Seeking Genuine Friendship
Some of us have become disconnected from old friends during this time of restricted travel and socializing. Some of us have withdrawn due to the divisiveness that strikes like tornados cutting their vast swaths through civility time and time again. And some feel in a civil war of the minds being ground away by conflicting opinions with friends and family. Then there are the many self-righteous on either side where facts that controvert result in clinging even harder to distorted opinion, hunkering down in their camps of mutual anger and hatred.
What is one who simply wants genuine friendship to do? You know, like you had back in the day when your best friend Jane thinks this, and that’s her opinion – it’s not yours – and that’s OK, where that neighbor voted one way and the other neighbor voted the other, but you still had a good time at the neighborhood get together, laughed together, and brought casseroles and condolences when a loved one passed. It wasn’t totally perfect of course. It just seems that there was more room for that then.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to be that kind of person again if I ever was. First of all, I must allow for seeing myself and all of us as humans who are living in difficult and fearful times through a lens of compassion. What helps me most is to bless others, whether I agree with them or not, and put forth a simple prayer to hold love above all else; to believe in my integrity so that I can share life and love with others.
“We need not think alike to love alike.”
– Francis David
Reminder to self: None of us is here at this time and age to spread despair and misery. We’re here to help, to lift one another up and usher us into a better era – even if we might not see it in its full bloom. And even if it is very hard work. It might be tempting to give in to despair because it could seem easier at times. Better to accept that we are not in control of everything and affect things positively when we do have that ability.
So how and where might we find friends that are eager for genuine friendship? Some possibilities:
1. Reconnect with old friends. If you knew them as a young person, you probably have a pretty good idea of what they are like. Of course, there might have been a change. I found that friends of integrity from grade school, junior high and high school continued to be through the years when we reconnected. You can build on connections that are already there.
2. Find a group that gets together to help others. Find a group that offers something that moves you like getting together to knit caps for NICU babies or Habitat for Humanity. You will get to know people as you work together to give something to benefit others.
3. Join or start your own group like a book club. Pick an area that suits you. I started a metaphysical book club and have met some wonderful people through it. Do you love to play board games but don’t have anyone to play them with? Ask around, you will find others who do enjoy them and would love to play.
4. Spiritual and metaphysical centers as well as churches can be a good place to connect with others and make friendships.
5. Study something; take a class series.Invite a fellow student to coffee and enjoy your shared interest. Some classes have you partner up to do a project. That can be a great way to get to know someone.
6. Take a regular yoga, Pilates or other class where you see the same people and get to know them, or at least start the process.
7. Reach out to someone who might need to hear a caring word. Or simply reach out to say you’d love to have them as a friend.
“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”
― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
- Consider whether you trust someone enough to make the effort to build friendship.
- Friendship takes time to establish and grow.
- To have a good friend, be a good friend.
- Meeting in activities, over meals, in recreation can be fun.
- Shared humor can revitalize.
- If your relationship is built on gossip or complaint it will not be fulfilling.
- If you are seeing too many red flags (sometimes 1 is too many), consider whether this is for you or not.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.