Friday, July 15, 2011
I have been doing a lot of thinking about friends and the art of having a successful friendship. I have found that as we grow older, friendships are harder to keep and new friends are hard to come by.
When we were younger, our relationships were somewhat "forced" because we were stuck in the institution of school and we either got along with people or we were loners during recess, lunch, sporting events, weekends, etc. As adults, we are in a similar situation with our jobs and our co-workers. However, now we must all get along, whether we like it or not. Outside the doors of work, there is a whole world that can be kept completely separate.
Some of us have friends that we have carried from childhood into adulthood and they are our sounding boards, our social buddies and our friends for life. Many people, like my self, have gained friends and lost friends through re-locations, marriages, relationships, divorces, starting a family, etc. Everything that life throws at us is a potential deal-breaker for a friendship.
For many of us, as adults, we are so busy with our lives, being parents and spouses, that we simply don't have time for friends. Of course, there are different situations and many people find a very happy balance between all of their responsibilities to everyone.
My husband and I were talking about friendships just the other night. I explained to him that it is hard to find that "perfect" friend who will fulfill all of our friendship needs. I told him that I have many acquaintances that I have different things in common with. When we speak, it is always about our common interests and experiences. Sometimes our conversations are light and friendly and other times, they can be deep and emotional. It just depends on the common ground that you share with one another. Are these people that I would hang out with or spend time together? Probably not. But that's okay. We are both getting from each other what we need. If the occasion arose for us to do something together, at least we have that history we can build on.
In all of our lives, there comes a time when either our kids have gone off to college, we may have switched jobs or we may have suffered a loss in our marriage, that we feel all alone and we need someone to turn to. This is when I believe in the phrase, "Everything Happens For A Reason". People are brought into our lives at the most unique and unexpected times and they serve a purpose. I truly believe this.
Occasionally, I meet a really interesting person and we hit it off. This may be my new hairstylist, the teller at the bank, the nurse at my doctor's office or my children's teacher. When I meet them, I think about how nice it is to talk to them and since we seem to get along, I wonder if they could be a potential friend. But as an adult, I don't know how to expand on our casual conversations without sounding like a stalker. It reminds me of the funny comedy, "I Love You Man!". What if the person you are trying to friend thinks you are hitting on them? What if they reject your offers to get together? I can think of all sorts of "what if's" that make me timid to pursue anything.
Why can't it be as easy as jumping in the sandbox and saying, "Will you be my friend?".