As an introvert, I approach “Make a Friend Day” with trepidation. Do I have to make new friends? What is wrong with the friends I’ve got? Why is it so hard to make a friend? The short answer to the first is, “no”, you don’t have to make new friends if you don’t want to make new friends. To the second question, there is nothing wrong with the friends you have as long as they are not making you feel bad for being who you are or abusing you in any way. Now, the third question, that is where things get interesting…
Why is it so hard to make new friends? All I can speak to is my own experiences and for me, I am always worried about being too familiar too soon and sharing too much, or the complete opposite; being far too standoff-ish. My own insecurities keep me from talking and interacting with people as deeply as I can. I only recently realised one person, who I now count as a friend (we met as part of an international club), really worked hard to get me to see her in that way. I looked back over all of our interactions and realised how much she would call and invite me places or just make an effort to help me with a project without making any demands on me emotionally. She just made an effort to be where I was. That made a big impact on how I viewed myself as a friend. She actually wanted to be my friend and made the effort to become better acquainted with me and soon after, she became someone I really liked being around and have started making the effort to reach out to her if we haven’t spoken in a couple of days. It made me feel valuable as a person, to think that she wanted to be my friend.
I guess it is hard to make friends because as an adult, it takes effort. You have to be in a position to meet various people and decide who you want to be friends with then you have to cultivate a friendship with them and you have to follow through on your efforts. It is fairly time consuming and we typically do not have a lot of time to do these sorts of things. So, I thought about the people I know and thought about how I viewed them. Then I thought about what would happen if I made an effort to be a better friend to the people I think of as friends. Nothing catastrophic came to mind. So, instead of making a new friend, I am working on strengthening the bonds of friendship I share with current friends. Selfishly and mostly, because it is pretty optimal for my little introverted brain to not have to work at meeting new people, I work at making contact with one of my people every 2 or 3 days. It has been made a bit of an easier task because of the pandemic. I am more attached to my electronics and so are most of the people I know so yay for texting and messaging!
I just don’t think I am quite ready for meeting new folks right now but whatever effort any of us are willing to make, we can become better for it.