There are big ships
And small ships
But the best ship of all
Although I put aside the shyness of my childhood as an adult, I’ve always been an introvert with no more than a small group of close friends. I’m still fine with this – quality over quantity, right? – but over the years, as people have moved away and become busy with their own lives (careers, marriages, families), this ‘group’ has shrivelled. Most of those I would call intimates are at geographic distances too great to span, though we keep in sporadic contact through Facebook and e-mail and in those rare times we are able to come together, I love that we share as freely as ever. But I have only 2-3 close friends who live nearby and even we don’t get together frequently, perhaps once a month.
All this to say: I feel the need for a greater number of friends in my life. My grandfather, a well-liked but introverted loner, always used to say that ‘if you want to have friends, you’ve got to be friendly.’ This is true, and in the past I’ve wondered whether I give off aloof or snobbish vibes that stem from my introversion or lack of self-assuredness in social situations. I certainly didn’t grow up with good examples of friendship in action. I was an only child with no siblings to show the way, and my mom has always been a person who valued family over friends. The few friends she spent any time with tended to be difficult people and, ultimately, the friendships didn't last.
So, and reiterating from Sunday’s post, this year “I want to build deeper relationships with my best friends and make a point of cultivating one or two new friendships.” I have some thoughts on how to go about this and will share in future posts, but I’d love to get ideas from you as well. As I’ve said before, I want this to be an interactive place, and that means I need your comments!
What is your experience with friendship? How do you go about finding and cultivating new friends? How do you make the friendships you already have work? Do you have a lot of close friends or just a few? Any thoughts you have on this important subject are most welcome. We were not created to be alone. No man (or woman!) is an island. We were made for community.