A couple of days ago I had a discussion with my sister Anne about the fact that we had moved a lot as children. She felt that it had a very negative effect on her ability to make friends and kind of bemoaned the childhood lack of stability and her continued discomfort in talking to people.
Over the years I've thought a lot about my friend-making abilities. For me, moving was really helpful. I wanted to be social but I was terribly shy. In the end, my desire won over my comfort zone and I forced myself to go out and make friends.
After talking to Anne for a bit, however, I realized that my ability to make friends is really often limited to making pretty superficial friends. I'm absolutely fascinated by people and really truly want to be friends with everyone, but I find myself holding back because of fear of rejection. I will easily talk to people and even make a pretty quick connection with them, but making deep friends is still very difficult.
Growing up in multiple states, I now lay claim to friends all over the US. There are different levels of friendship that I enjoy with these people, but I've discovered that when I make an effort, more often than not, people are welcoming of that effort and I make new friends (or create better friendships from those already existing).
Yesterday, Brent and I went to a baby shower. Brent is best friends with Ian, who he bonded with in high school. Ian and his wife Amy have welcomed me into the little group, and they are just days away from welcoming their first child into their home.
So Brent went to the shower with me so he could play with Ian (they are both fans of video games) and so he could drive since I'm still on crutches. After a couple of hours of hanging out at this shower, knowing (and really only superficially) Amy, we ended up as a group of 3. Amy - the pregnant one, Janis - the hostess of the party, and me. And the 3 husbands were downstairs.
We talked pretty comfortably and decided after a while to go check out a sale at Lane Bryant. Turns out their clearance section was pretty well stocked and we each spent about $30 on 4 or 5 items. The funny part was this ragtag group of women. Me - the gimp, Amy - the pregnant one, and Janis - toting along her almost 2 year old daughter.
But we bonded. We ended up being there for about 8 hours yesterday (the boys just didn't want to call it a night). It was really circumstance that threw us together, but we enjoyed ourselves. We are nothing alike really, except that all three of us have husbands who really love comic books and video games. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to enjoying their company again.
So, here's to friends. To making friends. To deepening friendships that are superficial. To going out of our comfort zones and being enriched.