Making friends is a necessary part of any human’s life; we’re social creatures and need that interaction. But it isn’t always the easiest thing to do. As adults, we often have to contrive ways to find friends: join some group activity, come up with a good but short list of interview questions, and put forth the effort to show our best self. And then there’s always the fear of rejection. Much like dating, making friends can be a daunting experience, especially for those of us who are socially awkward and never say the right thing. Luckily, I have blundered my way into some amazing friendships, but when Story recently said she was lonely and needed a friend, I was terrified she was going to ask me for advice.
She was ice skating, alone — typical only-child problem. I’ve not yet gotten up the nerve to go out there. If I fall down, I won’t be getting back up quickly, if at all. So, she was out there by herself. This was fine for a while, then she got bored, but she didn’t want to leave. She sat down next to me and said she needed a friend to skate with. She looked up at me, and I just knew she was going to ask me what to do. But she didn’t.
She simply said, “I’ll go make a friend.” And off she went. No hesitation, no worry, no doubt.
She circled once, and by her second time around, she had made a friend and was laughing and playing. But it didn’t stop there. She made another friend and then another. In the end, I had counted four people she befriended: an older lady, a girl roughly her age, a toddler, and a high school couple (I guess that makes five). She had a blast with all her new friends, and she even introduced the couple to the older lady.
In the car on the way home, I told her I was proud of her for putting herself out there. She didn’t understand. I said, “You know, going out there determined to make a friend.” She just shrugged.
A few minutes later, with concern in her voice, she asked me if I knew how to make friends. I replied, “Well, making friends as an adult is different.”
She disagreed. “All you do, Mom, is just go up to someone, say hi, and smile. Then see where it goes from there. Some people will talk to you, and you make a friend. Some people won’t talk to you, and you just go on. Some people are shy and don’t say hi back, but if they smile, you have a friend. It’s just easy.”
It’s just that easy, folks.
P.S. NHN has a new addition to the family! Eeee! Tune in next week to meet her.