Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Making Friends

I'm connected to so many people.  And I feel like I always know who I could turn to for different problems or for advice on certain topics or whatever.

But I have to admit that I don't let many people get really close. 

I have so many friends who read my blog and they feel close to me because I share so much.  But this is just my platform, my space, my place to share.  I'm an open book- I live my life authentically and I share my life authentically as well. 

I've been part of great communities for the past few years- my church and an online mom community.  I've witnessed amazing things happen in each of these groups.  In some circumstances, I'm a participant.  Sometimes I'm a leader.  Sometimes I'm a bystander.

I've watched as friendships have grown between others.  I've been happy for friends as I see deeper relationships forming between these moms.  I've been eager to see how they support each other, lift each other up, laugh together.

First and foremost, Jeff is my very best friend.  He and I have gone through some intense emotional stuff that could easily tear us apart or drive a wedge between us.  But one of the things I really love about us is that when things are tough for one of us, the other responds with love.  Even if we don't know exactly what the right response is... we know how to be there for each other.

Christy is my main friend.  She's my best friend.  She knows me inside and out, I think.  As well as she can, I suppose.  She'll tell you that my greatest fault is this independent streak that can prevent me from asking for help or accepting help.  I've always "done it all myself" and it can be tough to stop doing that.  I'm great at getting others involved- but when it comes to handling my own stuff, I'm not so good at reaching out.  Christy can usually see through that pretty well.

I have some women I have become friends with online and through my church- like Nancy and Ashli and Lety and Satch and Stacy and Kirsten and Jennifer and Jill and Linda and Paulette and more.  These are women that I typically see from time to time, for special occassions, or just through church. 

I'm starting to realize more and more that I want deeper relationships.  Or... more relationships being built.  I want more women friends in my life.  I want a bigger social group.  I want a group of women I can laugh with and cry with and turn to and drink with and talk with at any time.  I feel like I have little pieces of what I want scattered in all these different places but there is some part of me that holds back and doesn't fully put myself out there to be a true friend or to seek true friendship. 

For the past 7 years, I've been ok with that.  Jeff and I had a large social group when we did theatre.  It would ebb and flow based on the current show or cast but there was a core group of people that we spent time with on a regular basis.  That core group has changed a bit and we aren't so much a part of it anymore.  I do get to see those people and always very much enjoy time with them from time to time. 

But having kids paused our involvement with theatre.  And our social lives.  And that makes it hard to stay connected to people who continue to be committed to theatre and their social lives.  And it's hard to maintain friendships with other moms when we all have busy schedules pulling us in opposite directions.

For 7 years, I've been content to stay focused on Jeff, the kids, and been immensely thankful for having Christy in my life.

But now I want more. 

I am realizing more and more that I need to be truly connected to others.  Not just have people connect to who they think I am because they read my blog.  I want you to know ME.  I want you to talk to me, laugh with me share your problems with me, connect with me. 

I'm grateful to have a great foundation already with some great women.  I'm excited about some changes that are happening in the upcoming weeks and months that I think will lend to the growth of real friendships for me.

I'm so blessed to have so many fantastic people that I really respect, admire, and like in my life.  But it's time to take it a step further. 

Because now I need my inner Sally Field to be satisfied.  I want to know and be reassured that "You like me! You really like me!" 



Call Me Cate said...

Well, I like you, I really like you!

Friendships are something I'd like to focus on next year. I have a lot of great online friends but no real local friends. Sure, I have a couple of slightly-stronger-than-acquaintances but nobody I feel like I can call in an emergency or really laugh and cry with. It's hard for me to let myself get that close to people in person.

I hope we both find what we're looking for in the new year.

Alison said...

I've had this problem for several years. Part of mine is because I've moved so much as an adult, and gotten used to not "putting myself out there." I always was a temporary resident. Also, being a liberal Yankee in the South, well...felt a little gun-shy. :)

Now that we're settled, I feel like I don't have time to volunteer, take classes or get involved in other activities with like-minded folk. I bet if I made it a priority, I could find the time. Still, it's a lot harder as an adult with work etc. to make new friends.

It's funny, I smiled when you said having kids put a damper on your social life--I know what you mean, but I've always felt that not having kids makes it harder to meet other people in the neighborhood. Kids share classes and meet in the street, and can bring parents together.

Shell said...

It's a huge step to take to want to expand your circle of friends. But, you can do it!

Mrs4444 said...

I think this is why, when I had the opportunity, I went to BlogHer Chicago; it gave me the chance to take many blogging relationships to the next level. I hope to go again, one day.