The Way We Live: Why Jerry Seinfeld is wrong …
No wonder I’m tired. It seems that I’ve spent the last two years working in recruitment. I looked around at my closest girlfriends the other day and realised that one third of them are newbies. One third of my closest friends are women I’ve known for less than two years (actually one of them has only been in my life for four months). So it appears that in between writing and paying the bills and doing the groceries and trying to trick Ava into eating something other than vegemite sandwiches and blueberries and fish fingers, I’ve been on some kind of recruitment drive. At some point I started shopping for friends; collecting women and signing them up to Team Bec.
I find this a little odd. Mostly because I didn’t realise I actually had any positions vacant.
For years I smugly adopted the infamous Jerry Seinfeld approach to new friendships (as outlined in the Seinfeld episode ‘The Boyfriend’).
“When you’re in your thirties it’s very hard to make a new friend. Whatever the group is that you’ve got now, that’s who you’re going with. You’re not
interviewing, you’re not looking at any new people, you’re not interested in
seeing any applications. They don’t know the places. They don’t know the food. They don’t know the activities. If I meet a guy in a club or the gym or
someplace, I’m sure you’re a very nice person, you seem to have a lot of
potential, but we’re just not hiring right now.”
That was me. Not interested. Not hiring. I couldn’t keep up with the friends I had, the last thing I needed was more people in my life. So what happened? How did I wind up in a situation with so many new friends in my life?
I wised up. And I realised that as much as I love Jerry Seinfeld, he’s wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
It’s not new friendships many of us don’t have time for. It’s inauthentic ones.
I’m about to enter the last year of my 30s. What I don’t need are more superficial friendships. Connections that aren’t genuine, which are toxic or draining. Friends who want all the contact time but offer none of the depth. I’m done with that. But I will always have room for more people from my tribe.
To close yourself off from new friends altogether isn’t just arrogant, it’s foolish. An amazing friendship can happen when you least expect it. A great example is my favourite film of 2010 – The King’s Speech. It’s the story of the surprising friendship between King George VI of Britain and his Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue.
It’s the first time in years I’ve been to a movie where the audience cheered and clapped for a character. The King’s Speech was the perfect reminder that some friendships are fated and that out of the blue an amazing new friend can come into your life and change how you see the world. And yourself.
So my motto for 2011? Position vacant.
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Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.