I can definitely see that in you"— after which they surprised me by following up with… "but I'm a completely different person outside of work…". I'm not saying that this person is a chameleon— but it made me wonder if people tend to act differently depending on who they are with.

Call me an idealist— but I tend to think that if I can get along with people from many different groups, they should as well. I fully understand the concept of group dynamics— and that even people within a group do not necessarily get along with everybody in the group… but I am still left to hope.

I did have one nice consolation where a former colleague from work struck up a conversation on Facebook with a theater friend over a topic that I never engaged with either beforehand. I'm not saying that we all should have the same number of friends and mutual friends on Facebook, but at least knowing that people can relate to one another even though they are from different groups is refreshing.

So, I will pose the question again…
Why can't my friends be friends with my friends?


Anonymous said...

It's an interesting question. I think I am largely the same person everywhere, but I also think that there are different needs and interests and even ways of communicating, that are filled by different relationships I have. My dad doesn't care about my religious life, so not that I hide it from him--it's just never a big topic of discussion. I have friends that I can discuss art with, or "book" friends who love to read as much as I. I have other friends who'd be bored to tears by a discussion of "A Tale of Two CIties." I have friends to be silly with, and others who just don't appreciate that silliness very much.

I think one of the beautiful things about friendship its that you can explore aspects of your character in greater depth--sometimes, depending on who you're with. I think I'd be bored if every person brought out the same things in me.

Kristina P. said...

I saw your comments on a few of my blog friend's blogs, so I thought I would pop over. I think this is an interesting topic.

I think that I am largely like myself in all aspects of life. I will say I am much more reserved at church, but that's sort of a more reserved place to begin with.

I do think that people are probably more comfortable in different social situations, and therefore may have a slightly different persona than at work.

I will probably stop by again!

Smart Helm said...

Man.. I'm impressed with those who can be the same no matter what situation they are in. It sounds like you know who you are, and are comfortable with that person. That is a wonderful gift!
You never know what ur gonna get with me. It depends on the time of day (don't talk 2 me before 10am on a workday), time of month (no explaination needed), time of the week (WEEKENDS!!), time of year (I love spring). Perhaps someday I will get out of my teenage years and become an adult. At 32, I'm still hoping :-)
Thanks for sharing your musings and I hope u'll feel less like your writing into a void.

Unknown said...

Hey I'm feelin pretty special, I see I'm on your blogroll, thank you!

Mama Wheaton said...

I had to think about this and I am probably more inclined to agree with your office worker. I don't think I'm false with anyone but I do tend to act one way with say certain family members and different with co-workers. I think it does have a lot to do with confidence and feeling secure in who you are. Still working on it.

Wendyburd1 said...

Well I think i am usually me, but I am incredibly shy, so people have to either break through my shyness to get me to BE me, or wait until i am really comfortable...breaking is the best though. Gina (Kate's BFF) did it like in 4 days of hanging out, so it IS possible.

Kristen said...

I try to just be myself at all times so that may mean I'm not always the same around everyone. I know I act more professional at work and while talking to my boss yet I'm more layed back with my friends.

Annette Lyon said...

Interesting question. I know that my writer friends wouldn't get along well, with, say, my high school buddies--different interests, different way of looking at the world.

I didn't realize I acted different with some of my girlfriends in college until my husband (then boyfriend) comment on it. It was an eye opener.

Deb said...

interesting that most of your commentators (including myself) think they are always themselves. so do we just not realize we are different? or do different people bring out different facets?

i think i really am the same all the time... it's probably why so many people think i behave so inappropriately!

another interesting topic to ponder. you should do a follow-up.

Barbaloot said...

I wonder this, too. I feel sad when people I like so much don't seem to like eachother? Why not?!

Cajoh said...

Thank you all for the interesting comments— many of which have encouraged me to write a follow-up post:



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