I’ve never been one to go looking for new friends. The whole, “Join our club, meet new people!” sales pitch never really worked on me in school. If I wasn’t interested in the club, then I wasn’t interested in the club. The possibility of friend requests on Facebook wasn’t going to change my mind.
If that makes me selfish, then I guess I’m selfish.
When I moved away to university, I only knew one person going to the same school as me. Looking back – a new school, new town, and no friends should have had me worried all summer. I wasn’t. I didn’t even think about not having any friends when I arrived on move-in day.
Everyone else was in the same boat, anyway. It wasn’t like I was entering a residence where everyone was in an alliance and I was the sacrificial lamb chosen to be voted off the island first.
Sorry, Survivor reference.
Still, the way I looked at it was – I’m going away to school for eight months and then I come home for the summer. At the end of those eight months, I’m probably going to have friends. I don’t know who they are yet, but I’ll have eight months to figure it out. If I go home without making any friends, well then, at least I’m home and can cry in my pillow all summer.
I made friends; my pillow stayed dry.
That mindset, by the way, has gotten me through a lot of things in life. The whole, “picture what it will be like once you get through it” mentality.
For instance, I was always a bit nervous before presentations. Who wasn’t nervous? All eyes on you and the sweat stains under your armpits. Undershirts are key, kids.
What calmed me down was knowing that – no matter what – after twenty minutes, or thirty minutes, or an hour, or however long my presentation was, it would be over and I’d be back in my seat wondering why I was nervous at all. It was just a matter of time.
So, whenever I’ve found myself in new situations with a bunch of strangers, I know it’s just a matter of time before I become friends with them. And that’s not me being cocky – though I am a wonderful human being – it’s just confidence in knowing that how something starts, isn’t the way it will end.
If I learned anything from living in residence, it was that a group of strangers could become a family in eight months. Random people, from different cities, went from very few words on move-in day, to more words than a dictionary can hold over the course of the school year.
It was a beautiful thing to be a part of.
Working at a camp for four summers introduced me to many people. And every summer I went back, I told myself that it wouldn’t be as good as the previous summer. That I wouldn’t bond with the new staff the same way I did the old staff. That it wouldn’t be as fun.
And every single time, I was wrong.
Just like move-in day at school, the first day of pre-camp is very quiet. Most people don’t want to stand out too much. But as the week goes on, friendships are made. Whether it’s during a group activity, lunch, CPR training, or when someone asks you for a pen.
Or, on the rare occasion, you become really good friends with someone after camp ends. It’s happened.
The bonds made at camp, whether you’re a camper, or a counsellor, are some of the strongest bonds you can make in life. It’s just different. I still keep in touch with people I worked with six years ago.
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had some great friends over the course of my life. People who reluctantly accept me for the non-sushi eating individual that I am.
And as I sit here right now, I’m well aware that there are people in this world who I have not met yet, but will be friends with one day. That’s just the way life works.
If I gave my cell phone to my twelve-year-old self and told him to scroll through the contact list, he would have a hard time recognizing any of the names.
The friends we have are people we didn’t even know existed, until their path intersected with ours. If you think about it, a lot of things have to line up for two people to meet at a specific moment. Yet, it keeps happening for all of us.
I love it when things happen naturally. When something happens because that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. Sometimes people just get along and there is no reason for it. There is no one size fits all formula for a friendship.
I have close friends with whom I share many similarities. In university, my roommate and I were convinced we were separated at birth – our birthdays are close enough for it to be possible – that’s how similar we are. Yet, we are also very different.
Speaking of different, some of my other close friends are people with whom I have very little in common. It doesn’t make sense, but it works. In a way it’s almost better. Because if I ever want to know what they’re thinking, I know it’s just the exact opposite of what I’m thinking.
Again, sometimes people just get along and there is no reason for it.
Which bring me to the WordPress community. When I started this blog, I didn’t expect to become friends with people from all over the world. It just happened. Some bloggers have even made the transition from strictly communicating with me on my blog, to communicating with me via email, or social media.
I never thought that would happen. I never thought I would allow that to happen. But hey, expect the unexpected.
Sorry, Big Brother reference.
I want to close this post with a quick story that I think sums up the essence of what a friendship should be.
One of my good friends found out I had a blog very early on in our friendship. I encouraged them to read it. They said they would, but first, they wanted to get to know me on their own, without my blog spoiling who I was.
In a world where it’s so simple to take the easy way out. Where a quick “Facebook stalk” can sometimes tell you all you need to know about someone, I thought it was pretty cool this person didn’t want to go that route.
It showed me they actually cared. And I think that’s all anyone can ever ask for out of a friendship.
Maybe this is too idealistic for me to say, but I will anyway…
If two people were meant to meet, their paths will cross, eventually. We won’t know when. We won’t know where. We won’t know how. We sometimes won’t even know why.
We will just know.
Because eventually always seems to arrive right on time.
Which is why we have the friends we have, isn’t it?