Last November—during my annual Brovember movie month—I watched 21 Jump Street. I caught the movie in the past on FX, always allotted for time and always censored. I don’t remember much from the movie. It’s not that memorable. Although, it did raise a question I had never thought to ask before: How do adults become friends?
When I met my long-time friend, Meester Binx (obviously not his real name), it was on the playground during our years at Sam Houston. Now Binx will argue with me until he’s blue in the face about that we met in first grade. I know that we met in kindergarten. We were walking in opposing directions and crossed paths. I hopped to my right and he hopped to his left. I moved to my left and he moved to his right. “Cut it out,” one of us said. “Cut what out,” responded the other in classic Dave Coulier fashion. And of course the squeaky, broken voice of typical childhood bashfulness broke the routine we found ourselves in. “Do you wanna be my friend?” This is another thing Binx will argue. In his version of the story, I asked it. In the true version of the story, we both asked it because we were obviously destined to be hetero life mates a la Jay and Silent Bob.
In Junior High (now referred to as Middle School), things changed a bit. The dynamics were the same. Chance introductions led to brief or lifelong camaraderie. And high school dragged those Junior High friends through the mud and I met their girlfriends and reunited with old elementary chums. In summation, I have never been without friends.
Post high school/college, most of my acquaintances were made because of the dire need of having classroom friends in case I missed a day. Those are the ones who “throw away” after the semester is over. If you so happened to share another course together, well, it saved you the trouble of having to make another friend. The friends that I made in college—the real ones—came from being a part of Sigma Tau Delta. And even those are just people have become just faces on social network.
The digital age has altered the term friend viciously. I catch myself several times during conversations. My Internet friend. A friend from Tumblr. This Facebook friend. The word follows or is followed by an adjective, the name of a website where we commune. Some of these people I can say I love. I love Samantha. I love Ashton. I love Jason and all his bearded glory. I love Jenn. I love that bastard Eddie. These are people who I could talk to. Who I’d go out and grab a drink with if I drank. I don’t drink. Don’t invite me out drinking. I’ll only ruin your night. And I’ll probably steal your keys. And your cell phone. Because I love you and I want you safe.
My adult friends are comprised by friends I’ve known all my life. There’s Binx, of course. There’s Monica, and there’s Miranda. There’s Jeanna. There’s Esmer and Jerry, who I met because of Jeanna. Monica and Joe go way back to kindergarten where Miranda came about in high school.
Then there are the work friends. These are the weasels who snaked into my life while I wasn’t watching. I go into every job saying that I won’t make friends. Before I know it, there are new people in my life that I actually enjoy talking to. That I enjoy hanging out with. That I can be a complete idiot around. Who’ll laugh when I need them to laugh at me. Who’ll make a joke to cheer me up. Who’ll invite me to places or force me to attend parties against my will. These are the people I don’t mind talking to, confessing to, confiding in. These are people I’d go out and have a drink with if I drank. I don’t drink. Don’t invite me to go out drinking with you. I’ll only snap embarrassing pictures of you and broadcast them on Tumblr and Instagram and Facebook and my blog (which you’re reading).
Somewhere we stop asking the question. Maybe it’s understood. We don’t need to mimic Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street and sheepishly ask the guy we bullied in high school if he wants to be our friend. We just know. And I love that.