As I passed my daughter in the hall, I asked her if she was happy living here. I wasn’t looking for a lengthy analysis. I just wanted to check in on how she was faring with the transition. She said that though she misses her friends, she is happy here. When I asked her why she felt differently now, she said it was because she has friends here now.
It’s true, life is better with friends.
She left my room, and we both got back to the cleaning we were doing. About 30 minutes later she came back to my room, where I was still cleaning, and asked me, “Who are your friends?” I had a quick response. This was easy; no need to over think this one. I only had one to name, the Piano Man.
It’s never easy making friends. The challenge only gets harder when you are older. Perhaps the social skills are better developed than when you are a child, but opportunity is scarce. Schedules are limiting. Having things in common become harder to find. Then to add to that, I already have the best group of girlfriends anyone could want!
For the adventurous introvert that I am, reaching out to others takes more effort and will power than a brownie fast, not that I would ever really fast from eating brownies. I go through seasons of being open and honestly trying to make friends; but when that proves to be largely unfruitful, I resort back to my introverted self.
Recently though I met a woman at a Shabbat service I attended. Following the service, a wonderful meal was served. She and her husband sat with Piano Man and I, as well as a few others. We had a great time getting to know everyone over dinner. As the evening ended, she made a point to give me her contact information so we could get together. In our conversation, I learned that she is also new to this part of the country and having a hard time making friends. But I found that wasn’t our only similarity. It was obvious to me that she is an educated, community-minded woman who has strength and is sincere in her faith. Although experience has shown me that one’s best intentions to “meet for coffee” don’t generally come to fruition, I thought that perhaps this time may be different. Therefore, I sent an email; and we made plans.
She and I did get together this week. It was a beautifully sunny day, which seems to be happening a little more frequently nowadays. We met at the Parthenon, a place I’ve wanted to see since moving here. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch across from the park and walked around Centennial Park talking. It was nice having the opportunity to hang out and have a nice conversation with a cool lady.
I am thankful that she took the initiative to reach out, and I am looking forward to getting to know her more as we walk our journeys of first year Southern girls. Though I know finding women who make me laugh, cry, grow, think, re-think, and who support me like the ladies in my life now is a tall order, it is worth it to keep trying.