Since moving to Australia over two years ago I have met many new faces. At one point, about the 6 month mark of arriving on these shores, I was lost in a whirl pool of unknown faces. I knew a lot of people by name but knew nothing of them and they knew nothing of me. I must confess, I am someone who is all or nothing. I don’t cope well when I don’t feel like I know people and they don’t know me. I need pretty deep & meaningful connections to feel satisfied in my personal relations but the reality is – connections can take a long time to catch light and blaze in all their glory.
The trouble with the expat world is that people come and go with alarming speed out of your world. It is easy to meet people, but difficult and time-consuming to make real connections with people. It takes time, lots of time! When you do strike it lucky and make a connection it can feel disheartening to lose that person.
A lot of these two years I have spent reflecting what it means to be a friend. When you are actively trying to make some new friends you can’t help but reflect how to actually attract friendship into your life. It’s a complicated business once you are all grown up!
After having a huge, almost ridiculous social circle in Australia (all my own doing for being far too sociable!) in the first instance I have pulled back a lot, plus I’ve been pushed and pulled in all directions by varying forces. It was emotionally reassuring to know I had the ability to draw in the crowds but in reality it wasn’t working out for me. I am someone who would much rather have just a handful of very close, intimates to feel safe and warm in their love and acceptance – truly bliss. I usually feel rather lost and lonely in a huge crowd of chattering strangers.
So I sat down one day and decided it was time to really consider what a good friend would mean to me and then I could concentrate in getting more of these people into my world. I had to try and figure out who actually wanted to be my friend- No easy task! I figured, at least if I know what is important to me I won’t be hurt any more by people with completely polar opposite friendship values. Bonus. Everyone’s a winner!
My Wish List…
- Understanding and Compassionate – they won’t freeze you out because you have turned down a handful of invites. They understand that your life ebbs and flows. Sometimes life goes crazy for a spell and you simply can’t help or join in. Sometimes you need to opt out due to health or emotional problems. This freezing out game is alive and kicking – it has happened to me quite a lot!
- They don’t hold grudges. They don’t expect to live in your pocket.
- They are trustworthy – they keep their gobs shut about your personal business.
- They are happy, positive people. The less jealously and insecurities they cart around in their hearts the better all round for relationships!
- They want to laugh – a lot. If you are foolish they won’t judge or scorn. In fact they love the silliness! If you can’t laugh until you cry with your friends then something has went very horribly wrong, you might aswell pack up your suitcase and move on!
- They are real people. They are open, warts and all. They don’t try to tell me how ‘perfect’ their life is. Who are they trying to kid? We are all people, with flaws. Mrs Fake just won’t cut it.
- They protect you. They have your back. They look out for you.
- They appreciate you have your own path to walk. They encourage your dreams. They ultimately want you to be content and happy in your own life.
Phew quite the list! But why not seek out relationships that make you feel happy? Surely life is far too short to spend it in the company of people who quite frankly leave you feeling a little cold inside? Friendship is not often discussed at great length but it interests me greatly. We have the power to choose our friends when we are grown ups. What a revelation – how wonderful to have this choice!
I have made some excellent choices and some terrible, rotten choices. I live and learn. That’s life. Some folks are awfully good at first impressions. It takes a long time to grow a friend, but believe me, it is worth the wait…
Please share with me what you look for in friendships? What’s important to you? What does friend mean to you?