“Bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open because the world needs you open.” ~ Rebecca Campbell
I did not want new friends. I was happily closed. I had the friends I needed. I had my husband, my sister, and my two best friends. I was busy raising my children, teaching my students and coaching my athletes. I had my blogging community and my Instagram community. I was done making friends. Period.
When I met new people, I had zero concern with whether they liked me or not. If they loved me – great. If they hated me, who cared? I did not need new friends. My preference was to stay home anyway so I needed no one to attend the latest events with me. Should I happen to want to go somewhere, my husband could come with me. If not, I was perfectly content going alone. Why on earth would I need to invite new people into my personal space? I was fine then. I am fine now. Change was unnecessary…
…until God asked me to open up. You can imagine my utter disgust at the suggestion. I ignored it for quite some time. Yet, the subject kept coming up over and over. It refused to be ignored. I remember actually starting and finishing a blog post about learning to be open for a little boy who came to live with me. He really needed me to be open.
The next day after writing the post, before I could even hit publish, his mom swooped back in and took him, and that was the end of that.
When he returned, I opened my heart to him only because he lost his mom, and he could really use a mom. I decided to be open just for him. I made just enough space for that little boy to make his way in. Then I slammed the door shut. I was at capacity.
Recently, I have felt that same nudge that it is time to open the door again. It is time for me to find new friends – not because I do not love the ride or die girls who have been in my life and will be in my life til death do us part but because my purpose is bigger than my three real friends. People need friends. People need community. I need friends. I need community. I do not need work friends, and Facebook friends, and Instagram friends and then a separate category for real friends. I need two categories – friends and not friends. Black and white. You are in or you are out.
I have been so busy over the past few years learning to be a mom, learning to be a wife, and learning to be a blogger. I have decluttered all the layers to uncover who I truly am. But who I am is different. I do not fit in anywhere. I do not have this niche of people who really get me and vibe with me. I am not really a part of any group. Most times, I am on the outside looking in, but that was always okay because my friends get me. They really get me, and they accept me. That was all I needed. Until one day, that was not enough. Until one day, I decided that I needed to grow my circle…or maybe Someone decided for me.
So here I am all grown up trying to find new friends. How do you even do that? How do you find new friends without school and sports? How do you find new friends that are not the neighbors who lived down the street from you for the past 20 years?
1. Find someone else who needs a new friend
Someone else needs a new friend. Someone else is trying to find a new friend. Someone needs a person to sit next to at lunch. Someone searches a room filled with people for a friendly face. Someone else wants to do brunch. Someone wants to go to a festival or an event in the city on a Thursday afternoon.
She enjoys her favorite cold beverage by the pool after work or on weekends. She does not have a sitter and needs someone to eat beignets with her at the park while she watches the kids play. Your new friend will need someone to call when her sister is overseas on her commute home from work. She needs a shoulder to lean on and a partner in crime to laugh at all the memes you send to her phone and her inbox. Her parents do not live here. Her sisters do not live here. Her best friends do not live here. She could use a friend just like you.
2. Find someone who needs your different
When you find your new friend, she will feel like she does not fit in anywhere just like you do. She will feel like she is not enough of whatever the specific group she is a part of needs. Sometimes she will overcompensate with perfectionist tendencies to feel like she belongs and is worthy just like you do. She will need someone else who is different just like she is. She will need your hair stories and your kid stories. She will need to know that sometimes you are also hanging onto your faith by a small prayer because you do not always have the heart for big prayers. Someone needs to know that you need her different. Her different perfectly complements your different.
3. Stay open
You will want to close the door. You will want to hibernate in a corner, especially if you find a really good new friend. You will want to hide the demons you have battled for years. You will want to cover up your scars. You will want to hide that you are completely broken. Your new friend needs your broken. She needs to see your battles, your scars and your broken.
…And you need her. You need a community. Your purpose is directly tied to some of your new friends. You cannot move forward if you only embrace the old. The old is great. The old makes you who you are. Your old friends are instrumental in your past, your present, and your future, but you also need new. You have changed, but you did not bother accept the new people that change brought you.
Maybe you were scared of being rejected. Maybe you were afraid of being hurt. Maybe I am afraid of being rejected. Maybe I am afraid of being hurt.
Just know, that forward movement cannot happen without growth, and growth cannot happen with a circle of people new and old with your best interest in mind. You need them…and they need you.
What are some ways that you find new friends now that you are all grown up?
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