I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately*. Lots of questions: How many friends do I have? How many people do I trust? How many people do I think I can rely on? Are the people I call friends really my friends? Do I have close friends? Are friends friends if I don't think of them in moments of sadness? Can I consider as close friends the friends I haven't met, or do I confide in them only because I haven't met them and probably won't ever meet them? And so on and so forth.
I suppose the fact that I have to ask these questions shows that I don't have many friends. I have contacts and connections, sure, many acquaintances, and people to whom I can be friendly. Friends? When we use the word in the general, simple sense- friends as closer than mere colleagues or classmates or acquaintances (e.g. out of over a dozen of co-workers, I consider 2 as friends), my circle of friends isn't pathetically small, including internet friends and friends who have left or have been left behind. The trouble comes when I start to narrow down by asking myself: Do we hang out? How often? Do we do things together? What do we talk about? Do we talk about our interests and intellectual subjects, rather than just work stuff and trifles and such things? Do we talk about anything personal? Do I feel comfortable being myself with them? Do I feel like I have a bond with them? Will I miss them if I don't see them any more? etc. I try placing people in the different circles ("special friends", "friends", "friendly"...) and get mixed up and confused, whilst wondering where I am in their different circles, and end up wondering what's wrong with me. Of course, my life underwent a radical change- I moved from 1 country to another when I was already 15, and have never returned ever since. A few friends fell out with me over politics. A few other friends stayed behind, but soon afterwards left too- to the US, the UK, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia... Then, a few years after moving from 1 country to another, I moved to another city- Oslo. Some of my friends and classmates also went away, to the US, the UK... Then I went to university, at which point making friends was already more difficult than in high school or earlier. Some friends returned to their countries. Some friends moved to other places. And when people are in different countries, even different continents, especially when they have their own lives to care about, the friendship is no longer the same; most of the time the talking just stops altogether, without words of farewell.
People come and go, move in and out, change from 1 circle to another. Some co-workers become friends. Some friends become acquaintances. Most recently, a guy moved from "date" to "friend" to "special friend" and now to "acquaintance", or worse, "somebody I used to know".
Looking back and thinking of my friendships, all of a sudden I realise how fleeting and uncertain everything is. And I feel quite sad.
*: There might be some prejudice against listicles because of sites like BuzzFeed, but this is an excellent and thoughtful article about friendships: