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With Strength I Burn
11-13-2010, 04:42 AM
It was bound to be asked.

hopfrog
11-13-2010, 05:27 PM
My books are my friends.....and the shadows.....and the wind......

gveranon
11-13-2010, 07:09 PM
I was somewhat sociable when I was younger, but since my mid-twenties I've pretty much been a loner. I'm in my mid-forties now, and little has changed for me in that interval except getting two decades older. I have the same low-level job, the same small apartment, and the same narrow range of solitary interests and habits. I haven't had what could be called a social life for so many years that I've quite frankly forgotten how, if I ever really knew. Sometimes I feel a little bit sorry for myself, but then my craving for solitude comes around again, and I realize how much I've escaped. Then I feel lucky and free . . . as free as a wage-slave can be.

By the way, Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet is a great evocation of the life and reveries of a loner. The book is a collection of the prose-poetic journal entries of "Bernardo Soares" (a Pessoa heteronym), an assistant bookkeeper in the city of Lisbon, a man who lives a life of quiet detachment. But describing the book in these reductive terms doesn't even begin to do it justice.

"For those like me who live without knowing how to have life, what's left but renunciation as our way and contemplation as our destiny?"
-- Soares/Pessoa, trans. Richard Zenith

MadsPLP
11-13-2010, 08:47 PM
I'm pretty popular on the social scene.
That doesn't spare from the anxiety that I get when I think that they don't really like me.

Dr. Bantham
11-13-2010, 11:23 PM
All friends are imaginary. Beyond this, all of mine are lost to chance, choice or ruin. I speak beyond the space of wife and children, as it has become us against all.

Of course, I consider many of the abstracts I discern within the bit-stream of TLO to be friends as best I can manage the term, but even then I am the lessor between. My absence of late being more or less none the less, unless you have not noticed otherwise.

Murony_Pyre
11-13-2010, 11:45 PM
Some notes:

It is significant that the question asks merely "do you have any friends?" Not "do you want any friends?"
or "how many friends do you have?", etc.
Although, I would consider myself a loner who could perhaps do without family and friends, I've actually had quite a few friends in small numbers (usually no more than 2-3 at any one time), though with strong associations, over the years.
All the friends of my youth have departed and I sometimes think of my life like a revolving door with people coming and going and no one exactly getting stuck in the between. I would like to see some of them again one day but it isn't imperative that I do so.
Every parting in life is a kind of death I needn't to be destroyed by, though.
My greatest fear is of losing my memory;
if I didn't remember, I wouldn't be destroyed.

qcrisp
11-14-2010, 08:16 AM
Appropriate to this thread, I think, are the following:

Morrissey - My Life is a Succession of People Saying Goodbye - YouTube


http://www.phespirit.info/momus/20030115.htm

Personally, I think that philia is one of the few things I've found myself able to believe in more rather than less.

However, I do have a feeling that this is a value that people are less and less able to comprehend as time spent with other people for its own sake is seen as a distraction from business and computer-enhanced private fantasy worlds. Perhaps like marriage, if people are abandoning friendship so readily one may wonder if people ever really lived up to the promises of friendship in the first place.

Over such questions the cynic and the person of faith (not necessarily related to creed) argue endlessly.

Freyasfire
11-14-2010, 11:08 AM
I have only a couple of very close friends, who I have known since I was quite young, and who have tenaciously stayed in my life even when I was at my most distant. Sadly, I have very little in common with them, but I still enjoy seeing them, even if our visits are few and far between.

Apart from that there is my boyfriend, who, although I have been with him for over eight years now, I can not see myself living with any time soon.

And then there are some familial obligations, which are for the most part unpleasant.

I find that I find myself the most content usually when I am alone, and following my solitary pursuits.

Soukesian
11-14-2010, 03:09 PM
At the risk of breaking an emerging misanthropic consensus, I do like to get out for a bit of a cavort, down on the street where the faces shine, and so forth. Nevertheless, although I suppose have a wide circle of friendly acquaintances, I'd say I have just a handful of really close friends. I think that's how it is for most people. Couldn't do without 'em though.

gveranon
11-14-2010, 04:27 PM
Personally, I think that philia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philia) is one of the few things I've found myself able to believe in more rather than less.

However, I do have a feeling that this is a value that people are less and less able to comprehend as time spent with other people for its own sake is seen as a distraction from business and computer-enhanced private fantasy worlds. Perhaps like marriage, if people are abandoning friendship so readily one may wonder if people ever really lived up to the promises of friendship in the first place.

Over such questions the cynic and the person of faith (not necessarily related to creed) argue endlessly.

In my case, I think this has more to do with psychology than with sociological trends or technology. I have a (possibly inherited) propensity for deep introversion, and I'm ill at ease in social interactions. The introversion was always there; the lack of social ease became more pronounced as I got older.

I am somewhat cynical; you're right about that. But I'm not an utter misanthrope; there are people I have friendly feelings toward -- at a distance.

Derek
11-14-2010, 06:35 PM
"Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel,
but do not dull thy palm with entertainment
of each new-hatched unfledged comrade."

Hamlet act 1, scene 3

EemeliJ
11-14-2010, 08:27 PM
I do have a few who have stayed quite close friends with me, currently I'm living with two of them. Thank goodness, three rooms means privacy and solitude when needed.

Also, in the coming two months or so, I'll be doing my army service at a town up north from my place (Sodankylš that is, not a town near the northern border though) and I'll be seeing quite a lot of people I considered friends some years back. Suffice to say, I wonder whether anything has changed.

"Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel,
but do not dull thy palm with entertainment
of each new-hatched unfledged comrade."

Hamlet act 1, scene 3

''O, I am slain!''

act 3, scene 4(?)

When_MP_Attacks
11-15-2010, 07:59 PM
I tend toward misanthropy, and used to dream of getting rich so I could establish a comfortable hermit's existence. Then I had the experience of becoming quite sick (keeping me from going out) while living in a city where I didn't know anyone. This isolation amplified the effects of the illness and made me realize how equilibrating even light social interaction--exchanges with the dry-cleaner, barber, etc.--had been for me.

Still not a people person, but have learned I'm not an island either.

Andrea Bonazzi
11-17-2010, 08:38 AM
You can verify if you have true friends when you are in real distress, like to find yourself abruptly "on the road" as an homeless, and exhausted, until the verge of suicide. A life of friendships vanished in nothing, an unveiled illusion just like all the rest of you existence.
I'm a lot more cynic and misanthropic since then.

DoktorH
11-17-2010, 12:17 PM
I have friends for a certain value of "friend." close, good friends I'd turn to if i was on the street and desperate? No, but i do have family I can count on if things get that dire (or, if i can see it coming, before it reaches that point). in terms of people I can socialize/party with on occasion, I have a few.

Like a lot of the other respondents, I tend towards misanthropy and introversion, and these things have only increased as I have gotten older. in my teens and early 20s, I desperately wanted close friendships and a lot of interaction, but I was a misnathropic introvert back then too.

Thankfully, the people I wanted to be close to weren't very good companions, so things only got better for me as they dropped out of my life.

The New Nonsense
11-17-2010, 08:07 PM
I'm a pretty socialbe guy, thus I have a large number of friends -- depending on how you define the term -- though people I would call 'close friends' are few.

My group of friends is sort of like an cross-section of the earth (core, mantle, crust). A few of my oldest friends (some I've known since I was 7. I'm 35 now.) constitute my solid 'core' friends. These are people I'd take a bullet for, and I suspect we'll still be friends when we're very old.

A much larger group fills up that 'mantle' space. These are friends from very diverse groups who I've known for a while, mostly since college, who I hang out with here and there when convenient.

The final group, the 'crust', is a thin group of friends that have moved far away. Often these are friends that I haven't seen in years but still maintain contact.

I'm not counting "FaceBook friends". I don't do any of that stuff.

Dr. Bantham
11-17-2010, 08:33 PM
I'm not counting "FaceBook friends". I don't do any of that stuff.
Today is National Unfriend Day. Go forth and purge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc5bbz5SB7M

DJ Persposki
11-18-2010, 11:49 AM
It was bound to be asked. Well, I have none, and I'm not really close to my family. I'll probably learn Finnish in order to move into Finland.

Welcome. It's cold and raining wet snow here in the capital as I write this.

Tsalal Akbar
11-19-2010, 10:45 AM
Just checked: None Found

ToALonelyPeace
02-06-2016, 04:17 AM
I've 3 friends. They're close to me as I am comfortable with. If they get any closer, I might explode.

hopfrog
02-06-2016, 04:35 AM
I have one friend who is the person that makes me life complete: S. T. Joshi. I cannot imagine existence without our constant visits together. He is the only person alive who truly "gets" me, to ye point where I can completely relax when with him and be myself.

I have a roommate, Ghostboy--but he is more shadow than friend....the shadow to whom I shall be conjoin'd for the remainder of my mortal existence....

James
02-06-2016, 05:43 AM
Not many. Most people don't seem to find me interesting or likeable, whilst I do not leave my house more than once a fortnight, so I haven't met any new people in years. Most of my friends are online correspondents I talk about ghostly fiction or girl groups with.

I used to have a fair amount of friends I'd go clubbing with and a girlfriend I adored, but I lost all of them after my second or third mental breakdown. The people I know most intimately these days are dead authors, my dog and the occasional hallucination. I really don't want to be the clichť image of a reclusive weird fiction writer, so hopefully one day I'll be able to engage with people again, though I'll no doubt always be somebody whose choice of company is selective and somewhat minimal.

njhorror
02-06-2016, 12:12 PM
hmm, I have to think about this.

My wife is probably my best friend. That said, it hasn't been easy for either of us.
I have a group of 3 or 4 guys that have been there for me during a rough stretch and my loyalty to them is unconditional. I share relatively few interests with any one of them, but seem to cover the bases pretty well with the entire group. I see them weekly, and we go away for a weekend twice a year with a larger group.

I used to have a friend that shared most of my interests with enthusiasm, but we lost touch years ago.

Human relationships can be very difficult for me, yet surprisingly rewarding and fulfilling.

It's not easy for any of us.

Cnev
02-06-2016, 02:12 PM
I love people, and before my mental health took a sharp decline in my mid-twenties I had a pretty healthy circle of friends. After that, I became much more comfortable being alone and I don't see that changing anytime soon. I became very selective about who I let into my life and to what extent, which almost isolated me completely from all relationships. I have made a couple of new friendships throughout the last 5 years or so, which have interestingly become stronger than any I've ever had throughout my life. One of them unexpectedly passed away a few weeks ago, and it has certainly been one of the most difficult things I've been through given the person that she was, and the effect she had on my life. She was incredibly rare, though.

Ultimately, I couldn't live without the energy and love from others. It's one of the few things that makes life even remotely bearable to me.

James
02-06-2016, 02:45 PM
I used to get very depressed about my loneliness, particularly as many of the 'feel good' stories in our culture have a message amounting to the idea that as long as you have close friends or a family then your life has meaning. I don't have either. Even the mental health people always try and reassure me that as long as I open up to a close friend or relative I'll be alright. All I have are acquaintances, really. Nobody I'd feel comfortable opening up to, or who would in return feel at all comfortable with me opening up to them. I think people take it for granted that everybody has people in their life they're close to, when not everybody is that fortunate.

I guess that was part of the reason I was attracted to writers like Lovecraft or Ligotti, as I found their fiction less depressing as they didn't seem to be telling me off or judging me for being so isolated. The first Ligotti story I read was Purity, and it was love at first sight reading something that just did not apply any notion of necessity when it comes to propinquity with others.

Salitter
02-06-2016, 04:27 PM
Yes, but very few, most of them made in my teens and twenties. The spouse doubles as best friend (as it should be), the rest live in far-flung locales around the country. I find it extremely difficult to find anything likeable about new people I meet. While it undoubtably has partly to do with the culture of the city and country where I live, I think my negative reaction to most individuals says as much about myself as about them. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I'd never join a club that would have me as a member.

Revenant
02-06-2016, 10:41 PM
If dogs count then yes, I have one friend.

I tried very hard to be sociable. I was even married for seven years until it ended in betrayal.

At this point I consider myself mildly misanthropic with no friends but some acquaintances. I am very comfortable with that though I admit I would like to meet one person locally who is of like mind.

Mr. D.
02-06-2016, 11:41 PM
When U was young O was a different person. I was a lot more sociable and cared for a lot more people. The years 1970 to 1975 changed all that. Between Viet Nam, drugs, suicide and car accidents over 30 of the people I cared about died. I had survivor's guilt for a long time and thought that I was a jinx. Every couple of months I would go to another funeral of another person my age who had died.
This long ordeal changed me a lot. I learned to find fulfillment in myself alone and didn't expect much from other people. I still have friends but I keep a distance between myself and others for a long while before I open up. I still expect everyone who likes me or whom I like to drop dead. However, the friends that I do have are more important to me now.

Justin Isis
02-07-2016, 05:54 AM
I wouldn't say that I've ever had any particular difficulty making friends although there's definitely been periods where I felt more/less isolated - although this was probably due to my own mental issues more than anything, and the limited selection of people in the areas I was in at the time.†But there were always people around.†At the moment I'm blessed (or cursed? haha) to be surrounded by tons of interesting people from all kinds of different backgrounds, countries and job fields - in particular the expat community that I chill with has about 100+ people that I meet on a semi-regular basis, so that I can have lunch with a Taiwanese corporate lawyer and hear about the world of international finance, then grab dinner with a Portuguese stoner who's working on some kind of complicated multimedia art project, then maybe head out to the military base and catch drinks with some fresh-faced US marines. And occasionally I'm lucky enough to have Quentin S. Crisp or another friend from abroad visit. And if I want random input, I just start conversations with strangers - some of the most interesting experiences of my life have come out of this.

So at the moment, the above situation combined with work means that living any kind of hermetic lifestyle focused on reading or isolation seems almost like an impossible luxury. In the future I can see myself heading more in this direction but I always like to push myself to get out there and find out what people are doing. And for the most part I don't agree with Ligotti that particularly interesting writing results from total isolation, "mutants" or whatever -†I seem to remember a Zen saying along the lines of "Associate with worthy companions, even if it is painful."†

Michael
02-07-2016, 12:12 PM
I'm with Justin. I can navigate friends and making friends okay. But I get a STRONG urge pretty frequently to be a hermit. I'd probably stay there forever unless I made a conscious effort to not. So Justin's quote is dead on for me, "Associate with worthy companions, even if it is painful."

gveranon
02-07-2016, 04:38 PM
My experience is that pep talks, "good" advice, etc., pass over and, when the air has cleared, leave everything as it was before.

Near the beginning of Either/Or, Kierkegaard writes, "I feel as a chessman must when the opponent says of it: that piece cannot be moved."

Having spent decades scanning the horizon for options, the cavalry, or whatever, I now wonder if a person is better off simply accepting, adapting, and understanding (passive options that are available to a passive person in unpromising circumstances).

The Pessoa line I quoted upthread five years ago seems even more apropos to me now: "For those like me who live without knowing how to have life, what's left but renunciation as our way and contemplation as our destiny?"

Robert Adam Gilmour
02-07-2016, 07:36 PM
It's difficult to tell how much I need friends because I'm close with my brother and sister, who I live with. They'll probably move away in a few years and I sense I'll need to see my other friends more often.

Trouble is that I have about 4 friends (and a wider bunch of less committed friendships) and some can be extremely tough to get in touch with, some of them have phases of only hanging out with specific people, isolation, or unhappy moods and won't answer calls for a month or two until they're feeling better. One of them I've barely seen in years. I generally only meet friends several days within a whole year.

I think internet socializing helps because it's easier to find people like yourself, and even though it's not as good as being there with them for real, it probably keeps you happier than you would otherwise be.

Did you guys need more friendship before joining internet communities?

Robert Adam Gilmour
02-07-2016, 07:54 PM
I'd like another 2 or 3 friends I can meet but I think much more than that might be too hard to schedule.

Druidic
02-07-2016, 10:16 PM
I do indeed. I keep them in the closet behind the moth balls.

Druidic
02-08-2016, 02:23 AM
I lost three of my closest friends--all in their 50's, not that old-- and my parents as well in a five year period. Such a loss leaves its mark.

There are many good people--mostly women, good kind souls who go out of their way to keep me around and kicking (women have always treated me kindly for reasons I can never hope to explain). There are several TLO members I regard as friends, Hell-Ghost and others. But intimate friendship is like a fine wine that grows more robust with age. In that sense, I have only three intimate friends: Jonpi who lives in Oregon, Mark in England and Bill Harris, a friend for 45 years and only in his mid-sixties who now resides in a nursing home because of a botched hip operation. Age comes with many things and sadness is one of them.

wingsofwax
02-10-2016, 06:44 AM
I do indeed. I keep them in the closet behind the moth balls.

He he...
Do you also have the heart of a young boy?

wingsofwax
02-10-2016, 06:48 AM
My experience is that pep talks, "good" advice, etc., pass over and, when the air has cleared, leave everything as it was before.

This feels very familiar to me. No matter how much information on how to live and what to do I find, it never changes anything in the long run. And I don't think it's just me; I see the same thing happening to other people. The difference is they don't seem to notice that nothing changes.

Everything changes but it all stays the same.

njhorror
02-10-2016, 11:14 AM
I do indeed. I keep them in the closet behind the moth balls.

He he...
Do you also have the heart of a young boy?



Hmm, nope...would a liver and two kidneys do?

gveranon
02-10-2016, 03:12 PM
My experience is that pep talks, "good" advice, etc., pass over and, when the air has cleared, leave everything as it was before.

This feels very familiar to me. No matter how much information on how to live and what to do I find, it never changes anything in the long run. And I don't think it's just me; I see the same thing happening to other people. The difference is they don't seem to notice that nothing changes.

Everything changes but it all stays the same.

Yeah, it's a general observation having to do with more than just the topic of this thread. If self-help advice were more along the lines of "Here's how to be a slightly better, or at least slightly different, version of yourself," it might be realistic enough to be useful. Instead it's usually along the lines of "Be like a different person!" That isn't going to happen, or not for longer than ten minutes.

Also, circumstances matter, and are often either impossible or difficult to change, and it's cruel to pretend otherwise.

miguel1984
02-11-2016, 03:54 AM
Yes.

But, considering I had not seen anyone of them for a really long time, I should probably check if they still consider themselves friends of mine.