A Case of Mistaken Identity; Losing and Gaining Friendships

Hottie and I were talking the other day (before he took off for California for a basketball game. ). I told him that I was a gym rat; and we laughed at the improbability of that – a 74 year old plumpish old lady being a gym rat. But that is what I am. I am SO into the Equinox and they are into me (well, not literally because I am not sleeping with anyone). It is not a recognized life style for an old lady but actually it should be. I am in shape, I lost seven pounds since June, my muscle mass is increasing and my arthritic knees are not painful making it possible for me to go up and down stairs with the greatest of ease. If one needs proof go to my Instagram – alexismctwit. There is a video with me walking up and down the stairs and then you can also get a peak at Hottie who is at the bottom of the stairs. You will see why I call him Hottie.
I am bestowing nicknames on others at the Equinox. EH stands for Even Hotter and then there is TOIC (The Other Irish Cream). I am renowned for my laugh – people shake their heads and say: “We always know when you are here!” The sound reverberates. EH was my trainer yesterday (as Hottie away)  and I do not think I have ever laughed so much and so hard. He definitely exercised my funny bone.  
But now off to a serious subject. The decay of friendships, this addressed in Robin Dunbar’s The Science of Love and Betrayal. Dunbar makes the following sweeping statement: “There is an inevitable deterioration over time unless constantly reinforced by frequent interaction.” He questioned 540 people about whether they had broken up a close relationship. “Of these, no fewer than 413 reported that they had fallen out with a total of 903 people in the past year. That implies that each of us has a serious falling out with around two of our close friends every year.” Dunbar then looked to the reasons for the break up. There were four particular kinds of events: insults, failure to be at an important event , spreading lies or rumors, and remonstrations over bad behavior. “Between them they accounted for two-thirds of all break-ups.” The next most common was rivalry of some kind. His conclusion: “Threats to one’s social status and self esteem accounted for over three-quarters of all relationship breakdowns.” 
In utter honesty I do admit that I have been suffering from scores of serious falling outs with friends in the past two or three months. This may be due to the fact that my permanent move to Vancouver meant the frequency of interaction has lessened and, moreover, the promise of frequency of interaction has also turned to ashes. 
But paradoxically some of my close friendships have not only survived but have thrived. I had a long, long conversation with friend Bruce who has been in my life since I was 19. (admittedly with a twenty year hiatus). We spoke of my Uncle Dave book, the role it has played in my life and the massive changes that have occurred recently n my life. He can be so sensitive and intuitive. He said that I had been drifting since the divorce from Husband #3 but that now I have settled in. I realized that he was, as they say in the UK, spot on. We both marveled that I have lived in my new home for only ten weeks but it has already taken hold. 
I have taken on new friends to replace the old. They are younger, more vibrant, more in the world they habituate. And they are around, But on Tuesday I leave for London, come to think of it. I am returning to see people befriended there. Not all of them, of course, but many. So I do experience persistence and staying power. But not with everyone, that would be impossible. My self esteem has not been threatened but actually grows. Good friends enhance your self esteem and I feel treasured. I see the friendships that have fallen by the way side in a very different light. Foul weather friends – here in Vancouver I experience foul weather but not foul weather friends. hahahahaha. I as bragging to a Vancouver friend that I was planning to be HOT for my visit to Londontown. He said: “Easy. it will be so easy for you. comes naturally!”

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