Before relocating to a new city last year, I had made exactly two new female friends in the last 15 years. I don’t mean that I didn’t meet any new girls through other connections such as work and friends-of friends, but the kind that comes from a sudden connection with a previously unknown person that develops into lasting friendship. One of the two that I did make as a grown-up just happened to relocate to the same new city at the same time, and her constant presence has been a tremendous blessing. But before her, my last entirely “new” friend happened when I was 21, and before that it was high school. I have always had lots of acquaintances. I am good at making acquaintances. But moving, as far as finding true and lasting female friendship goes, was daunting. I would just add to the acquaintance list, I figured.
The foundation of my prior acquaintances was proximity – cubicle neighbor, the wife of my husband’s childhood friend, the mom of the one kid that my kid plays with at the park. These are friendship of convenience. We are here, so we are friends.
Having the cloak of relocation-related friendlessness serves to open my mind and heart to strangers. Because I really have only one friend, there is heart space to see each new person with clear eyes.
Now new friendships are blissfully based solely on the soul of what a real friend is. In my new vibrant town, I meet someone new, a lot of new someones. We chat. If our words feel forced, or our values are too disparate for reconciliation, that’s okay. I will gratefully settle for acquaintance. But if we quickly fall into the joyful lose-track-of-time conversations that tend to accompany real connection, if being together leaves us both uplifted, I have the opportunity to pursue a friendship. I am new here. I need friends. That’s my in. I have made more wonderful, lasting connections in the past year than I did in the 20 that came before it. Change is good. Yes, change is good.