I’m a person who loves to make friends. Seriously, ask anyone who knows me. Ever since I was a child, making friends was no big deal. In preschool, I asked some girls if I could join them while playing in the rice box; a few minutes later, we were chummy. Fast-forward to May 2015, and I look back on my college graduation, amazed at all the friendships I found; I have found friends, inside and outside of college, who really care about me, make me laugh, and most importantly, make me a better person.
Maybe it’s old news. But I am a firm believer in the cliché, find the friends who make you a better person. Clichés exist for a reason, everybody. Surround yourself with negative influences, you’ll find yourself imitating what you experience daily. Surround yourself with positive influences, and the day may seem more hopeful, the world, a bit lighter. And that is why I love making friends!
Whether it be that old man sitting alone in a cafe, the teenagers I’ve worked with at a pool, or a random dog I see outside as I’m going on a walk, I can guarantee you, I’ve tried to have a conversation with each and every one of them in the hopes of establishing a friendship. I am notorious for “forcing” my way into people’s lives, my friends most especially. Beautiful, isn’t it?
But finding new good friends is hard, and keeping them is harder. Right now, I am 23 years old and many of my closest friends are far away. After college we all moved to different cities and are working different jobs. I have found that transition to real world has been exhausting, but also extremely lonely. The only thing that has got me through these last 7 months is praying 5,000 times a day, my family (dog included), the friends that I made throughout the last 5 years, and the hope that I might find new friendships.
It would be easy to let old friendships slip. But it would also be easy to stay comfortable with the friends I have now and not put myself out there to make new relationships. But because I truly believe friendship is worth the effort I try to make time for my friends—everyday if possible. When you are feeling fatigued, mentally and physically, it can be hard to find the energy to do this, but it’s easier than you think.
- Leave a voicemail. This might seem like weird advice, but when I’m too busy to answer a phone call from one of my loved ones, coming back to my phone later and seeing a voicemail makes my day. A few of my friends and I leave voicemails for each other during our continual games of phone-tag, and they end up being pretty funny. It’s a good opportunity to laugh and let someone know you love them.
- Send a card. It’ll take about 2 minutes of your time. Find out your friend’s address, find a horribly cheesy card, and say “hey, I was thinking of you.” Snail mail is seriously underrated, but the effect is unforgettable and everlasting.
- Be intentional. That means go out of your way to text at least one friend a day. If I think of one of my friends while I’m working on something, I send them a text letting them know I miss them. I also carve out times for phone dates that won’t require an abrupt cut off time. Tip: Go for a walk while talking.
- Keep your word. We all are busy, but when you say you are going to make time for a meet up, phone conversation, or Skype do your best to stick to it. Those conversations could be just what you or your friend needs.
But, above all, let people know you love them. You can set up phone dates, send emails when you can’t, or send a funny picture to one of your friends, but most importantly, take the time to let people know you care. That’s the point of friendship; to remind each other of one’s worth and one’s dignity.
There are days where you will feel so tired you can’t think straight, and sometimes you’ll feel so lonely that it seems impossible to overcome. Life is hard, my friends. We can all attest to that and your friends won’t fix the problem, but they sure as hell can make you laugh and show you love along the way so keep them safe.