I wanted the title of this post to be “Dun, Dun, Dun! Friendship… as an big person!”
But it’s not.
Instead it’s probably something nicer. Oh well, you can’t win them all. Plus, as an adult who has to watch calories and such, “big person” has a different meaning now. What I actually meant was “big person” like a little kid. 🙂
Friendships can be difficult for an adult — we’re no longer forced into close quarters with hundreds of other people that we’re pretty much forced to get to know. People move, have children, and find new interests. We have work, adult responsibilities (stupid bills!), and too much on our proverbial plate (thank you “hustle” mentality). It’s all made worse for an introvert like me. I work from home. I spend a lot of my time alone. And I like it.
But even I need friends!
So, in honor of Best Friends Day on June 8th (Not to be confused with Friendship Day), I’m going to share my semi-sage wisdom for friendship after the quarter-life crisis!
1.Dare yourself to be a friend
I became friends with Missy because we were forced to be in a car together for more than 5 hours. She mentioned amusement parks one day at church. I opened my mouth and out poured “My parents live close to Cedar Point if you wanna go.” To this day, I don’t know what made me do it. But it has led to one of the most beautiful friendships!
Go ahead, ask that person to go do that thing! Make sure it’s something you both enjoy. Make sure to set a date soon so you don’t lose your momentum! Dare yourself to talk about “friend” things. Don’t just talk about that funny thing your kid did or that annoying thing at work. Laugh about that show you like. Ask simple but person questions like “What do you like to do for fun?” “What your favorite color?”
2.Accept it won’t be a perfect match
My friend Sam works in the agriculture field. She likes animals, farmers, and things relating to the agriculture field that I can’t even begin to explain. I like my grocery store.
We have some like interests but those similarities aren’t so overwhelming that someone would put us together on paper. That’s okay. We enjoy our time together. We share secrets and a lot of laughter. We don’t need to be a perfect match to be friends. But we both need to accept that we’re never going to be a perfect match, embrace the differences, and enjoy the shared things.
3.Don’t be so easily offended
I have the privilege of having friends around the world. We don’t always see eye to eye. In fact, there are times when I absolutely disagree with whatever they are saying.
But I get over it. I do listen to what they are saying, I ask questions about how they formulated their opinion, and I evaluate it for myself. Is there something I can learn from their opinion? What can I learn about the person? I don’t soak in offendedness — instead, I learn to embrace the colorful people that my friends are. Their differences help me to grow and become a more accepting person. I can still choose to not agree but I’ve learned to listen better, learn more, and not be so easily offended.
4. Allow for change
Jennifer has been my friend since middle school. We attended the same church and the same school. There have been times when our friendship seems to have vanished. But then one of us sends that e-mail, plans that trip, or does that thing.
She is a professor at a college and I teach children over the internet. She has a doctoral degree and I only hold my bachelors degree. She lives in South Carolina and I’m in Pennsylvania. Our lives look different. We’ve missed important things, events, and moments in the other’s life. But we move on. We work to keep the friendship. It’s not as strong as it once was but that’s okay. Things changed but we have something important — a friendship built on history.
5.Don’t overthink it
Sierra started attending youth group not long after Jay became the youth pastor. She was a middle school student that I watched grow into a beautiful young woman.
There were times in our history when I’ve had to keep my thoughts and feelings close because they could have caused damage to her still developing person. However, as time moved on, so did our relationship. It’s an odd thing because there are parts of my brain that still think like her leader but as long as I don’t overthink it — she is my friend.
My mom always said “If you want a friend, you have to be a friend.” So, attend that thing, talk to that person, put away the phone, invite the person, dare yourself to be a friend. Throw away your “friendship goals” and just embrace what it for what it is.