Why Bother With New Friends?

Why Bother With New Friendships? 

I wasn’t necessarily looking for a friend when a very pretty and pregnant young woman introduced herself to me the first time I visited the same church she attended. But the minute she shook my hand with a friendly welcoming greeting, her smile told me that we’d somehow become close sidekicks. And we did. That baby she was carrying, he’s now forty-years-old and his mom and I are the best of friends. 

Another friendship began when I answered a knock at my front door. This woman wondered if I happened to homeschool my kids. She lived just around the corner and schooled her three young kids from home as well. From then on, we joined forces. We bounced our educational dilemmas off of each while taking early morning jogs and shared our talents with one another’s kids. She introduced my sons to the joy of skiing while I showed her daughter how to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Though our kids are now adults and my friend no longer lives in the neighborhood, our friendship remains. When we get together, we pick up where we last left off, as though no time has elapsed between our past and present visit. 

What More Do I Need?

Although I was not looking for a new friend, I’ve gained one. Unlike the other two, this friendship took shape via a virtual interview. We needed to replace a teacher at our school who had relocated to another state and I was on the hiring committee. We’d already interviewed two candidates in person, but a third interviewee opted for a virtual conference because of travel complications. 

I was surprised. The connection I made with this woman, although not in person, was personable. I sensed in her the same genuineness that I admired in my other two close friends. I told myself that if this woman were hired as a new teacher at our school, she and I would become good friends. And we have. 

She moved into a home just a few blocks from me and we began carpooling to work. As with any new friendship, our conversations started out on the surface but they didn’t stay there for very long. Our level of communication has deepened and now as with my other two friends, there is mutual understanding, admiration, and respect.

Why bother with new friendships? I can never predict when a connection with someone will click into place and we will become close confidants. But when it happens, I somehow know the connection is worth keeping. 

                     

Why Bother With Old Friendships?

Why Bother With Old Friendships?

As a teacher, I have consoled more than a few of my fourth grade girls, who with teary eyes have said to me, “Nobody wants to be my friend.” When I tell them that I did not have any good friends until after I’d grown up and gotten married, they are shocked. Their tears dry up, at least for a moment, while they consider how much more unfortunate my life must have been in comparison to theirs. 

“There is plenty of time to find good friends,” I tell them. “If not this year, maybe next.”

Long-Terms Friendships 

Recently, while sitting at dinner with a group of girlfriends that had come together for no other reason than to enjoy each other’s company, I felt the richness of my long held friendships. 

I’ve known all of these women for a great length of time. Some of them for more than thirty years, my most recent friend, for ten. While sitting around the table, we reminisced about the men we fell in love with and why we fell in love with them. 

“It was his legs,” said one friend.

“He was so handsome with his long brown hair,” said another. 

None of us have been divorced and we acknowledged to each other our plans to stay married to the men we fell in love with even though they no longer have those attractive legs, even though their brown hair has turned to gray.  

All these friends of mine are mothers and grandmothers, and some  are still working in their careers. One is a nurse,  one a teacher, one an office administrator and one a chaplain. With some emotion, we reflected on the days of our pregnancies, miscarriages and the those tough years of raising our teenagers. 

We shared our concerns for each other’s health raising our glasses to toast the two at the table who have survived breast cancer. We exchanged stories about our grandchildren and our worries about what the future holds for them. In essence, we shared with each other what we’ve always shared with each other, our hearts.  

My friendships with these women reach back a long time. They knew me in my younger days and I knew them. The seasons we have weathered together have made us more genuine with each other. We are familiar with one another, yet we do not take our fellowship for granted. Our sisterhood did not happen instantly, but over time and in that time our sense of our camaraderie deepened.  

 These friends of mine have made my life richer, and my heart happier. They accept me and my many idiosyncrasies, yet they also make me feel like a significant part of their lives. I may have had to wait a long time for these friends to become my confidants, but they were all worth waiting for. 

Why bother with old friendships? It is worth it to note that we do not make old friends: we make new ones so that someday they too can become our old friends.