As I shared in my last post, I have saved letters almost all my life. I even stashed away letters from old boyfriends. (Don’t worry. My husband’s ego is seriously unshakeable. He has no worries what-so-ever!) Until I recently went through that old box, I had totally forgotten that I had saved so many lovely letters!
I smiled as I read some of the notes from my little sweethearts. Exactly none of the guys are in my life anymore. So, rereading their words was significantly less awkward than it would have been if we had remained friends.
In fact, these letters were sooo sweet! The innocence and timidity of their words were simply charming! And almost every letter ended with a question. “Will you go to the movie with me?” “Will you write me back?” And the boldest ones posed the biggest question, “Will you be my girlfriend?” “Yes Or No?”
Those were the simple days. Friendships were so much easier then too. Our friends were in our homeroom or rode our bus. We bonded over having the same backpacks or liking the same music. We were solid and consistent because every day looked the same. Every day the bell rang and we sat in the same places, at the same tables.
Some people still enjoy their first friends daily. Their class bells sound differently now, but they are in the same towns. They ride the same roads. They sit at the same restaurants and cheer on the same teams.
But for the rest of us, friendship is not on autopilot. Friendship takes effort and intention in every way.
As an army spouse, I see and experience the friendship shift every two to three years. Nothing stays the same for us. With every move, we wonder if we will keep the bonds we forged or will there be attrition. We face our new homes with hope and apprehension.
Sure, we have forever friends, and I would be a mess without my forever friends! But we can’t write our forever friends in as emergency contacts when they are multiple states away. We need local friends. Friendship is as much a need as the air we breathe. It is life giving! There is something vital to having a real live friend to share a meal and a laugh with!
New in town, we do all we can to get out there. The extroverts link up quickly. I loosely mingle with all the introverts hoping to stumble into a conversation meaningful enough to make an effort a second time. Then, in many ways, we introverts are more like the brave adolescent boys who wrote those courageous questions at the bottom of their notes and we finally say, “Hey, want to get coffee on Tuesday?”
Not every coffee I’ve shared with a newbie turned into a BFF situation, but I have never, not even once, regretted gaining a new friendly acquaintance. Everyone has something special about them!
If you find yourself in that new town with new people and you need to find your tribe let me encourage you to go for it! Get out there! Don’t wait for friendship to magically happen. Show up to all the places you want to go and do all the things you would do if you had a bestie by your side. You just might find one there!
But you tell me. I want to hear from you! Have you ever been the newbie in town? Have you ever had to start over? I know my army spouse friends know what this is like. How do you find your tribe, your people, your circle?
“Don’t leave your friends or your parents’ friends and run home to your family when things get rough; Better a nearby friend than a distant family.”
-Proverbs 27:10 (The Message)