Just finished reading “Why Making Friends in Midlife Is so Hard” by Kathrine Smyth, writing for The Atlantic. Some takeaways:
1. We tend to make best friends when we are younger. The average age one acquires a bestie is 21 (apparently someone’s done the research on this).
2. The average American spends only 41 minutes a day socializing, and it takes more than 200 hours to make a close friend.
3. You are not imagining it, Jack. It is more difficult to make friends once you hit 40.
At the risk of exposing an area of personal weakness, let’s do some basic math.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, Jack is the average American and that he spends 41 minutes a day socializing. And let us say it does take him 200 hours to make a friend. How many days is that?
(200 hours, 60 minutes in an hour. Now let me see here. That is 12,000 minutes spent at a rate of 41 minutes per day.)
I get 292.68 days.
Now suppose Jack made it a New Year’s resolution. And let us further suppose he met a suitable candidate for friendship on New Year’s Day. By my calculation, he could fulfill his New Year’s pledge by October 21.
Of course, he could accelerate the process. Double his daily efforts, halve the time, and make himself a brand-new bosom buddy by the end of May, this assuming he spends all his limited socializing time on the same individual.
But all his chips on Red? What if Red turns out to be a complete asshole?
There is such a thing as knowing too much about a person too soon. Maybe it is best not to jump into an exclusive potential close friendship before Jack is ready and willing to overlook and/or excuse Red’s many flaws.
Maybe it better to spread the risk—play the field, see other people. But then he runs the risk of not making a new friend before the year is out. And maybe not next year either. And that is assuming he sticks with it, which is a big assumption. Because how many people actually honor their New Year’s pledges?