“To Overcome Distrust, Renew Friendship”: Amber and David Lapp

“To Overcome Distrust, Renew Friendship”: Amber and David Lapp January 29, 2015

have basically the same conversation I just had with a woman at the pregnancy center:

…While Robert Putnam and others have documented the increasing isolation of all Americans, the alienation and distrust that we witnessed in this working-class town seemed like an advanced form of isolation. Things that we took for granted in relationships with new acquaintances—asking questions and listening to the responses, returning phone calls and text messages, extending invitations to dinner—soon earned us “best friend” status among a handful of the young adults we were meeting. Starved for friendship, they were quick to jump from acquaintance-level chit-chat to intimate conversations about their life experiences and then to declarations of deep friendship. It was an irony of the climate of distrust: distrust kept most people at a distance, but anyone who broke through to extend the slightest promise of meaningful connection was enthusiastically embraced as a friend. As in romantic relationships—fast beginnings, fast endings—so in friendships.

The scarcity and instability of friendships among those young adults that we interviewed struck us as a problem not only for individuals but also for families. We had benefitted from a tight-knit group of friends in New York City, and we felt that these friendships helped us in our marriage. We noticed that when we moved to Ohio and left that supportive community behind, our marital squabbles became more numerous and more intense. We were feeling pretty isolated ourselves.

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