Yep, I have actually heard these exact words come out of someone’s mouth. After I got over the shock of the fact that it’s just something I’ve never thought of before, I was heartbroken.
“I have enough friends”….
Okay okay I get it…. you came back to your hometown to settle down and have kids for the exact same reason that your high-school friends did too. And for the same reason I moved here from out of state: it’s amazing. Beach, mountains, good food, schools, horseback riding, skateboarding, So Cal Vibe with a CenCal flavor. It’s incredible. But do you know how hard it is to be a ‘transplant’???
I moved here at the age of 20 with $400 in my pocket and slept on an air mattress for months after hating the first 2 yrs of college in my home state. (Love you MN, just not for me). I needed to get out and grow. And after struggling for years to make friends, find myself, and figure out what the heck I am doing here, I actually heard the words “I have enough friends” from one of my friends. It wasn’t directed at me, and I didn’t react at the moment, but that one sentence has resonated in my head for YEARS. I would never dream of not considering a new acquaintance to become my new best friend, buddy, gal-pal, or confidante!
I’ve been ruminating on this statement for YEARS trying to figure out what bothered me so much, and I think I’ve finally figured it out: it’s not about you.
Friends, what if you had that thought when you met me, and we never got the chance to become friends? What if the mom who says “hi” every single morning on the way in and out of daycare does so because she hopes you’ll notice her. Maybe she hopes that you’ll make playdates, so she can ensure her kid has enough friends to consider this town their “home”. What if the happy hour you had with your high-school friends last Friday would have been the invite of the year for the mom from out of town who just heard about it second-hand, after-the-fact because of how great it was. What if you’re missing out on an incredible person because you have “enough”? So when I meet someone new, I try to remind myself “it’s not about me” and become curious about them. I try to remember that maybe they could use a new friend.
Having friends as an adult is tough, it is time consuming, it takes work. Finding new friends as an adult can be dreadful, hit-or-miss and at times, disappointing when someone you thought might be great just didn’t end up being “your people” after all. People are in our lives for a reason or a season, but we won’t find out which or how if we don’t give it a chance. You have to force yourself to think of people you haven’t talked to for a while and just send that text: “hey girl, how are you?” or even just a “Hi” bitmoji to make them laugh. Just to say “I’m still here” and “I’m thinking of you” and “you matter to me”. Or just send a meme!
I learned this morning from Kate Johnson (author of “Radical Friendship”) on the 10% Happier Podcast that when Buddha’s right-hand man came to him with the “aha moment” of ‘friendship is 50% of the journey’… the Buddha responded: “No, it’s 100%”. Buddha taught that you have to give what is hard to give, and do what is hard to do, to gain real, true meaningful friendships.
So, next time you are overwhelmed to the max, can’t stuff another appointment or thing to remember in your brain, but the new (or not-so-new) girl in town says “hey, how are you”… consider for a fact that she means it. She wants to know how you are, who you are, and what you share in common.
Friendships last a lifetime, and the girl scouts were right: Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold. A circle is round, it has no end. That’s how long, I will be your friend.