For some people, meeting new people is exciting and easy. For people like me, its much more difficult. I’m a self-conscious introvert.
Have you ever stopped to think about how your friendships started? Sometimes its really easy to build friendships as you meet people through mutual acquaintances or based around social activities/events like work, a sporting team or kids being in the same class. These friendships build gradually over time and you never really have to “put yourself on the line”. You click and the friendship just happens.
When I think about my friendships, the majority have happened this way. It’s the safe way. There are a small number though that were very ‘risky’ at first. I had to take a chance on them and they had to take a chance on me. In one particular friendship of mine, at the beginning we both put ourselves out on a limb. It was very scary for me, and I’m pretty sure she would have felt the same way (cause I’m really scary!).
Back in the day when I was 20, newly married and had no kids, there was a lady at my church I didn’t know very well who had recently had her first baby, so I decided to drop around a birthday or new baby present for her (can’t remember which!). To this day, I remember how nervous I felt knocking on her door. I prayed it wouldn’t be awkward. [My risk]
She invited me in… *potential awkward* [Her risk]
At the time I was a uni student and
being the teacher she was she invited me to come around to use her laptop to do my assignments so that I could focus and not get distracted. [Her risk]
I accepted *potential awkward* [My risk]
Here we were, barely knowing each other, but diving into a relationship. A bit scary. At each moment, there was the possibility of rejection. There was also the possibility the other person wouldn’t be as we hoped or expected and we would get hurt.
What happened? We hit it off! (oh, and I finished my uni assignments!)
From the outside, it may appear an unlikely friendship. She is a few years older than me, was in the next ‘stage of life’ (a mum, whilst I had no plans for kids at that stage),
a teacher, taught at my high school WHILST I was a student (though thank goodness not a teacher of mine) and she has different interests (This gorgeous girl had fish, cats AND dogs, and was even fostering animals! Me? I had a dream of tadpoles & frogs for my backyard).
Years down the track, through various life changes for both of us, we are still friends. I think back to how easily though I could have missed out on this wonderful friendship, and those other friendships that have started in a similar way.
It’s scary to have that first conversation, or make that followup first phonecall… to invite them out for a coffee date or over for a playdate with the kids, when it could be filled with awkward silence or a complete differing opinion. But you never know what might be unless you try. You may not necessarily become best friends, or even friends at all… but you might just brighten their day by showing interest in them, by loving them and taking the time out to tell them that they matter. How wonderful is that?!
Even knowing all this, I still find it difficult to make the first step. When walking into a room filled with people, not knowing anybody…a room filled with faces… walking up and sitting beside someone, pausing, feeling awkward, but smiling and saying, “Hi, I’m Hayley”…
You may be rejected (or maybe just at first), it might be awkward, they may even think you’re weird… but it might just be the start of something wonderful for one or both of you.
I should know, thats how I met my husband…