Pen Pal

“Can we not play animal games any more? Because I think it’s childish and I get a bit embarrassed.” Was one of the many delightful lines from the collection of childhood letters and invitations I have stored away. My friend who wrote this letter had just run away from me at lunchtime over the very serious issues that
1. she thought I had a new best friend, and
2. Animal games were so no longer cool at our age (10 is very mature).
I never understood why all of a sudden my friends had all grown up and decided that running around pretending to be dogs or deer, or whatever, was no longer a preferred past time. I guess I was simply much too cool for – wait for it – school.
Jokes about my childhood self aside, reading over these creased papers made me think first of how when we get older, we lose a lot of friends, and that secondly, writing letters is plain awesome.

I’ve read a lot of articles lately by women in the mid-twenties to mid-thirties who have all realised that now that we’re ‘grown-ups’ we don’t have a lot of grown up friends to play with or talk to. The main reasons for this, they all agreed, was that when you leave the classroom you no longer have the ability to make friends by just sitting down next to someone and having a chat or sharing a joke or of course, the teenage girl past-time of having a little bitch about the meanest teacher or biggest jerk they both know.

“Two years from now we’re going to be studying to be doctors, 
with fabulous boyfriends, our own homes and millions of friends!”
Sure you are girls, there’s only happiness out here in the real world.

The only place where this sort of forced friendship occurs later in life is in the workplace. The people I talk to the most are my co-workers, and we can talk about most things and laugh all through a shift but we rarely see one another outside of work. So, are they really real friends?
Yes, I’d say so, but as any working woman knows, there is always a difference between work friends and your best friend. Like couples need to spend time apart every now and then, seeing a work colleague often outside of the office can create massive time together overkill and fizzle the relationship out.

The articles did get me thinking, though. I used to be able to say that I could depend on about nine different people to be my best friends forever during high school. Now, at the age twenty-one, in a committed relationship, with university and work, I’d say I can count on about four. And they’re all girls I met in school. Another point in the articles; making new friends later on can be really hard, especially when everyone is so busy with a hundred things going on and so a lot of people simply stick to the people they’ve known a long time. Now, I’m not just sticking with my friends for lack of better options, I genuinely love them. But she had a point.

One writer (and I’m kicking myself for not remembering where I read all of these things, so that I could provide links, my apologies) decided that she was going to go on a sort of quest to meet new women to bond with. She even emailed all her current friends and work mates to see if they knew someone she could be set up on a girl date with.

I wonder if I have reached that level yet. While I do still have four best friends, two of them live in another town, one of them is always either busy or sick and the other one, well, the other has actually just moved back to town so will no doubt be getting a call from me today asking to catch up.

Do any other women bloggers out there feel this way as well?
Making friends is hard in general. For some people they can breeze into a room and leave with ten different invitations from awe-eyed new friends. For me, I meet someone new and I mumble, stutter and make stupid jokes and then say “…noo, sorry that wasn’t funny, yyyeaahhh…” Which tends to make things twice as difficult.
Perhaps I will do my own friend ‘quest’ soon – will keep you all updated!

Now, the letter writing.

                           Wearing Victorian-esque gear and using an inkpot
                                         is mandatory for letter-writing

After reading these I sat down and wrote a five page letter to the best friend whose just moved back to town. We barely talk because she doesn’t use her facebook often (what a legend) and I found that because she’s never online, I had a lot to tell her and a lot of questions to ask her.
It was wonderful.
Her reply back was wonderful.

People who say “letters are defunct” or say they don’t have time to write letters instead of emails are often the same people who text instead of call, and are also more likely to have no idea what they’re missing out on.

Because getting mail is awesome. It might be sad to say, but we all know that familiar thrill of excitement when an envelope with our name handwritten on the front arrives in our mailboxes.

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart. – Phyllis Theroux

This could be the start of a new letter writing sensation for me, and a new phase of making friends for life.
At least over letters I can’t mumble, though I can still make bad jokes.
Maybe I should work on getting cool while I’m at it?
Who am I kidding, pish, I’ll never be cool. ….Will, will I?

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4 thoughts on “Pen Pal

  1. In the early 1960s I had air letter pen pals – those times were special and made the pre-Internet globe friendly and without borders

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