Living Out Loud

Adults Making Friends

IMG_0054 copy

#100DaysToOffload 8/100
I had lunch today with a couple of guys I've known for more than twenty years. At one time we all worked together but these days we are on separate job paths. We have all had pretty significant impacts on each other's lives. We've known each other through various marriages, jobs, the birth of children (or in my case, grandchildren) and changing views on work, religion and politics. None of us are anything close to the people we were at the beginning of our friendship because life happens, and people change.

We get put in different situations where it may or may not be possible to find friends. Work is not always the best place for it to be certain but sometimes you get lucky. Some other areas of my life where friendships have just kind of happened include my cycling club, social justice movements and my 12-Step group. I don't have a spiritual life, so no church or meditation groups for me but that happens for a lot of people.

A good part of my current relationships are with people I've met online. In the past, I've turned online relationships into in person ones on a few occasions. When my wife and I hiked the Appalachian Trail, we received hospitality from several people we'd met online. I've done photography shoots with people I've met in online communities. The last time I traveled internationally, I met someone I'd encountered on Facebook for an afternoon visit in the Northern Ireland town of Derry. 

Since I started blogging and participating in Mastodon, I've met several people I don't hesitate to call friends now. I have standing invitations to stop by for coffee in multiple countries. To me these friendships are just as real and meaningful as the local ones where I can meet someone at the diner for breakfast. I'm pretty up front about who I am and what I've been through in my online presentation. I don't hold back much. I've had the chance to talk to people about things like recovery, masculinity in the 21st century, forgiveness, mental health, all kinds of professional situations and more in just a few short months. I treasure it. I want more of it. 

I so love being able to talk to people from outside of my small southern US city. I never feel more like a citizen of the world than I do when I am immersed in IndyWeb culture. I get to learn from trans and enby folks how to be a better ally. I can participate in what every man should be participating in, the dismantling of the patriarchy through reduced mansplaining and increased listening. I can learn how to take better pictures and I can discover new music. I might even be able to help someone find a program for their computer that makes things better for them. Most of all, I can try to spread some good vibes in a place where toxicity can grow like mold without people being intentional.