The Art of Friendship
Things have been going well lately. I’m happy to say I’m feeling much better and am back to my normal self again.
I recently finished a great book called MWF Seeking BFF. It’s written by Rachel Bertsche, and it chronicles the year she embarked on 52 friend dates in a search for a new best friend after a move to a new city. It’s a very entertaining read as she is very honest in sharing her thoughts of the people she meets as she puts herself out there to make new friends.
There are a lot of great quotes in the book about friendships and reaching out to new people, but this is one of the best ones I think. She writes, “We all think we’re living in a world of grouches, so we’re too self-conscious to be the overtly friendly one. A 2009 survey found that 75% of adults say Americans are becoming ruder and less civilized. I was part of that ¾ of the population when I moved to Chicago. I thought overtures of friendship would be received with suspicion rather than appreciation, so I hung back in fear of being the weirdo. Now I think I was wrong. It’s not that people are less civilized, it’s just that we think they are, and so we act accordingly. We don’t reach out to talk to new people because we assume they don’t want to be bothered. But as I continue to pursue friendships, I’m constantly surprised at how receptive people are.”
I read Rachel’s blog before I read her book. Her blog was always interesting to read too and she always writes with a good sense of humor. If you haven’t heard of her story I recommend reading some of her posts and reading her book too.
When I made an effort to make new friends as part of my project, I came to the same conclusions as Rachel. People were happy I reached out to them. One girl in my speech class even told me she was very grateful I had befriended her because she didn’t know if she could have gotten through that class without me. That was pretty touching and it made me very glad I chose to try and befriend her.
Like Rachel, I’m always open to new friends and even now I’ve been making an effort to meet new people. I recently made a few new friends at school who are really cool people, and afterward I was so happy I was skipping. It’s a great feeling when you’ve made some new friends. We often do think that the people around us aren’t open to a conversation or open to being friends, but the truth is just the opposite. Many people would be thrilled that you reached out to them, and would be happy to be friends. I know that when people start talking to me that I’m thrilled and happy to talk. So it’s good to keep that in mind the next time we think that someone won’t want to talk to us. The odds are that they would be flattered.