When my son went to college he was determined to make new friends. Having been taught that you have to “be a friend to have one,” he was determined that within the first week he was going to have made new long-term friends.
Probably two weeks into moving into his dorm he called.
“Mama, I have no clue what to do now about making friends. I’ve done all I know to do and I just don’t think this is working out the way it is supposed to.”
I asked what he meant and he went on to share that he had met everyone on his floor, he knew them all by name and where they were from, he knew their personal interests, yet he did not feel like he had made any new friends. I knew he wasn’t exaggerating . . . he had/has some kind of crazy memory retention, so if he told me he “knew” all those things, I was certain that he did.
However, what he didn’t know was that it was going to take time, energy, and investment to transition those “facts” to friends.
Have you ever met someone and in that initial meeting you found that time lapsed so quickly, before you knew it a few hours had passed? There was a
“connection” . . . an energy that seemed to be present in the conversation, a flow to that existence together as new acquaintances.
This is one of the marks of a new friend.
C. S. Lewis, in his essay on friendship writes that friendships can’t be forced. They have to develop based on commonalities. If you simply “want friends” – you can’t just “make them.”
We find our deepest, most meaningful friendships when we find ourselves saying, “What? You feel that way? Me too!”
When we see the same truths we are forming life-changing and life-giving friends.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to go to dinner with someone relatively new to my life. I knew I had my own anxiety around the meeting. . . “Will this be awkward?” “What if we have nothing to talk about?” I figured she did, too.
Before I knew it, almost two hours had passed, the patrons that owned the establishment asked if they could take our plates/glasses, and we realized, “Hmmmmm, they are closing, it seems it is time to go.” We’d had the best time, so much in common, and there was an “ease and flow” to the evening.
I didn’t go into the night determined to “make a new friend.” But, as I thought through the evening on the drive home what I realized was that the connection that had just existed was life-giving.
In the words of Father Richard Rohr,
“Love, the attraction of all things toward all things, is a universal language and underlying energy that keeps showing itself despite our best efforts to resist it. It is so simple that it is hard to teach, yet we all know love when we see it. When we are truly “in love,” we move out of our small, individual selves to unite with another, whether in companionship, friendship, marriage, or any other trustful relationship.”
Love of friends is a beautiful thing.
It is based on common truth.
My son realized after a few weeks that simply checking a list was not going to form friendships. Only time together and commonalities would do that. Once he figured that out, he made amazing friends.
What “amazing friends” do you need to invest in today?
“Our Lord God, almighty wisdom, all love, just as truly as [God] has made everything that is, so truly [God] does and brings about all that is done . . . we are securely protected through love, in joy and sorrow, by the goodness of God. . . . All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” —Julian of Norwich