National Blog Posting Month (i.e., NaBloPoMo) has a theme for January regarding “Friends.” Friends have played an important role in my life over the years. Admittedly, I do not make new friends easily. Generally, people don’t become more than acquaintances until there is some shared experience. My closest friends remain my closest friends from high school and college. I shared many experiences with the friends I hold from those times. I even count some from those periods as “friends” having not really spent much time since the respective graduations.
To make friends now requires something different. At this stage in life, I have to choose to be friends with someone. That is, I have to want to invest in their lives and want to give them access to my life on some deeper level. Making friends requires energy. I don’t generate energy by being with others. That tends to sap my energy. Thus, I tend to limit those situations that require energy expenditure. What’s the point if I can’t truly engage?
I’ve discovered that as I age — and I am definitely aging — my circumstances or my life does not provide me with as many situations that make “friend-making” easy. If I want to develop a new friendship, I have to make a positive step in that direction. Generally, I find that step to be a positive one, but I tend to be cautious in extending my friendship web because I know that I have somewhat limited energy resources. And why bother if I’m not going to really invest in the relationship?
I don’t share this for anyone to believe that I think they should think it special if I count them my friend. I know that I am lucky to have the friends that I have. I hope not to ruin any potential new friendships that I am developing. I’ve just noticed that developing friendships is far harder than it was when life forced me into proximity with others that I wanted/needed as friends.
Here’s to deepening relationships in 2011. Here’s to you developing real friendships in the coming months. (I plan to share what I believe to be the earmarks of a “real friendship” in future posts.)