Can We Be Friends?

Not BEST friends (I already have some) but you know, mates..? 

“Hey, do you want to catch up for a coffee this weekend?”

Press send.

Do it.

Send the text message before she makes plans with someone else.

What if she thinks I’m a weirdo for texting her to hang out even though we’ve only met a few times? What if she doesn’t even reply and then goes to brunch with her besties on Saturday and laughs about my feeble attempts to befriend her? They will laugh and laugh and sip their mimosas, take a selfie and laugh some more.

Just send it.

Rejection is okay, it makes you strong, like Madonna, like when gravity rejected Madonna and she fell down from the stage but she got back up and kept lip syncing anyway. That takes strength. No! Be brave like Beyoncé and release a record all about your husband’s infidelity. Be Brave like Bey and send the text. If rejection is in the cards, just own it! Stop being a wuss!

The zooomp sound my phone makes when sending a text is probably what my stomach sounds like when it rollercoasters around my body as I ride the high of doing something risky. I busy myself with non-important things, I even leave the room that my phone is charging in because I don’t need my phone on me every minu-OH MY GOD she replied!

It’s a date! A friend date.

Making friends as an adult is tough. It wasn’t something I thought about as a kid, in the same class? Friends. On the same netball team? Friends. Your parents are friends with their parents? Friends. Neighbours? Friends. Live in the same town as your cousins? Best Friends.

In hindsight, it was even easy as a teenager because I was so much more willing to compromise my beliefs and values in order to be accepted into a group. These days I’m all about quality over quantity.

freaks-and-geeks-sam-weir

What I’m saying is, social circumstances eventually change. We don’t just “become friends” with people anymore, we have to seek friendship out.

I really want to give my gut more credit when seeking friendships. It has been right about lots of people who were wrong for me so why shouldn’t I trust it to be right about good people? I know pretty quickly when I’ve met someone wearing a dress of friend material. Sadly, the only move I usually make is adding them on Facebook and waiting for them to contact me. I believe it’s how they say… ‘getting your ducks in a row’ or is that about ‘putting your affairs in order’ before death? Or a sinister Romanova expression. Actually I’m not sure that phrase has anything to do with making friends, but you know what I mean. I set the wheels in motion! That’s what I meant!

I felt strange the first time I made a true friend outside of my squad, but it was also relieving to know I could do so. This new friend knew me as I was in that moment of my life. My other friends know me as the person they met in primary or high school, which is great too! I love that my lifelong friends are my history, but I fear I might be stuck as a different person, my younger self, in their minds forever.

My sister told me I wouldn’t be ‘friends forever’ with every friend I make. She also told me confidently that I shouldn’t get my hopes up about Darren Hayes and that the Spice Girls would probably break up. 1998 was a year for harsh truths… and upon reflection… is my sister somewhat psychic? Or just very aware of pop culture behavioural patterns?

She was right though.

I realized this a few months ago when I noticed a very close friend and I started to become distant. Our friendship began to deteriorate and instead of feeling resentment because of the rejection, I didn’t act out over what was happening, I let it go. It was not a big momentous epiphany. I just realised my sister was right, not everyone sticks it out with you.

“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”

― Cheryl Strayed

That experience demonstrated that I can maturely break something off without any kind of teenage drama. What baffles me is the creation of new friendships. At first I thought maybe it was me and my complete and utter lack of social skills. However, over time I have met people who are way more socially awkward than me. Perhaps what I’m lacking is effort.

So a friend asked me to come out with her friends on a Saturday night. I accepted straight away even though the prospect of hanging out with this particular group is daunting because they all happen to look like Victoria’s Secret models whereas grow my fringe out purely to avoid having to maintain my brow game. Like I said, I accepted because this was the universe’s way of offering me a chance to make an effort.

I spent most of the night trying to be careful with what I said. I tried to stand up straight and look cool and confident, like I belonged with them even though I was a wreck of nerves. I should be clear here, these girls did not make me feel this way, this was just my own insecurities getting in the way of me behaving like my normal self. All night I was stuck in my own head. I thought wistfully of the days when I had a girl gang of my very own that I could converge with on a Saturday night and just be myself.

The trouble with trying to integrate into a new group is that not everyone in the group is on the hunt for a new bestie. While my mind is focused on making a good first impression and trying to get to know people subtlety, the others are just there to hang out as they normally would. Our goals are not the same.

While I may not have the girl gang assimilation worked out, I feel more confident that I am working out these little hints on my own. Just like the discovery of when an old friendship isn’t what it used to be, I am beginning to understand the fact that not every person I meet will be a new best friend and sometimes that’s okay.

 

Lisa-Hooper-Contributor
Lisa Hooper: Book, TV, & movie enthusiast. Stuck in a ‘beginners guide to running’ cycle of fitness. The type of person who has a face for hats but has never actually bought one. Opposed to flying but ultimate dreamer of traveling.