Most people are weird. From secret kinks to deep rooted trauma, the world is kind of just a huge sitcom where the jokes are okay and the characters are super transparent if you can pay attention long enough. The more you learn about humans and how they human, the harder it can be to make new connections. If you’re me, every time you even slightly like someone you’re just waiting for the, “Hey, so can I be honest with you about something?” conversation.
So, how do we navigate new friendships as adults? Where is the black and white line of “possible friend” vs “possible psychopath” and how do graze over to the gray area of general possibility?
I find it helpful to examine my energy when I’m around and not around certain people. I ask myself my thoughts, “Am I constantly skeptical of this person when I’m away from them?” “Is their presence a genuine comfort or just a pacifier that relieves the anxiety I have when we’re apart?” I also observe my day to day productivity.
Welcoming new people into your space welcomes new energy into your atmosphere. Are you feeling new feelings? Fear? Jealousy? Frustration? If the feelings are new, they might not be coming from you. If you just haven’t felt them in a while, you could be feeling triggered. And if they are familiar, it could just be you.
This assessment also works with positive feelings. Sometimes we associate valuable friendships with euphoric feelings that we’ve already been feeling. Meaning, the friendship itself isn’t truly bringing anything to the table other than allowing us to emote.
After reflecting on how you’re affected by this new presence, stay solid in that awareness. Allow yourself to truly be yourself. Do not conform to what you think this relationship needs or wants. If this isn’t for you or you aren’t for it, allow that to prove itself organically so you can release yourself with no pressure or guilt.
You ever talk to a new friend on the phone in front of an old friend and get an awkward look when you hang up? Yeah, that’s not then being jealous. That’s you doing too much and it shows.
It’s normal to want to put our best foot forward when we meet someone new who we’re excited about. But, sometimes we’re putting forward the best version of ourself that doesn’t actually exist yet. It’s only an idea of who we want to be and how we want to be perceived. But, who you are will always come out to play at one point or the other.
One of the biggest downfalls of adult friending and relationshipping is assumption. We assume people have the same religious beliefs as us. We assume people enjoy the same music as us. We assume people think the way that we do, especially when we’re attracted to them. (I should explain attraction is not always sexual or romantic.)
I recently had a friend ask me over dinner, “What do you pray for when you say grace?” I always say my grace in silence and pray over my own food when I eat with other people to avoid people feeling uncomfortable. So when she asked me this I was completely off guard. In my mind I was like, “So you want to get uncomfortable?”
My answer on grace led to a question of what I perceived God to be. My answer on God led to a question of her perception of God. This led to a deeper level of comfort because there was an understanding between us now. Understanding doesn’t come from agreement, it comes from communication.
Making New Friends I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not great at friendships or relationships. I often assume and I seldom give space for error. I talk more than I listen and the moment I feel slightly off about a person I slowly create distance between us that makes communication difficult and very awkward.
The people in my life who I can call friend have all made clear intentional efforts to solidify their spaces in my heart and I am forever grateful for it. They teach me how to be a better friend, a better lover and a better person. In today’s blog I’m sharing some of the things I’m learning through them.
Friendship is priceless, love is golden. If you can take good enough care of these things to watch them grow and stay, you’ve won a huge part of the game of life.