“I don’t need nobody”
“I got me, because no one else got me”
“I don’t need friends!”
As if living like an island is the standard, and connection is a sign of weakness.
It’s in our biological design to crave companionship, to want to share with someone, to connect, yet we “prefer” to live life to ourselves.
Why is that?
Conversely, there’s also this movement to “find your own tribe”. You want to go further, you have to go together. Yet, even in this, people still feel alone, because they tend to build superficial connections with people over common interest, without going deeper.
I’ve discovered two answers:
We’ve never learned how to be a friend. If we don’t know how to be a friend, then we don’t know how to receive friendship. If we don’t know how to receive friendship we alienate those who try to be our friends.
We had a friend once, it didn’t work out. We’re hurt and discouraged, why would we do that to ourselves again?
So what next?
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24 KJV
Measure the kind of friends you want, by the kind of friend you are.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Galatians 6:7 KJV
You sow “good friend” you reap “good friend”, and not in a tit for tat kind of relationship, but out of a genuine desire to love someone better.
This is the part where I can get stuck, because, I fall into category 2, been there, tried that, no thanks.
Most of the friends that I have I grew up with and I didn’t start making new friends until recently. For me, I wasn’t accustomed to the effort required to maintain a friendship with someone that you’re not in constant close proximity to.
Then I wondered why I felt alone.
All relationships should be built on some level of reciprocity, but if you don’t put in the effort/show someone that you’re trying to befriend them, how else do you expect to make friends?
How do you expect to maintain them?
So here are a few quick tips to making new friends:
Say “Hello”. If you are always entering new surroundings expecting to be left alone...guess what? You will be left alone.
Engage in conversation. This one can be a little nerve wracking, but if you are only give answers in one or two word phrases, you come off as boring. Share your opinion, offer your insight. I promise you’ll be alright.
Be kind. This one feels self explanatory, but it’s worth mentioning. A little kindness goes a long way.
Follow up. This is where I fall off! But we gotta reach out after. If you see something that reminds you of your new friend, shoot them a text, tag them in that Instagram post, invite them to that movie you were talking about.
Don’t be afraid to be the initiator! Because you never know what you could be missing out on!
And if you say hello, engage and reach out and it falls flat, then that’s ok too. At least you know that it wasn’t you, and you won’t die for trying.
Friendship is a habit to be practiced, so make sure that you practice today!