Friday, November 6, 2009

Wanna be my friend?

Remember when you were a kid, and the only qualification you had for finding friends was that they were:
  1. close to your age (i.e. younger than "grown ups" but older than one wants to play with stupid baby kids!)
  2. willing to play with you

Sure, it got a little more complicated when choosing a "BFF", but if you were looking for someone to play with, there were virtually no requirements, other than physical proximity. (This is especially true for boys, as playmates are often little more than a receiver for whatever ball is being thrown at the time).

But when it comes to making friends as an's a little bit trickier. There's no more play groups, no guaranteed bond of sharing a carpet square during story time. There are people you see day after day, but familiarity is no longer synonymous with "friend". Adults have their guards up. Screaming "TAG!" and hitting them on the back won't jumpstart a relationship. It's more complicated than that. It's a game of social intricacies now. Heaven forbid you look at another grown up and declare, "I like you. Wanna be my friend?" It's just not done.

The challenges of instigating mature friendships have become increasingly obvious to me since we moved to a new city, where we didn't knew a soul. Sure, we've been here two years, but that seems like a nano-second compared to people who were born and raised here and have roots in the area that go back generations (and trust me...there are a lot of these people in Pittsburgh). Or even compared to the transplants who may be just as new to the area as me, but seem to have established themselves more quickly or easily. I'm intimidated by these people, and envy their sense of belonging. To me they're real life's version of high school's "popular kids". They're going prepped for the tailgating party, and I'm still roaming the halls trying to find my math class.

It's not to say we don't have great friends here, because we do, but interactions with new people always renew that little insecure voice in my head: "Why would they want to hang out with little ol' me?" It's hard for me to throw out the first invite, for I fear of sting of rejection. Which is why I'm thankful when someone else is willing to take that risk, to step out and test the waters of friendship. Last Sunday at church we ran into a couple from our small group; a couple that Dustin and I have grown to like, but have been too shy to talk to about hanging out. We chatted for a few minutes before the conversation began to wind down into "Well, see you Tuesday" territory, when the girl spoke up- "Hey, would you guys ever want to go out to dinner or something?" Why yes indeed we would. Who knew it was that easy?

Tonight they're coming over to play some games. Because apparently "grown-up friendships" aren't that different after all.

1 comment :

  1. I've thought about this too since we've moved to Pittsburgh! It's so different when you're an adult! Though, I have thought about the, "hey, wanna be my friend?", but refrained.