My daughter holds hands with her new friend, like she knew her from a past life. I watch them, noticing there is no hesitation in their rapport. There is laughter, squealing, and joy in their interactions. They skip down the hallway, the echo of their chattering coloring the blank space.
I am a envious of the ease of my daughter’s connection to her new friend.
Since moving to a new city, I’ve made many acquaintances, but trying to take some of these relationships beyond the superficial has presented its challenges. Making new friends in my thirties has proven to be an enigma. The opportunities to meet new people aren’t always happening. I am not in college or graduate school and my workplace is my home where I spend the majority of time writing alone. Time is another factor. People are busy with their jobs, marriages and their children’s social calendar. Others may have the time to cultivate new friendships, but are reluctant to do so because they already have a well established circle of friends. They aren’t accepting any new applicants.
But I still long for some real connections. Writing and motherhood are solitary activities. The need to talk to people, to engage in a meaningful exchange is something I don’t underestimate. As a result, I’ve put myself out there. Hosting parties, joining book clubs, and participating in neighborhood activities to make these relationships happen. But there is something unnatural about it all. I am trying to make these friendships happen where they may not be any common ground. So sometimes as soon as I make a connection, I lose it. And that is disappointing.
I could take this disappointment and retreat into my safe place, not seeking rapport with others because of the rejection. I don’t think that is the answer. I find that dialogue with others enriches my life. I learn aspects about myself that I never would have encountered if I had remained in my cocoon. And because I have chose to live outside of it, I have made some friends that I think are lasting relationships. Living in this world and getting the most out of it means extending that hand. And sometimes you will have someone reach out and other times you may be rejected. But you have to try or you won’t ever know.
Do you find friendships are harder to make as you get older? Is it difficult maintaining friendships because of time? How do you make time to forge new relationships?