Sunday, July 02, 2006

More on Friendship

This is a single data point, but it has affected my thinking.

I talked with a good old friend a while back, who had spent two years in a Third World country with his wife and kids. Turned out that he now seemed to be depressed about living in America. One of his main complaints was something like this: "Over there, people always had time for friends. You'd always see your friends on the street, or they would drop by your house. Friends were one of the most important things. But over here, it's hard to get together, even with old friends, because they're so busy with their own lives and activities. And in your neighborhood, once in a while you'll see your neighbors. But mostly, people come home in their cars at the end of the day, and then the garage door goes down and they are just sealed off from the world."

3 Comments:

Blogger Suzi said...

I believe this is more true in some communities of the US than others.

And it is not just a matter of geography. When we moved into our home, built 20 years ago, we invited all the neighbors over. And they came and stayed and visited. But they never invited us over. And we don't hang out.

But in the same suburb I live in, but a different section, my husband's best friend lives on a street in which all the houses were being built at the same time six years ago. And that neighborhood hangs out together. They have weiner roasts and block parties. They spend each other's birthdays together and go to each other's houses. If one goes out to a dinner, they all are invited. Those eight or ten families get together at least every other day.

I think it must, therefore, be more than a function of geography.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Deb S. said...

I think your friend hits on a valid issue. In this respect, I envy some of my friends who live in other countries. Sometimes it seems that we Americans have lost our sense of community.

11:57 AM  
Blogger ATW said...

I don't think this issue carries a passport. The issue is international. I live in the third world but have many of the same experiences that Stuart alludes to. If there are is a distinction to be made it lies with garage doors. Those that have garage doors (and by virtue of that probably a mortgage and "professional" job)have less time and less friends.

8:02 AM  

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