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Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Best Ship (Friendship)

There are big ships
And small ships
But the best ship of all
Is friendship
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.


  1. i've often thought that married people, especially with families, don't feel the need to cultivate friendships. They're never alone (or so they tell me). When they do go out to something with me, they call it a girls' night out, which I find a little condescending.
    Let me add right now that you, Susan, who I don't actually know all that well due to distance, project a soft friendliness and curiousity, and follow it all up with a wicked sense of humour. You also listen to someone as if what they say matters to you. I've seen this in action.
    --- I'll be very interested to see what Team Color Me Writing says on this topic.
    - pj

    1. Aw thanks, PJ - people are going to think I paid you to say that. But I didn't; honest! I appreciate your kind words so much and reciprocate them. I wish you lived closer :)

      I think married people can get bogged down in the responsibilities of marriage and family life and fail to see their need to cultivate friendships. But it's just as important for those who are married to have friends as it is for those who are single. Your family is not going to meet all of your social needs, nor should you expect them to. Thanks, PJ, for reminding us that when we do go out with friends, we need to consider what we call it.

      I was hoping to get a little more response from 'Team Color Me Writing.' Hopefully as the weeks go on and we get more into this topic, we'll get more feedback.

    2. the cheque's in the mail though, right? ;)

  2. As you know, I can relate to your struggle. Although I have the opportunity to make amd develop friendships, it is often still a difficult task for me. Therefore, I'm also working on having better ways to cultivate friendships.

    Maybe there is a book we can read together on the subject...?

    1. I've read two or three books on friendship in the last few years. They seem a bit difficult to find, and of course, applying what you read is key. If someone can recommend a book I haven't read, I'm certainly open to reading it with you.

    2. I can't recommend a book, but here's something. I am endlessly surprised at my brother's capacity for making new friends. I think part of the trick is that he has joined a couple of clubs and throws himself into them. In the past, I too was part of a club (walking) and it brought me friends and a couple of boyfriends (at the time). I remember it being easy-going fun. I hope to do something like that again.


I appreciate your comments and try to respond to each one!