If we look at our lives we probably know whether we’d like more friends, have the perfect amount, or are topped off in the friendship department. If you are feeling surrounded by love and solid friendships, I am so happy for you. That is beautiful to my ears. If you are feeling a bit friendship deprived, welcome to the world of 2022. You might want to read on.
For many of us, meeting new people and making new friends is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Sometimes this happens magically. But often, it takes a fair degree of vulnerability and courage by one person to connect to another. The fear of rejection is real. You’ve met someone, you’re intrigued to know more about them, and you imagine yourself lounging around visiting with them over a hot mug of coffee. How do you make that happen? Do you hold the same interest for them? Sometimes it’s easier for us to not make any effort if it entails risk. But the potential value of friendship is key to making us feel human and is almost always worth it.
My closest friendships had that initial spark of piqued curiosity. Commonalities often include a dark sense of humor, an innate kindness, a fierce intelligence, and a loyalty to chosen friends and family. When you consider your friends you hold in highest esteem, what are the positive characteristics they share? Do you recognize those same traits in people you’ve just met and do you take the initiative in connecting more deeply with them?
What makes a good friendship? As in romantic relationships, mutual admiration, inspiration, and trust are important. Sometimes I find myself drawn to people who have qualities I wish I had. For example, I am particularly drawn to people who laugh easily and can find moments of levity in challenging times. This is not a trait I have in abundance. So when I find it, it’s like seeing a firefly in the night sky and I want to bask in that light-hearted beauty.
They are the folks who help us let down our guard. They make us feel safe and loved. Right now, I think we all need to feel more of that. So if you are feeling a little low in the tank, call up a friend or challenge yourself to make a new one. Talk to people. Find opportunities to spend more time with the person who captures your imagination. Keep conversations light until you feel like you have built up the courage to say “hey, do you want to grab a coffee sometime.” If we’ve learned anything these last two years it’s everything’s possible.