“Maybe we can be each other’s soulmates. And then we can let men be just these great, nice guys to have fun with.” –Charlotte from Sex and the City
“You’ve got a friend in me,” “Thank you for being a friend,” and just like that… you have quotes about timeless friendships. But how do you make friends? More importantly, how do you keep the friends you’ve made? As someone who suffers from crippling shyness at first (which is something I didn’t start experiencing until later in life), it can be difficult.
I’ve had to say goodbye plenty of times in my life — and I don’t mean just on the phone. I’ve had to bury loved ones, and I’ve had to make tough decisions to let friends go. There is something about death that no one really talks about. In the movie The Mummy, Evie interprets hieroglyphics that say, “Death is only the beginning.” In terms of friendships, it is hard to find good ones, and sometimes even the best ones tend to fizzle out, or you might even say they just stop altogether. Yes. I compared losing friends to death because ultimately it is a death in its own way. Minus the funeral and black attire, you kill the plans you’ve made, you drown the memories away, and you learn to let go. You move on because it isn’t the end of all friendships.
With each goodbye, it brought me the opportunity for a new hello. Making new friends has become something that I’ve found great joy in simply because it forces me out of my comfort zone and into a vulnerable position. More importantly, the new friends I’ve made have helped me become the woman I always thought I would be. It’s also an added bonus that they build me up and encourage me to do crazy things… like attacking my crippling shyness with a force of nature. As scary as it is, I am so freaking grateful for them.
I have had great, in-depth conversations about this with my best friends, Allison, Mallory, and Shelby. They are my very best friends for very different reasons. Each of them came into my life when I felt isolated and alone. All of them are mothers to the most wonderful children whom I love as if they were my own. They are each strong in certain areas that I struggle with in life. They provide me with a safe place where I can be myself — my anxious, weird, and most authentic self. They listen without judgment and help me navigate through whatever issue I am dealing with at the moment — just as I do with them.
I always thought friendships were give and take… and being vulnerable. Unfortunately, I lost a few good friends because I thought our friendship was a safe place where I could unload my worries and address concerns. Instead, it was met with the sound of crickets chirping. Silence is deafening and damning in every relationship, in my opinion, and it goes both ways.
I enjoy gardening, so I will take a moment to use a garden analogy for friendships. In order for me to make new friends, I need to remind myself to water the friendships that I have now — so they may last during the next freeze. Watching them bloom and thrive “like grapes on a vine” (Thanks Isabella from Encanto), brings me such incredible joy. I need to water those so those vines may continue to crawl up and spread and produce so much good in the world. When it comes to newer friendships, sowing seeds, or transplanting something new in the garden can be tricky. Approach it with care, pay attention to its needs. Be sure to ward off any bugs, mites, or animals looking for a snack. Give it support so it can climb. Give it room so it can grow. Give it plenty of water and never stop making sure it is in the sunlight. Soon enough, you’ll find your garden full of flowers in full bloom. Each with their own uniqueness and their own journey on how they got to be where they are today. Some will attract others who will make the garden grow, and others may repel harmful pests. Soon enough, and with such ease, you’ll find yourself comfortable and safe in your beautiful garden. Who knows, you might even find yourself starting to bloom, too.