Do you really want to be my friend?

One of the new friends I made during my recent trip to Italy, F, got me thinking about friends, acquaintances and how we differ between them.

As an individual, my friendships have always been a puzzle to me. I have a great mix of friends that booth compliment and contrast my personality, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you how I acquired or retained them. My friendships have always been in a constant flux, with so many of my friends and acquaintances falling by the wayside. Mostly because I’ve never stopped to consider why.

The most recent addition to my friend circle has been largely a technological one. Although we’ve met in person, our best conversations have been over Whatsapp. Like most of my friendships, this one too has been filled with long silences and bursts of rapid conversation where neither of us want to shut up.

Given my history, this friendship can go either of two ways. However the technological nature and fledgling status of this friendship causes me to stop and think. How does one move from acquaintances to friends? Is it only time or a major life event that binds you? And how can you be sure that they are truly friends and not just acquaintances biding their time in your life?

Most of my current friends are still here due to their incredible tenacity, their unending patience and their special ability to tell me to go to hell when I’m being particularly overbearing. But a new friend wouldn’t know those unspoken rules. How do you teach someone that you would like to be good friends with how to tell you to fuck off without sounding like an anti-social lunatic? Is it just experience? Or am I going about this friendship all wrong?

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