I’ve had about 30 years practice making friends and I think I’m getting quite good at it.
Growing up, I liked my friends but I always, quite self-consciously, felt like I was waiting for the real deal, my peoples, the ones who would just get me and support me and make me laugh without me having to spend so much time thinking about it. And thank goodness, I did.
I met my crew for life in the first weeks of uni and settled into the comfortable ease of knowing that all my requirements were fulfilled, thank you very much. A brilliant mob of fiercely loyal, clever, interesting, funny fellow humans to go through life with. Sorted.
For the last decade or so my circle of friends has been made up of the following: my core group of Uni girls, then the WAGS (I’m using the term ironically, of course) - the wives and girlfriends of my husband’s core group of boys, and my ‘satellite’ friends, the random, unaffiliated old school friends and others who I see on more of a one to one basis.
But - Shock! Horror! - in the last two years, having never even considered the need for anyone else in my life (too fulfilled, too tired, too lazy), I’ve met someone new. A few someones actually. And I’ve realised that new friends are amazing.
The best thing about making new friends in your 30s (I’m 32) is that you’re so much better than your childhood, adolescent and 20-something self. In my case, gone is the over-sensitive, slightly inhibited and under-confident me. In her place stands a much happier, more self-assured and assertive grown up (again, I use the words somewhat ironically) who knows exactly what she wants from her friendships and (humble brag) is a pretty good friend back to boot.
I adore my ‘old’ friends. We have a shared history, we know everything about each other and we’ve been through so much together but in many ways, those friendships are too comfortable and even perfunctory at times. New friendships are exciting. You get to learn about someone from scratch and tell all your boring old stories to inquisitive new ears.
As a journalist with an enquiring mind (read: nosey person), I love spending hours with my new friends, quizzing them about everything from what they were like at school and what they worry about to what their middle name and even favourite colour is (only kidding, I’m way more sophisticated than that. But blue).
There’s no peer pressure or trying to fit in. You’ve just met someone who you think is really great and funny and interesting and they like you back and it feels so easy. True, not enough time has passed yet for the novelty value to wear off or for you to get sick of their quirks but I’ll worry about that later. Or I’ll just keep finding new friends.
We’re all busy and stressed and tired (did I mention I’m tired?) which means that more and more, our time is valuable. So if you’re going to add someone new now, they better be worth it. And happily for me, they are.
Get involved: pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to for a while, you never know what you might discover, then join the coversation on twitter with the hashtag #PHONEYOURFRIENDS.