I’ll admit that I’m one of those people with a staggering number of “friendly acquaintances”. I’m loaded with all the right questions and am programmed with all the right reactions to make someone new feel comfortable. In retrospect, I realise that I’ve had something of an addiction for meeting new people. It was always enticing to meet a stranger because it’s like meeting a blank canvas. Hearing someone share his/her life with you for the first time is watching the unique portrait of this person’s life and perspective unfold in front of you. Everyone you meet is an intricate patchwork of their experiences and I’ve always been intrigued by that.

While living like this has broadened my scope of perspectives and cultures, this life has led me to lack a core, constant group of friends. Now I understand why I so readily dove into serious relationships with past boyfriends: it’s because I had nothing else to persist towards (for simplicity, let’s leave family out of this rant). While I would curiously (and slightly jealously, let’s be honest) onlook the tight-knit groups I saw stand the tests of time, I would delve into the arms of my boyfriend. What happened when I needed the occasional break from this unnaturally suffocating relationship? Easy: I’d revamp what came easy to me and meet more people. Like magic.

It’s funny, upon further inspection. It didn’t matter who I met, or what walk of life they’d come from. I’d give them all the time of day, plus a little sachet of (sometimes contrived, however) enthusiasm. Friends of friends, the food caterers that I saw at UBC daily, angsty teens, hobos, old folks, people at bus stops, the guy who opened up my first bank account in Australia.

I finally realise that it was a positive feedback cycle, this people-meeting business. Not “positive” in a healthy or optimistic way, but positive in the sense that it cumulatively fed off itself. The more people I met, the more others around me felt like I had no quality time to spare for them.
So for years, that is what’s been going on with me…I felt crappy about my lack of solid friends and I filled that void by meeting more people. Pretty ironic, since I was repelling those that I established initial connections with, right?

It was an overall destructive situation: I progressively felt lonely in that sea of people, and none of those people intended to extend more of their time to me–why would they? I was clearly busy.

While this could’ve easily turned me into a self-pitying shmuck, I know that I don’t deserve any pity. Where was my effort to construct solid and lasting friendships anyway? All this time, I never realised how wasteful your time feels when you spend it with someone who has a thousand other engagements to attend to. You feel like a meaningless appointment in a grand bustle.

So…what now?
I’ll still be friendly towards a fresh face, but I will not seek them out.
I’ll be perceptive to new ideas, but I want to spend quality time with existing friends that have ideas and values that I wholly identify with.
I’m going to spend time with the people who will, in turn, identify and embrace my deeper ideas and nuances too.

Time to finally get to know you.