I’ve always found making new friends difficult. I was never one of the “popular girls”. In fact, high school was not something I enjoyed very much. I’m inclined to say that I hated it, but hate is such a strong word to describe something that was so mediocre in my life.
I felt very lost for most of my teenage years. I didn’t quite fit in – not with my peers or the various social groups. Sure, I loved the friends I had, but I was also aware of my social standing – of where I stood in the pecking order. I was not at the top, nor was I at the bottom. I was awkwardly in-between. It didn’t bother me that I was “in the middle”, it made life easier in some ways, but also harder in others. But then, being a teenager is in itself a wonder and a misery, all at the same time. Making new friends simply wasn’t my strong suit, though in hindsight, I blame that on my own hang-ups and lack of self-confidence.
Today, I am blessed with the friends that I have in my life. I have some amazing friends. They are what I like to call “lifers!” I’ve known my best friend for close on 32 years (she’s definitely a lifer!) and she and her husband are very near and dear to my and KB’s hearts. We talk often, but not daily. Some friends I don’t speak to or see very often, while others I do see and speak to regularly – though some not half as often as I’d like. I have friends who have stuck with me through thick and thin. But, over the years I’ve also lost some friends, people who didn’t weather the storms (or more precisely, my divorce) with me. I haven’t always been the best friend either. I guess that’s just how the cookie crumbles though? I used to beat myself up about not maintaining certain friendships, but then I came to the realisation that friendships are not a one-sided affair. Friendships also wax and wane. People move, change jobs, have kids, get divorced, break up, start dating new people… the list goes on. All of these things affect friendships. Some withstand the changes, others don’t.
Strangely enough, as an adult, I seem to be making new friends more easily, particularly of late. And I am grateful. I think we can all do with all the friends we can get. What has surprised is how easy it is to make new friends, if you are open to the idea. I also find that the older I get, the more picky I am about whom I choose to befriend. I know it might sound self-absorbed, but I only have that much time and I choose to spend it with people who are worth my time and effort, i.e. the “lifers”, than to waste time. Funny (but certainly not surprising) how your mindset influences everything you do and what you allow into your life.
Sadly, we recently said “See you later!” to an amazing couple. Today marks exactly a month since we last saw them. They have emigrated with their kids and have taken the leap of faith to start afresh, abroad. But, their farewell (pictured below) introduced us to new friends (strong possibility that they’re lifers too). Being a little more open-hearted, a little less cynical, a little more selfless and a little less self-absorbed can do wonders for your soul and your social circle.
Header image source.