Some say that the two hardest parts of a friendship are the hello and the goodbye. Most people understand that ending friendships can be negative, so shouldn’t ‘hello’ moments be the opposite of that?
Not necessarily. I used to dread the ‘hello’ moments back in high school. Of course, I yearned to make friends. In fact, I envied people who could establish friendships so easily. And even though the thought of making more friendships seemed like a pretty good idea, it always felt less than natural to me.
Here I make a paradoxical statement: despite feeling uncomfortable making friends, I did have friends in high school. In fact, I had awesome friends. It has now been another four years since then. I still feel anxious with the ‘hello’ moments, but I’ve realized that many of my buddies consider me to be rather extroverted. Did something change in my personality that I wasn’t acknowledging? Why is it that I feel awkward meeting new people, even though I have a strong desire to make new friends?
I pondered this a lot during winter vacation, while I was eagerly trying to reconnect with a few old friends. Will always encouraged me to hang with old buddies from the City, but it’s only been now that I realized how important it was. He thought it was a little out-of-place that I wasn’t maintaining my relationships, if even a few. I wanted to. I had the desire. But I was afraid of the method. And to be honest, I’m still afraid. I’m afraid of people being bitter. I am afraid of people being judgmental. I’m afraid of having been forgotten. Losing contact with friendships had a snowball effect on me. The less I contacted people, the less I felt entitled to, the more awkward I felt about the whole situation, the more I ignored entertaining the possibility.
This vacation though, was a fantastic reminder that there are people who want to have pho with you, Facebook chat and visit your place!
They think of you, and not with malice. They miss you, and they’re just waiting for a chance to jump back into your life! It sounds super cheesy. Mint, maybe you’ll ask, it can’t be true all the time though! I admit that this is true. The proportion of people who are accessible to meeting up with you may be in the minority. But that’s better than believing that your all old friends have forgotten about you completely. I say, it’s worth the initial ‘hello’.
I hope sharing my experience will motivate you guys to sum up the courage to contact an old buddy. To sum, here are a few simple truths I discovered while trying to make friends:
- 1. Sometimes friends have the same reasons for not contacting you as you do! That is, they may have all the insecurities as you do. Or, they may be terribly busy.
- 2. It’s never to late to get some closure. I am the biggest hypocrite, but I have to say this is true. It’s terrifying to make friends after a big fight. Some friendships are never the same, and regrettably so. If you’ve ever caught up with a friend, even if you still feel bitter, there is obviously greater worries involved. This takes true courage. But I think even just the intention is commendable.
- 3. They’re willing to support you after a single meeting. This is a biggie for two reasons. One, social media is allowing people to reconnect across geographic places. But also, B) sometimes even one meeting a year (the best some people can muster out of their hectic schedules) is enough to maintain a friendship. And it only takes one meeting.
- 4. The uncomfortable ‘hello’ is only temporary. We all have walls. Some people’s walls are considerably higher than others. But it’s worth the give and take.
- 5. A few close friends is enough. The society I’ve grown up in has praised extroverts over introverts. But whether you consider yourself great at making friends and have a lot of friends (good for you! 🙂 ) or feel comfortable with just a few, it’s all good. We all have to learn to separate society’s often stereotypical preferences and standards from our own.
- 6. If it’s not happening, hey, you tried! I tend to beat myself up if someone ignores my requests. But sometimes it just doesn’t workout. It’s okay, you should be proud of yourself for trying anyways.
- 7. Keep your door open. I’ve been trying to work on this aspect as well. Cornell’s a big place, so I don’t see some friends often if I don’t have classes with them. There are a few awesome, well-meaning people who always ask if we can hang. I haven’t been great in taking up their offers. Reaching out to people isn’t the only way to get people back into your lives. Sometimes you just have to be punctual to requests!
All right, that’s it for today. 🙂 Rekindling friendships is a difficult issue for many of us, but it is possible.