I had lunch today with two friends who I met only a few years ago. I didn’t have any kind of history with them or know mutual people. We worked together and our friendship grew. They are some of the newest people in my life who I have a close relationship with. My new friends. Less than a year ago I moved to a different city where I know literally no one other than my husband. I’ve met people here, but haven’t formed any substantial friendships. Suddenly my new friends are not so new.
Maintaining relationships with people is hard. I am not good at it. I don’t call people and stay in touch. Creating new relationships might be harder. Getting to know people in a social setting often feels like work. You have to strike a balance of putting yourself out there and protecting yourself in case this turns out to be someone you can’t trust. There’s also a balance of being yourself without letting your weird show the first time you go for coffee. I tend to act more reserved. Then people are a little surprised when they find out I’m much louder and odder than previously thought. I keep trying to remember moments from the past when an acquaintance turned into a friend. With some people I have a clear memory of realizing this person is important. With other people we were kind of forced into it by circumstance or willed it to be until it was.
When I’m in new situations and not feeling like putting the effort into developing friendships, I rationalize by thinking about how I don’t need anyone else. I have a wonderful family who I am close to, people from high school and college, and, now, people from the “place where I used to live.” Sitting here, though, I realize how much I’ve gained from knowing my newest old friends. We are friends because of commonalities and interesting differences I don’t have with anyone else. They have personalities unlike other people I know; there is something they must offer to me that I can’t find elsewhere. I’m guessing there are probably others like them out there. I just have to sip my coffee and hope they don’t think I’m weird.