I moved to New York City 10.5 years ago, thinking I’d live and work in New York anywhere from 3-4 years, then eventually move back to San Francisco or somewhere in California. I never really thought that I would be the one in New York going to other people’s going-away parties, people who are originally from here, while still being here.
There were at least 20 people at the party, so I didn’t get that much time to talk to my friend and his fiancee, who are moving to Seattle for at least the next two years. He actually already moved about seven months ago, but this time, his fiancee will be joining him, as well. These going-aways always make me feel a little sad. Even though I’m very happy with our life, when others move away, it almost feels like their lives are moving on, and my life is not. I’m not even sure how to describe it. Then again, I was the one who moved here from San Francisco/Boston 10.5 years ago, so it’s not like I’ve never moved or tried something new or different. The other thing that I grapple with is keeping in touch with friends who were considered close who end up moving away. It’s hard. People’s attention spans are short in an age of instant gratification and social media and texting. No one really wants to talk on the phone anymore to catch up. Planning video chats is cumbersome with time zones and fading interest in keeping connected. People want to be connected with the people who are in proximity of them. So these friendships end up falling to the wayside.
Despite all this, though, the desire to proactively make new friends is waning for me, too. The idea of it is nice… but the effort that goes into it seems frustrating. I remember all my failed attempts to go to Meetup groups and never meeting anyone I found even remotely interesting. Then, there was the one person I met at a dance class who I liked, but every time she asked me to come hang out with her, I was traveling for work or pleasure, or already had plans. So she ended up thinking I was flaky. And I’m not interested in meeting friends of friends of friends at group dinners of 6 or more random people all getting together because they have one person in common… especially if they are all the same race. Someone who is a friend’s friend recently asked to catch up over dinner… but wanted to invite 10 other people at the same time. That is not catching up properly. So I just didn’t respond.
Maybe I should try a seeking-friends app with exactly what I am looking for. That might actually work out better so I can immediately weed out people who are disappointing.