Making new friends
When you’re in your 30’s making new friends is hard. Mostly because any attempt to make a new friend at this age ends up in a pile of misinterpreted effort, or well intentioned, but never realized, plans. They have kids, you have work, calendars and dance cards are already full, vacations are planned, habits and hobbies are already formed. In a life that is already established, it gets really hard to try on or include anyone new. I realize that I sometimes make it impossible to meet new people because I think my old friends are just fine.
But I have friends who have shown me that it’s desperately brave to make time for someone you don’t normally interact with. Or someone you feel an unexplained connection to. I like to think that these will be the people that have the unique ability to surprise me - that come careening in from perpendicular angles and knock me off my well worn course and show me something new. These people terrify me because they are unfamiliar. They don’t know my ticks and quirks and passions and (I am terrified to think) might not actually appreciate them in the end. These people are scary because my interaction with them might not amount to much despite the connection I feel. I forget that new friends are like getting new jeans. They’re gonna be itchy and stick in all the wrong places until you wear them around for a little while. But you give them a chance because you saw some potential in the dressing room when you first tried them on. New people are risky.
Recently I got to spend some time with a new-ish friend. I was surprised by the good energy he brought to my life. He motivated me to think about the world differently and to poke in places I might not have looked at before. I don't know him very well, but he piques my curiosity and I’d like to know him better. He doesn’t always reciprocate my friendship and I’m not always confident that our future interactions will ever amount to more than a passing wave over social media.
However, today, I was reminded that with new friendships, sometimes the only important thing is to be available… That it is courageous (not creepy) to keep asking, to keep inviting people to step up and take a space in your jam-packed calendar, with the hope that maybe… someday... your efforts will result in more than misinterpreted intention and not-yet-realized plans.