The concept of “friend tunnel vision” came to me when I realized that this is more or less how I live my life. I have a wide scope of friends (this is what happens when you get involved in a large variety of activities in high school, college, and thereafter…). I would never be able to keep up steadily with all the lives of my friends and acquaintances. Not to mention I have a few friends from almost everything I’ve ever done since I moved to Minneapolis. I have friends from elementary school, from middle school, and when I went to high school, I had friends from camp, from work, from rugby, from band, from theatre, from student council, from studying together, from mutual interests or schedules. And it only expanded when I got to college. I have friends who I consider family who I haven’t seen in maybe a year, or who live in other states.
But I digress. I have come to realize that this is how life IS after school (well, if you got involved in things I guess). My friends are everywhere, my communities extend across the world, and it is awesome. Sometimes sad to be so far away, but knowing I have someone to visit far away when I need a vacation is a wonderful feeling. Back to this idea of friend tunnel vision. I have a feeling it is something that many of us do, not necessarily realizing we do it, and it’s not really a bad thing in any way. So, let me explain (although I think it’s a bit self-explanatory).
In different moments in our lives we seem to get into patterns. Patterns which cause us to spend large quantities of our free time with the same people over and over again. I realized this past week that I do this often because I randomly decided to text a good friend I hadn’t seen in a while and make plans (because plans with the other groups in my “tunnel vision” had fallen through). As it turned out, we both wanted to do the same thing, and our potential “go along” friends had bailed on us both, so we had a great opportunity to catch up and enjoy each others’ company. If I was completely stuck in tunnel vision, I probably would’ve spent the night at home alone, even though I have perfectly wonderful friends who have free time to hang out (all I need to do is reach out to them). That being said, I am also the kind of person who loves to do things on a whim if someone asks (which is only sometimes stifled by the bits and pieces of social anxiety remaining inside me).
Over the course of the last view years I can think back to all my stints of friend tunnel vision that I’ve had–spending all my time with a certain person or group of people, and not only that, but forgetting about all of my other wonderful friends that I could invite out to (a) join (b) do something when everyone else is busy or (c) make future plans. And not because I didn’t love or enjoy the other people I wasn’t spending time with, just because they were lost somewhere out of focus for me. I just wonder what it is that makes us (me?) think in this way, giving us this tunnel vision. I do believe it is comforting knowing I have a close knit group of people I can spend time with, but it seems a bit bizarre that that close knit group is revolving through different groups. I suppose we all have those friends who we consider our closest above close group, or our closest above close friend. But even at times of friend tunnel vision they can be forgotten in the moment, or blend into the “see you every month (or less)” group. I can’t really draw any conclusions from my thoughts or observations, but at least now I can hopefully acknowledge the fact that I have plenty of friends to spend time with, even if it seems like “everyone” is busy. I do try to pride myself on being self-aware, even when I am being a nutcase (sometimes I just let my emotions run free because I get tired of keeping them reigned in- the results are questionable).
In the end, I don’t think friend tunnel vision is a bad thing, as long as we don’t let it ruin other friendships (that we hold dear).