As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other.
Work friendships often take on a transactional feel; it is difficult to say where networking ends and real friendship begins.
Differences in professional status and income also complicate matters. “It really does get weird when your friends are making tons more than you, or tons less.”
Once people start coupling up, the challenges only increase. Making friends with other couples “is like matchmaking for two.”
ADDING children to the mix muddles things further. Suddenly, you are surrounded by a new circle of parent friends — but the emotional ties can be tenuous at best, as the comedian Louis C. K. related in one stand-up routine: “I spend whole days with people, I’m like, I never would have hung out with you, I didn’t choose you. Our children chose each other. Based on no criteria, by the way. They’re the same size.”