i’ll be honest, i feel kind of weird posting about a lesson i’ve learned in my 20s when i’m only really two years into them, but amy and lindsay are two of my favorite people and they’re hosting this linkup so there’s that.
when i was 21, i read a book that has shaped a lot of how i (try to) approach friendships right now. i read it on annie‘s recommendation (most of what i read is honestly on annie’s recommendation) and i absolutely loved it.
i don’t usually swear by much, but i do swear by MWF Seeking BFF. rachel bertsche’s book is based on her personal experiences trying to build friendships in a new city, supplemented by her research along the way. and it’s fabulous. so read it.
when i read this book, i was a senior in college. i hadn’t made a lot of friends my first two years there and i was too busy working and going to school to get together with the ones i had left. it sucked. and i was tired of it.
and one of the major things i learned from reading this book was that friendship is an intentional thing. rachel makes it intentional by going on one “friend-date” a week, which is far too crazy for me personally because of how introverted i am. but the principle is the same. rachel puts herself out there to find friends. my problem wasn’t entirely that i didn’t have friends close by – i did – but that i wasn’t really recognizing them.
so what i have tried to do, since then, is be really intentional about the friends i do have. (and i’m totally still learning the art of this. i’m good at it some days and weeks and some days and weeks it’s like i live in the dark ages and am illiterate. except i still manage to update this blog and tweet so i’m not quite sure how well that analogy works. hmm.)
i try to text friends and ask how they’re doing. i try to plan get-togethers with the friends i do have nearby. (this has gotten harder since i moved back home, so now almost every single one of my friends lives forty-plus minutes away from me – and those are the ones who live nearby, which is to say, in the same state as me.) when i go back to GR, i make a point of telling friends there that i’ll be there and that i want to see them. it’s not easy, but i cherish my friendships and i want them to be strong when i need them to be. and that means putting the work in when it’s easier not to just because i’m not thinking of it because so many other things are going on.
i put friendships on the back burner all through college, and i regret that. i was busy, yes, but i could’ve made more of an effort to build strong friendships with more people, especially my first year, and i don’t want to make that mistake as i keep growing through my 20s.