So often I hear people say how difficult it is to make new friendships as we grow older. I always question that in my head, wondering is it really that hard or is it that we become unconsciously stuck in certain routines and don’t really want to make the effort?
Over the past couple of days, I’ve stolen moments in time to reflect upon what friendship is – old and new. I believe that we are all blessed with acquaintances, connections, friends and soulmates. Some we will meet in nursery school and journey together through the years, drifting in and out of each other’s lives. Some we will meet while waiting to board a flight and remember them from time to time when a word or experience brings them to the forefront of our memory. Some will be our tribe – those who we know we could call at 3 AM, a total mess and not able to explain what is going on, yet we have the faith that they would be there with bells on to save the day – our forever friends. And some we feel as if we met in another lifetime, a recognition that is just there from the moment our eyes meet and without words, speaks loudly: I get you.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a neighbor whom I’ve resided next door to for four years – and sadly, she and her husband are moving, yet only minutes away, in the coming week. Warm, gregarious and filled with life would be the best way to describe her and I am confident that we will be friends – now, and in the years to come. Thank you for coming into in my life.
Last evening, I had dinner with women who have been an integral part of my world for almost twenty years – and one who I was blessed to meet through the others. Funny thing is, if you had ever told me back then that they would mean this much to me and have played such a central role in my life, I never would have believed you. I love you all.
And tonight, I shared the evening with another friend who reminded me of soulmates. We hadn’t seen each other in more than a year yet the moment we started to catch-up, it felt like yesterday – as if no time had passed. When I reflect back on how we actually connected, it was in the ladies room at my former company through a mutual (and former) colleague who knew the two of us would get along quite well. Boy, was he right. Eight years later, I thank him for igniting that fire. Lady, you are the best.
Is making new friends difficult? No. It is what we want it to be. The supposed friends I had in my youth – where are they? Time, experience and life seemed to reveal that the commonalities, were not so common – the mutual interests, were not so mutual. There was a time in my life when I could not conceive the idea of ‘growing apart’, yet I sit here today acknowledging the fact that it absolutely happens – whether we are cognizant of it , or not.
How do we make new friends – or acquaintances, connections and soulmates? Be present. Look around you. Listen to the conversations. And never hesitate to take part. So many people are afraid of what others may think or don’t want to include someone new in their ‘clique’ – show them how wonderful it could be to participate. If they’re responsive – fabulous! And if they’re not – move on! Life is too short to force anything. But never stop being receptive to what life is leading you to. So often it is not revealed in the way we predict. Pay attention – and make some new friends.