Friendship has been on my mind lately.
The topic came up with a few people facing the prospect of starting over.
When you’re young, friendship comes easily. You catch a wave with another kid, swap names and boom! Best friends for a day. It’s effortless. There are no norms, no expectations, no complications.
It’s still easy to meet people as you get older, but it’s harder to recreate a social circle that anchors you and makes you feel at home.
Whatever you may think of your family, they’re always a part of you. Your family knows you. They are the definition of home at the deepest part of you.
Good friendships are like that too.
Friends include you in their plans and assume you’ll be there. Friends tease you in ways that show how well they know you (and what they can get away with). Friends guess things you imagined were secret.
Over time, you move around, break up, stuff up or otherwise find yourself on the hunt for new friends. Suddenly, you face a lot of ‘no vacancy’ signs from folk who already have a circle. It’s hard to break in.
I don’t think people mean to be closed. Most of the time, they don’t even realize it’s rejection.
Connection is a basic human need and despite the awesome people we may know elsewhere, we need friends to know us here and now.
So, next time you see someone who’s a little quiet and on their own, extend a hand in friendship. You may not become BFFs. But who knows, they may become an indispensable part of your story and your happiness.
I can’t help feeling like I am sitting in a car outside a tacky motel during a thunderstorm. staring at a blazing red NO VACANCY sign… A lonely, complicated world kids may never understand. And, bless them for their innocence. If they ever started thinking/behaving like adults, there’d be far less joy and imagination in the world.
–Quiet one on his own, afraid to extend his hand to the wrong person:D
If you always disappear, people will think you have somewhere to be. If you act like you’re fine, people will believe you’re fine.
If there are group events, sometimes you need the courage to ask ‘can I come along?’
Showing willingness to participate means they’re more likely to ask you along to the next thing.
I can see your point and what you’re trying to achieve but it is very different for me though. I prefer to be on my own and I can live without people quite easily. Walking away from a group of people who don’t want me there is not hard at all. Walking away from people who do want me there is a little too easy as well, sometimes.
The reason? My friends know me. They have taken the time to bother to get to know me and while it can take 10-20 years to become fully “integrated”, they get a friend for life. If there is something I don’t need, it’s the fly-by-nighters who are your mate while you can do things for them and then you hear nothing when they’ve found another donor to suck from.
Sometimes, we just need to be aware of where we sit in the social pecking order of others and need to be able to decide if we are wanted there or not.
Very easy to say, Jai, when you already have some friends that can provide the social interaction that everyone needs at least a few times in their life. And then, you must have the luxury of 10-20 years to get to know someone. Spare a thought for those that immigrate to a new country or travel to a new town, for whatever reason. Starting fresh is harder the older you get.
Rosie, valid points.
I didn’t go into full details about my situation because I was trying to not make L’s post about myself (although it sometimes ends up like that 😦 )
I’m the opposite in that I need to force myself to have the social interaction as I can walk away from anyone and not care too much about it. I know how hard it is to make friends of value and I was told a long time ago that all parties need to work very hard to keep them.
How often have you heard someone complain about their friends not getting in touch yet the person in question hasn’t made much of an effort themselves?
Sometimes the effort will seem very one-sided and it can go on for years. It just depends on the kind of person you are to start with. Introspective inspection is far more important sometimes as to why and why not.
As far as L is concerned, I know she looks inward rather than immediately blaming the world if something isn’t working out – and that makes her special and definitely worth keeping 🙂
I had the fortune to make a new good friend about two years ago. It was by a chance meeting at a work function and slowly grew from there. I’ve reflected on it a bit since then as it’s the first good friend I’ve added to my life in about 8 years. I hadn’t realised that I had become insular until I opened up a bit.
So I agree – even if nothing special comes from the welcoming open hand and an invitation, it will make someone else feel included. And something more may well come in time.