My birthday is next month — and while I’ve been prepping myself for the new decade for several months now, I don’t feel old. Maybe I’m a little more Type-A than I was during the high school days, hopefully I’ve grown and learned from the past, perhaps I’m not as shy as I used to be. But other than that, I’m basically the same me that I’ve been my whole life.
But when I look at my friendships? That’s when I see the differences. Some friendships have remained constant through the years. Some friendships still exist but have taken on a completely different shift than when they started. And sadly, some no longer exist at all.
People grow. People change. And yet people stay the same deep in their core. But the friends who grow and change together, all the while staying the same, are the friends that are life-long friends. The ones that encourage you to be who you were meant to be.
Let’s shift directions here, though, because finding a life-long friend isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
So if you’re needing a friend, a companion, a true kindred spirit, here are a four ideas on how you can go about making that happen:
1. Find Similarities.
If you’re a bookish kinda gal — and that’s definitely a good thing! — find/join/start a book club! Talking about what you love with other beautiful souls who share the same passion is a sure-fire way to strike up a long-term friendship. Public libraries usually have biweekly or monthly book club meetings if you’re looking for a place to start. Or if you’re feelings über adventurous, start your own! Hang up a few advertisements in your local coffee shops, your church community board, and invite coworkers you think would be interested.
2. Socialize on your own.
If you’re a coffee lover, park yourself at one of those coffee shops with your favorite drink and keep your eye out for another person who looks like they need a friend. Socializing is a great way to become acquainted with a new friend you otherwise wouldn’t get to to know. Look for the sweet soul who is kind of on the outskirts of the clique, the one who almost looks shy. I guarantee you she has much to say on a lot of different topics and will stimulate conversation beyond the banter of the large circle of people a few feet away.
3. Don’t be afraid of the stranger.
When you meet someone interesting at a bridal shower, upcoming holiday event, in the cereal aisle at Target, the next community event, or wherever else you may find yourself, do not feel intimidated to initiate conversation. Compliment her on her cute shoes, ask questions about her job, find out how you have mutual friends.
4. Start over.
Don’t discount old friendships. Remember that people change? Some in good ways and some in not so good ways; however, even if you’re like me and you don’t feel like you’ve changed, take a second look at your soul. You and your old friend have both changed even in just the last year — whether from basic maturity, experiencing more of life, a breakup, new jobs, family situations. With that being said, give those old friendships that seem to have been lost forever a second chance. Apologize if necessary. Say “I’ve missed you.” Be honest about your changes and look for the good in people.
Finding a friend isn’t always the easiest search in the world. But if you will be honest about who you are and honest with others, you will find a friend. I’m not saying the journey will be an easy one or without some difficulty, but life is meant to be shared with others — and sometimes it’s necessary to look outside of ourselves to make that happen. Finding a friend really might not be about you, it could just be about reaching out to someone else and simply being there for someone who needs you.