Making new friends (and losing old ones)

On Saturday I went for a long walk around my neighborhood. At one point I came upon a boy, perhaps seven-years-old, going from door to door looking for someone to play with. He knocked on one door but nobody was home. He knocked on a second door but nobody was home.

He knocked on a third door, where finally a boy and girl answered. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but there was a moment–a full five seconds, maybe–in which the boy was left standing on the step outside, not invited in yet. He persisted to get here, and here he could have been rejected. He could have been sent home with no one to play with.

He got in.

At some point this instinct from childhood gets overburdened, this instinct to walk door-to-door looking for someone to play with. We’re too busy. Too professional. Too scared. Adults don’t do that, walk door to door, playing. We text.

Texting is fine. Video games are fine. Being by yourself is fine. But not if you’ve forgotten how to walk door-to-door.

(It’s perfectly natural, too, to lose old friends. From the age of 16 to 26 the brain rewires so dramatically as to become a completely new organ. You can’t help but be attracted to new people.)