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Gay Age Gap Couple Discusses The Work Involved in Making New Friends


I was so relieved last week when I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal  titled , “Want to Make a New Friend?  How Much Money Have You Got?”  I thought Aaron and I were the only ones looking to make new friends or better ones, but it looks like most everybody is.  Hallelujah, for once we have company.  (We'll be your friend even if you aren't a gay age-gap couple like us.)

This may sound stupid but I just had an idea.  Maybe they could take all the people in Dublin. gay, straight, LGBT, whoever would like to meet people and just give them a shove down to our neighborhood.  It might make it easier for us we could have some meet and greets etc.  It brings back memories of those dating events I recall where you would go into a large room and everybody would be sitting at tables and you would spend a minute or two with each person to see if you wanted to date them. Instead of dating them we could simply see if we considered them friend material.

Aaron and Mike in the bedroom

The article in the WSJ said people today have fewer close connections than decades ago.  This fact was compounded by the social isolation of Covid.  Mainly due to people spending less time at work and more at home.  To make friends it says people are paying for expensive gym memberships, classes or other expensive group activities.  The article goes on to say it takes 200 hours to make a good friend.  Boy, that gym membership for $500 a month gets pretty expensive if you want to use it to  make a good friend.  I wonder if it's worth it? Even the time involved just to make a casual friend is 50-100 hours and when you consider most people are working 40 hours a week, where does one find the time? I was very lucky in my first few jobs after collage that I was able to meet some great co-workers who I stayed friends with for a number of years.

Lately Aaron and I have looked for group activities to take part in.  So far all we’ve found were a few orgies but they didn’t want to be friends they just wanted to have sex.  We’ve had to move on from there.  If truth be told we have participated in some Dublin men's groups through an organization called Meetup where everyone has been super nice but no connections.  By the way Meetup is all over the world and is well worth looking into especially if you are an expat. .Oh, and I just remembered we went bike riding with some strangers.

Bike riders taking a break

We went to a lecture a few weeks ago. It was on The Impact of Loneliness on Men's Mental Health in the LGBT Community. The therapist asked how many people in the group were looking for friends and just about everybody’s  hands went up.  The funny thing is that we went on some group outings with these people and very few of us were willing to take the risk to put ourselves out there and really try and connect. Is it fear of rejection that they won’t like us or do we consider it too much work?

When it comes to friends I very much feel like a stranger in a strange land.  I have been in Dublin about 4 years now and have some acquaintances but no one I could really consider a friend or call on the phone, or should I say text  and say hey, you wanna grab some lunch. In my defense Covid was going on for three of those years.  I am lucky that I am not a lonely person but I must admit I would gladly move all my close friends here from the states.  At least I would have some people to eat with while Aaron's at work.

Mike eating lunch alone

I have found some strange things happening to me here.  I will now actually speak to a clerk in a store about the weather or which is better the vanilla or strawberry Charleston Chew, my favorite candy bar,  Actually, I just spent 10 minutes in the local Dunnes Food Store asking the manager why they did not carry Poppadoms. He was so nice I was on the verge of asking him to lunch.   In my heyday this is something that would have never happened.  Am I developing humility?  I suppose worse things could be occurring.  

I have said a lot of the above in jest.  I have always treasured my close friends, many I have known for over 40 years.  I truly am blessed.  I don’t think there is a nicer feeling in the world than just being able to hang with them and not even have to talk,  In the states I would often be at their country homes for the weekend and we would  be in the same room reading or whatever and the comfort of being there with that friend is one of the most special feelings in the world.  In a way it feels like you are almost lovers.  All it takes is one look and you know what the other one is thinking.  No talking or explaining needed.

Good friends hanging

Today when you make a new friend it almost seems like a game of tug and war.  How much do you really want to give away about yourself before you feel like you can really trust the other person.  Each of us carries our own insecurities and I find it scary divulging them to people I am just getting to know.  By the same token I believe it is our insecurities that make us so much of who we are,

Although Aaron has many friends, most of them are single.  He does have a few married or partnered friends and I could be wrong but I would venture to say they have their own circle of partnered friends.  I believe the onus is ours to make the effort, which we don’t do. There's a few reasons for this.  First, we really enjoy each others company, second we’re lazy and when we do get bored it's usually too late to make plans and lastly we don’t want to be tied down and afraid the time might come and we won't feel like it.  God damn it Mike, just commit.

One of the things I have always envied about my parents was how social they were and the vast amount of friends they had.  I wholeheartedly agree with the WSJ that people have less friends today.  My parents had so many groups of friends from so many areas of their lives.  There were childhood friends, collage friends, business friends, tennis friends, bridge friends, travel friends, friends from the neighborhood, people from the various charities they were involved in and the list goes on.  Seldom were the times they were home with us.   I tend to think that was a blessing in disguise for my brothers, sisters and I.  My mom always said, “you want friends get involved.”  I think that sums it up in a nutshell.   In other words quit playing scrabble and get out of the house.

Aaron and Mike playing scrabble


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