I actually hate to brag, but in order to properly honor what I aim to share here, I must admit that I am very good at making friends. 

Recently, someone whom I reconnected with, when discussing making new friends, told me “I noticed that you speak without concern that the person on the other end cares what you have to say”. It is true. It doesn’t cross my mind. That’s because, what is going through my mind is usually something along the lines of “what is this person’s story?” (i.e. what is the most interesting thing I should know about this person) or what would this person think about what I think about (insert provocative topic, usually something socio-political eek). 

After expressing this to her, she then vulnerably shared that still she felt that others already had their friends, and likely weren’t interested in making new ones. I refuted this immediately. Because I have many many friends and yet, I love making new ones and by doing this routinely, in my new home as of 2020 in the Denver area and then around America by way of my van life adventures, I have experienced that everyone is eager for relationships that foster openness - a space to share ourselves and be accepted, listened to and celebrated exactly as we are. If there is nothing else I know, I KNOW THIS. 

This someone, with whom I was on a walk during this conversation, is a successful, beautiful, funny and relatable woman. It actually shocked me to learn of her different perspective. It opened my eyes, while my perspective simultaneously opened hers. We happened to be out for a night walk at the time, she is married to my cousin, and in perfect cosmic one-ness, at this very moment when we saw “making friends” through the eyes of the other, we looked up to very tall pine trees, coated in glittering, flashing fire flies. 

A few days later, I was with another cousin of mine, at her new daycare for her baby. I helped strike up a conversation for her with another new mom. Within minutes, we learned that they had very much in common, lived within a few blocks of each other, and were meant to be friends. And I could tell that they were both eager for the connection, but neither made an effort to begin a relationship. And so I said without hesitation, “You should get each other’s info”, and they did. After getting home, my cousin debated how they should connect (“should I invite the whole family over?”) and when she would reach out (“I guess I will text her next week”). It was reminiscent of the old dating games. My advice was straightforward: establish a relationship first between the two of you - get coffee or go for a walk. You already know you have the potential to bond with this woman and can thrive from this bond. Moms dedicate so much of themselves to their children and families. It is uniquely important to have relationships that are about us as individuals apart from our families. So start there and once you are friends if you want to get together as a couple or family, it is that much easier to have fun and for everyone else to connect based on the foundation of your initial friendship. And as for follow-up, reach out tomorrow to make plans for the following week. Everyone is busy and tired, so strike while the iron is hot (i.e. you know what it’s like to have that buzz from connecting). 

There are three main points/questions I wish to pose here:

  1. What if we bring more curiosity about others to our conversations, instead of concern for ourselves? 
  2. What if we were to accept as fact that we are all open to new friendships with our fellow humans who meet us where we are with kindness, understanding and vulnerability? Would that change our willingness and efforts to approach and build new relationships? 
  3. Should we make more efforts to be “wingpeople” for friendships? I.e. the way I did with cousin #2 above. We place a lot of value on networking and making introductions in the business world, but what about for our personal wellbeing? 

When I visualize friendship, I see those with their heads back, cackling from their bellies, or heads together, working through someone’s difficult times in the spirit of not being alone. In the good times and the bad, I believe true friendship is the spice of life - that added yum that brings out the flavor and makes it so damn good. 


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