Growing up in high school and college, I had plenty of friends.
I loved being a part of large gatherings and making new friends. It almost seemed natural for me to meet new people. When I got married the summer after graduating from college and moved to a new town, I quickly realized that making friends as an adult was a lot harder as a kid.
In college, I lived with my best friends all four years.
I was a part of different social organizations on campus and in classrooms full of people every single day. After I graduated from college, all of my friends (including myself) were starting their careers and starting families. It became increasingly hard to stay in touch with everyone. For me, being in a new city on top of gradually losing touch with my friends, it was devastating.
For someone that identifies as an enneagram six and craves community, my world felt upside down.
Even though I was a newlywed and overjoyed to start my life with my husband, I felt very alone. I needed friends. And I needed friends fast.
Making friends as an adult seemed so daunting to me.
Fear began to tremble my thoughts. Where was I going to meet new people? Who would even want to talk to me? Would I say the right things? I tend to be a very outgoing person and can be described as a “loud” personality. So, I even shocked myself when I became so timid and concerned with making friends again.
It took roughly two years for Toledo to feel like home.
Even then, I didn’t have too many friends in the area. I became determined to find friends that could become my tribe. I decided to be proactive and put in the hard work. But what did “putting in the hard work” look like?
Like all relationships, Friendship takes vulnerability.
Revealing my authentic self to strangers seemed dangerous. What if they didn’t truly understand me and thought differently of me? As I’ve gotten older, it has become less self-conscious. But it is such an easy response to care about what other people think, especially as a woman.
As I started to open up to more people, volunteer at events in my community, and have dinner parties with acquaintances; I began to find friendships that developed into deep, lasting relationships.
Friends that I could be real with and share my deep dark thoughts and feelings with. Friends who have sat with me during my depression, who didn’t think less of me when I shared my ugly feelings during infertility, the friends that stick by me after I slip up and hurt their feelings. I’m forever grateful for these sisters.
Now, some of the friendships that I had over the years in Toledo are no longer as close.
However, the beauty of friendships as an adult is that you do not have to write those friends off. I can see those friends months or even years later and we can pick up right where we left off. If we have had a separation from difficult circumstances, I have found that those friendships become that much sweeter once we clear the air. Coming to a broken relationship with humility has been one of the most healing experiences for me this year.
If you are struggling with friendships, especially during a world-wide pandemic, I’m cheering you on!
Analyze your friendships and look to see who are your close community of friends, the ones that you can be vulnerable with. Be brave and repair some relationships that may be broken. I encourage you to be the woman to reach out to someone first. Be vulnerable, have grace, and have fun!