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Reading the comments, I'd say many members of HN should probably invest more time fostering friendships. Its not that difficult to maintain relationships but it is shockingly easy to let them dissipate.

Every so often I set out to "make the rounds" and see my friends who are spread across the country. I'm a bit of a nomad and yet its often my return that triggers close friends to see each other when they live minutes away. Just pick up the phone and call someone from time to time, let them know you give a shit. It's amazing what a phone call once a month and a visit once a year can do to sustain a meaningful relationship with someone.

People are, on average, terrible at staying in touch with one another. Be the outlier, you'll make the world a better place.

I wish I would have. Sad thing is, the ease of developing new friendships seems to be a function of the number of existing ones. Once you reach zero, like I have, you're pretty much stuck there.

New relationships are a combination of luck and hard work, regardless of your current state. I think having additional friendships just increases the luck side of the equation slightly.

If you want to develop new friendships I'd say find hobbies where you might find interesting people. Some hobbies tend to have more welcoming communities than others, climbing gyms being one of the better environments I've come across for meeting new people.

Totally agree. And some sports are just friendlier than others.

I play badminton, and I've occasionally played ultimate frisbee, and both have a great inclusiveness culture, at least in Colorado, Washington, Texas, and California, the places I've variously played. Much of my current group of friends that I haven't met through geek-oriented meetups I met playing badminton.

I also used to play volleyball, but ... well, too many jerks turned me off. Now I only play with friends at parties.

It's worth emphasizing that making new friends takes time. It was a year before I felt I had good local friends after moving to Colorado, and 2-4 years before I was doing things with them outside of our original meeting group. It probably could be done faster -- I suck at the whole social thing -- but for the poster above who claimed to be stuck at zero: Put in the time, do the work, take a chance by reaching out, and you can build friendships.

ALSO: Watch this TED talk:


They aren't. If you believe that, you're doing something very wrong. Long lasting bonds/relationships/friendships are a lot of work.

New relationships require for you to put yourself in a position where you meet new people. It also requires for you to have opportunities for people to hang out with you.

Stuck's pessimistic, but my experiences lead me to agree. I find it difficult to take the initiative with new people, so many of the people I know I met through a mutual friend.

I don't have a perfect solution, but I've found a few tricks. I've found that clubs and volunteer events tend to be full of friendly people who will introduce themselves. It also helps me socialize with new people when no one else knows each other.

What kind of volunteer events?

I apologize if this is too obvious, but try meetup.com. I met a lot of good friends through it.

Thanks for the suggestion. I've been to a few actually (for bitcoin and spanish practice) and they were a lot of fun, but they never led to any deep friendships like those I used to have. Maybe I'm going to the wrong ones, or alternatively, it's possible I'm just not a very likable person.

But why should I put time into phone calls and the like? Most friends ask me to do things, which waste my time, and they don't do much in return and often won't do useful things when I ask them to.

The optimal number of friends when we were hunter gatherers might have been 150, but the optimal number of friends for a developer who gets asked to do work by a new person every week and contacted by a recruiter twice a day and doesn't have much use for any friends beyond graphics designers is probably much less.

It sounds like are questioning the value of loose work associates, I'm here defending the value of friends. Friends rarely ask me about doing work and I don't qualify my friends by their ability to do "useful" things for me. On the Venn diagram of friends/useful people I'd say there will be a lot of overlap but it most certainly shouldn't be a pre-requisite.

If you don't see any inherent value in having people to talk to, experience things with, and in general unwind with than you are either young and naive or a totally different animal than most of your fellow humans. In the latter case, feel free to disregard my message as it doesn't apply to you but if you are are in the former camp, I'd recommend you think long and hard about how you value people in your life.

I get turned off by social interactions that feel like someone following a rote pattern. When someone isn't a part of my life but "checks in" occasionally it feels more like I'm dealing with a recruiter than a friend.

Maybe if people drift apart it's because they're supposed to?

Why can't we just let things happen naturally? Why does there have to be a formulaic approach to everything? Why do you need to be an outlier? Why can't people just be normal?

Relationships are an investment. It requires some effort but the return on that effort is incredibly high. As I get older I realize how valuable my friendships all are.

I'd argue we're "supposed to" maintain lifelong friendships, as we used to do before we were so geographically mobile. Folks used to grow up and live their entire lives in a small area and know everyone there.

What weight you give this depends on your definition of "supposed to", I suppose; personally, it's been greatly rewarding for me to maintain my friendships, some of which are almost as old as I am.

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