Making friends was so much easier when we were younger. In those days of sandboxes and juice boxes and hopscotch, you found someone who looked like they might be nice, maybe was playing a game you liked, and voila! A friend. Maybe you got your mom to set up a play date so they could see your awesome doll that talked, or you got invited to their birthday party…then you knew you had arrived. You were friends.
Somewhere along the way as we get older making friends gets more complicated. Quite possibly I do a fair job of complicating it by simply thinking too much, or at least of late I have been. Friendship is something I don’t really GET lately. Don’t get me wrong–I have a lot of fantastic friends that I honestly don’t know where I’d be without, and I know that I am very blessed to have these people in my life.
But WHY? There’s so concrete reason for making or keeping these friendships. Relationships of any kind take effort and work if they’re going to be all that they can be. So why do we do it?
Of course there’s some pretty obvious reasons. Friends bring us happiness, are there for us to depend on, give us people to spend time with besides our family, enrich our lives, teach us things, call us out when we’re being dumb, laugh and cry and eat and drink with us. But those are just the good things. Then there’s the bad things…sometimes friends let us down, can’t seem to be what they said they’d be, don’t show up on time, say something mean out of frustration, forget to come to our party. Friends are human, after all–these things are going to happen.
So, in the course of my brain’s tumbling and jumbling, I have begun to wonder how you make the decision that the risk is worth it. I’ve made it countless times, most of the time without even debating it. I’m a fairly trusting person, so it comes fairly naturally for me to believe that people are going to come through for me. When they don’t is when I begin to have problems. Did I make the wrong decision in becoming friends with that person? Or was there even a decision at all…did it just happen? In the future should there be times when I make a conscious decision whether or not to become friends with someone?
It doesn’t really work like that most of the time though. Friends just seem to…happen, for whatever reason. And happenings, well, they’re always going to have an element of risk. I guess that’s what makes them kind of…great.
Maybe I should head back to the sandbox. Things were easier there.
Til next time…