I moved to Ottawa when I was eight years old. The first friend I made in school was named Michael - a quiet and withdrawn kid with glasses. We hung out at recess, talking mostly about video games. Over time, I got to know another kid named Scott, someone I first met when I was eating lunch and overheard him ranting about the trans-fats in his animal crackers. He was one of the most articulate and knowledgeable kids in our grade, although he did have a habit of going on tangents.
The three of us eventually became close friends and we've maintained our friendship into the present. The stresses of adult life have ensured that we see less of each other now, but I can always count on my ability to talk to them. The conversation is always natural, no matter how long it's been since we've seen each other.
I've felt alone at times, certainly. However, I never felt like I've suffered for a lack of friends. Michael, Scott, and myriad other characters that have drifted into my life and stood the test of time have seen to that. I'm at a bit of a loss whenever I encounter someone my age who believes they have no friends. It's not a feeling I know.
I always wonder what it's like to feel like you have so few social connections. It reminds me of a Freudian theory called the Hedgehog Dilemma, which stipulates that the closer humans get to one another, the more likely we are to inflict pain upon each other. It raises the question of whether that pain is equivalent to the pain of the loneliness that follows if we don't get close to other people.
It's a held belief among most I've met that it's harder to make friends as an adult. I wonder why that is? Are adults, with their youthful innocence diminished, more fearful of being hurt than of languishing in their loneliness? Without that fear, would it become easier to make friends?
Answering that question was the reason I started this project. With the fear of rejection conquered, I wonder if, by being more involved in my community, reaching out over technology, and being a more approachable person, whether I could deny those people who claim that friendship is harder to find as an adult.
I want to put fear and preconception aside, and perhaps gain a few more friends. I hope you'll join me on my journey.
Operating under the nom de plume, "Legion," Alex Sundaresan is a writer/poet/cartoonist based in the city of Ottawa. He has a strong interest in, and is drawn towards, the strange—being somewhat strange himself. Hoping to gain work one day as a graphic novelist, Sundaresan spends his days in search of good stories and good company.