One of the saddest parts of growing older is that the number of friends you have goes down after highschool. People simply disappear into their own lives and journeys, and it can be a long time before you start building up new friendships. If you’re a shy person, well, you might have to prepare for some tough years of loneliness. Combat some shyness by taking a deep breath, smile, listen to the person, ask questions, just talk politely- it gets easier.
Making friends at high school is often as easy as sharing some jokes with the person you’re allocated to sit next to. Classmates are easy to make friends with – you’ve got 24 people to choose from and after a while you find you have something in common with someone, you talk, you sit with one another, you have lunch together and suddenly a year later you’re best friends. I wonder if this kind of approach would work for the real world. Do you think if I just like, follow someone nice looking around they’ll eventually accept me and agree to hang out? Work is another place where you are thrown together and so end up having to converse together, and eventually (or quickly, if your workmates are cool cats) you might become more than workmates (real mates, wow!).
It’s actually making a friend for real that’s harder. Finding someone who you just ‘click with’ and want to spend time with in a non-romantic way that is more difficult to find. I read a magazine article once by a woman who took up the challenge of making a friend. She asked her current friends and workmates to set her up on friend dates to see if there was anyone she got along with really well. After meeting with multiple women, she ended up with (I think) 1 new friend. The others didn’t work out, but she was surprised to find that all of the people who agreed to help her did so with enthusiasm and well-wishes. Apparently, it’s common for women to find themselves a little lonely as they get older. I am really very fortunate to have a partner that doubles as a best-friend who’s fun to do stuff with.
Maintaining friendships is also harder than it was in highschool, or at your job – you don’t see them everyday. You have to put in effort and time. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired because of pesky things like working six days a week, having family commitments, study… if you want to keep friendships healthy you have to be prepared to ring them up, and see them. This is something that I know, but aren’t very good at practicing. I have to work on it or else when I whine, “I have nooo friiiennnds” it will be really true. Sleepovers were my favourite past-time when I was younger, but there’s something less easy about them now – we all have more things to do than play the sims and eat chips, unfortunately. ‘We’ referring to my friends, I’m in my pajamas on a Friday eating chips and blogging.
Being a good friend, is also hard. Damn, I am not making friendship look good in this post, am I? But they are, really. Friends are the people who we can hang out in the sun with, vent to, talk with, see a different perspective of yourself from, see other lives in play by, laugh with, cry with, and simply not feel lonely with. We make friends because we’re social creatures. However, it is true that making and maintaining friendships and being a good one can be hard. Do I have any tips? Well, I think it helps to let your friends know that your door is always open for a chat, to always be there at their birthday parties, to let them know you haven’t forgotten them, to send them links or things that they are especially interested in and to always say thankyou when they do the same for you. The little things that show you listen and care, you know.
All this talk(..ing, to myself.) is to muse on one thing. What kind of friend am I? Probably – most likely not a very good one. Do I want to be a better one? Yep! Can I be a better one? Let’s hope so! I’m going to be the Leo to your Kate, mates.
If all the work you put in fails, that’s just the course of nature. Friendships dry up. It’s inevitable for some. I read something once about how most female relationships begin with becoming as close as you possibly can be – you talk about everything, but they often end in silence. They can fizzle. I don’t know how to stop that from happening. It’s just life and people. I just know that the ones that don’t are special and deserve your extra consideration, and that there’s always someone out there who could possibly be your newest friend. I don’t know when I’ll meet my next one, but when I do, I hope it’s lovely. And that they like midoori, horror movies, walks and sarcastic comments on things currently happening. Man, we’re going to have a great time.