Making New Friends–I’m Not Talking About The Kids

Megan and I have been friends for 20 years. This is a case of two people randomly being thrown together, opposites attract, and becoming the best of friends for life.  :) Thanks, Meg!

Making new adult friends isn’t always easy…

I’m not talking about acquaintances. I’m talking about a true friend who you feel completely comfortable being yourself with. Someone you can goof off with, have fun with, be serious with, and can behave like a complete dork and idiot around without worrying about what they think. Someone you can share your innermost deep thoughts and feelings with knowing that they will not share your information with others or judge you, even if they don’t agree with you. Mutual respect and honesty are present.

A true friend is a part of your “team”. You want what is best for each other and you want each other to thrive and be happy. You don’t compete with each other and you always have each other’s back. You bring out the best and funniest in each other, but you feel safe enough to be at your lowest in their presence.

A real friend is someone who will not maliciously talk shit about you, but she may talk smack to your face.

It is someone who cares enough to tell you when they are upset with you, so that issues can be resolved. Uncomfortable topics are discussed; not swept under the carpet to fester or be ignored. A friend is someone who does not suddenly disappear from your life forever. It is someone, you know deep down, whom you can count on—no matter what. You may not talk for days, weeks, or even months, and things are not always perfect between you, but you know that you are solidly connected. It takes time to get to that place.

I’m not interested shallow relationships. My desire for intimacy and mutual understanding in relationships has led to me having a small eclectic mix of trusted friends. I like it that way. Those friendships are very special to me.

Meeting new friends like that, as an adult or a transplant from another state or country, can be challenging. I’ve spoken to many women about this topic, and the unofficial poll results seems to be that meeting new acquaintances as an adult is easy, but making new real friends with depth is a challenge. Do you think that’s true?

When we meet someone as an adult, many different factors play a role into whether or not the new acquaintance becomes a true friend.

You may see a woman several times…you both smile, there is chitchat and small talk, you enjoy each other, you may share a few stories, books, recipes, and shopping, event, or childcare information. You may wonder–Would I feel comfortable fully expressing myself to this person? Do I want to? Will I be able to trust her? Will our husbands get along? Does that matter? Do the kids get along? Does it matter that they go to different schools? Is she a nice-to-your-face and talk-about-you-behind-your-back type of woman who cares about labels, social ladders, cliques, and being connected to “important” people? If so, I disengage as fast as I can. Who wants to invite that in your life…I want genuine authentic relationships that are not tainted by nonsense—at least it’s nonsense to me.

Sometimes it just works out, for no specific reason, that you stay in acquaintance limbo land forever even though you both like each other. That could work out just fine. Maybe you don’t have enough in common or maybe you simply don’t have enough time to cultivate the new friendship because you are both too busy with kids, family, work, life, and friends you’ve known since high school, college, or even childhood.

Our “old school” friends knew us before we “grew up” into the “adults” we are today. They are like our sisters. Even though they may drive us crazy and get on our nerves from time to time, we love them and want what’s best for them always. You know when to share opinions and when they just want you to listen. You know who each other are—flaws and all—and you still love each other with all of your hearts. This is important! I know with my close girlfriends, we would do anything for each other and we have walked the talk. We can say anything and we know we’re in it for the long haul.

Overall, I’ve had pretty good luck with friends, although I have encountered a few drama queens, vampires, and outright brats in my adult life. I should note that I have not always been a perfect friend either. I’ve also been hurt and angry with friends, and decided it was easier to walk away than deal. That was when I was younger—the walking away part…I would definitely try to work it out with my current friendships because the friends I have now mean the world to me.

Maybe that’s part of the “new” friendship development problem. Because we have experienced pain through past relationships, we may be more reluctant to let our guards down. Are we afraid to share ourselves for fear of being judged or not liked or accepted? If we play it safe and only share a bit of ourselves, the relationship will surely stay an acquaintanceship forever, and we may miss out on something special. It might just be worth the risk of maybe getting hurt or saying too much. You’ll never know unless you try.

As the years pass, I look back and see with great clarity who my true friends are. We are all so different, and I love that.

I can see the mistakes I have made and hope that I have made up for those errors in the years that followed. I see the effort my girlfriends and I put into making our friendships last. I have also reconnected with old friends who I was out of touch with for a time simply because life took us in different directions. It’s very nice. I think about a couple “new” women in my life and think, yes, I will go there. I will take the risk. What do I really have to lose?

Friendships are one of the foundations of life.

If you are lucky enough to find someone who you enjoy, who is kind-hearted, and who you can truly be yourself around, it’s exciting because true friendships are a beautiful amazing rarity and they must be tended to with great care, respect, and love.

by The Notebook Doodles

This is a great poem…

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Author Unknown

What do you think?

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One Comment (+add yours?)

  1. traciesterntheblog
    Apr 27, 2011 @ 07:24:27

    This is a very true article. My thoughts fall into a couple of categories. One, as a model, finding true friends is really difficult. In my industry alone I have 2, off the top of my head, friends that I can talk to about this business with no worry of repercussions or sharing of information. I can also discuss client rates with these 2 girls which if you know anything about the modeling industry you just don’t bring it up. I’ve found that with women, they are either totally intimidated by me or fascinated, and they approach me with either motivation. Once you get to know me you see that I’m a very real, down to earth person, but it’s those first impressions that can get in the way.
    The 2nd category I fall into is as a military spouse. This group of women is a different topic all together…maybe I’ll write a blog about this….but when you are in the military, you move every 2, 3, 4 yrs. It’s very hard a) to meet people and 2) invest in a close friendship when you know a year, 6 months from now you are going to be moving. I found that many women in the military take a ‘transient’ approach to friendship. They know it’s short term so their investment in getting to know someone is very surface. They give just enough to get by without having to go too deep into their past or share too much private information. They appear almost guarded. And it’s especially difficult if the spouses are different ranks as the military has a no fraternization rule and that supposedly extends to the spouses….most of my military friends however take the approach “My spouse is in the military, I am not and I will be friends with whomever I want”.
    Great job addressing this as it’s a very real issue that appears on a daily basis.

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