What would you do if you wanted to make a new friend? How would you go about it?
I was sitting with one of my girlfriends, at the bar of a rather nice quiet restaurant, celebrating her birthday a few weeks ago. The prep chef was doing her work behind the bar, creating hors-d’oeuvres and salads, it was an open concept kind of place.
My girlfriend, the adventurous type and never afraid to talk to anyone, began chatting with the chef. After a few moments I asked the chef,
“How long have you lived in Victoria?”
“Two months,” she said. “And you know it is really hard to make friends with women here.”
“I know,” I said, “I’ve been here for 5 years and don’t really have anyone I am close to or see on a regular basis."
And so the conversation began.
As I listened to her tell her story about moving to a new province and city and trying to create a life for herself I was reminded of the conversation I had had with my son just a few weeks prior. We too had been speaking about making friends as he was in his semester abroad in Japan. He was sharing what an amazing experience he was having and how many people he was meeting. He was so busy he hardly had time to Facetime with me anymore!
I told him that I have had a few clients come to coaching saying they had no friends, life was lonely and they didn’t want to be lonely anymore. So I asked him how he was doing it, what was his secret.
“Confidence is a big one, he said. “ I’ve been watching other people and you have to not only have confidence but show it by not walking around with your head down or shoulders slumped, you can’t come across as meek. You can’t be afraid to try, can’t be afraid of rejection.”
“You mean you have to be vulnerable?” I asked.
“Yeah that’s part of it,’ he said. “You can’t be afraid to have awkward conversations, you’ve got to able to move past them. “
His words were echoing through my head as I spoke to this woman at the restaurant.
I didn’t do anything that night but I kept thinking about her all week, what she had said about making friends and what my son had said.
I remembered one of my personal goals for 2017 was to make a new friend in Victoria, I was telling clients about being vulnerable in their lives and I knew that if I wanted to break my pattern and make a difference in not only my life but someone else’s that I was going to have to get out of my comfort zone.
Two weeks later I was back in the restaurant again with my partner. The prep chef from my previous visit was sitting at the bar having just finished her shift. I went to say hello and introduced her to my partner. After 15 minutes of conversation and learning more about her, her ride arrived. I thought to myself, it’s now or never girl, step out of your comfort zone. So just before she left I pulled out my business card and said,” give me a call if you’d like to get together for coffee some time.”
You should have seen the look on her face. Her eyes lit up and she produced a huge smile, she actually gave me a hug.
She reached out to me by text later that evening and we step up a coffee date for the next week. That was two months ago.
We have gotten together several times since then and even though there is a 24 year difference in our ages we’ve created a good connection. So far it’s been a lot of laughs, sharing of stories and hugs, I think she’s pretty awesome.
I hold the belief that we have 3 different types of friendships in our lives. People show up for either a reason, a season or a lifetime. Each have their own value. So far I do not know what this new relationship will be, only time will tell.
To be honest I viewed the entire process as a bit of an experiment, I wanted to see what would happen if I took a chance, if I crossed my own line of letting someone new into my inner circle, if I trusted enough to be vulnerable.
Courage, communication and connection are the cornerstones to my coaching business and what I help others find.
In this instance I found my courage by reaching out to this woman and giving her my phone number and email, the 4 hour coffee/lunch date was a great example of communication and because of these two things we created connection with our listening and curiosity of one another. I was on an oxytocin high for 3 days after we got together and learned more about each other.
If you are finding a hole in your life where a friendship could fill the gap think about how you are showing up in your life and consider that in order to make a friend it will take effort on your part.
- Courage - step out of your comfort zone and take a risk, be vulnerable. Be the first to reach out.
- Confidence - hold your head up, make eye contact, believe you are worthy of being someone’s friend.
- Curiosity - be curious enough to ask questions of people that help you to learn more about them and be vulnerable enough to share more than just the basic facts of who you are.
- Acceptance - accept the fact that you will get rejected or the first one or two you reach out to may not be the right one for you, you keep trying when you are in the dating world, keep trying when making a new friend too.