make new friends, but keep the old.

Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find. ~ Shakespeare

During childhood, friendships are often dependent on proximity.  (Especially for those of us who remember life before cell phones, the internet and social media.)   I made friends at school and dance class, through my involvement with sports and music, and by living in an amazing neighborhood that was filled with great people.  Relationships developed naturally and easily through these shared activities and by inhabiting the same general space.  It was easy.  There was always someone to have lunch with and to hang out with on a Friday night.  The older I get, the more I appreciate my years on Ventura Circle and my time in the sweet town of Fredonia.  (Sidenote: I came across this article this week…so perfect: 24 Reasons Childhood Friends are the Best Friends)

I’m grateful for the place I came from, especially the people who helped shape me and taught me the value of love, care, community and the privilege of being known in the fullest sense.  There’s something comforting about people who know your past and where you come from, how you got to where you are and how the journey has changed you.

Since Ben joined the Navy, we’ve found ourselves in unfamiliar territory.  And it’s been a challenge for this introverted girl to establish the sense of community I had prior to military life.  It took some time for Pensacola to feel like home, but eventually, we made some good friends there.  And then it was time to move again.  Cue Oklahoma.

I’ve had to be very proactive in community building here in OKC.  As one of the few transplants to this area – and a rare damn yankee – I’ve come to see that if you aren’t from the area, didn’t go to school at OU or OSU, and/or don’t have family in the area, you have your work cut out for you.  It’s not a bad thing that relationships require more effort…I guess I’m just accustomed to friendships developing a little more naturally.  The balance of letting things happen versus making things happen has been a challenge to navigate.

And in classic Kristen fashion, there are moments I’m totally over-thinking things.  Totally.  It’s like dating…but worse.  Do I call/text/email?  How soon is too soon to follow up?  What are good conversation topics – and what’s too deep too soon?  How do you say “hey, I think you’re cool…let’s hang out” without sounding weird/desperate?  If people already lead super busy lives, is it worth trying to squeeze your way in?  Are get-togethers quid pro quo?  So many questions.

We’ve been in Oklahoma for over a year now.  I don’t want to feel like a stranger here anymore.  Like I shared a few weeks ago, I’ve had a hard time nurturing new relationships because life has been hard.  I somehow convinced myself that I had to be polished and poised and perfect to be worthy of love, care, and community.  But the moments we need people the most is when we’re not these things.

I’ve met some good people here, and I’m thankful for their presence in my life.  We might not know everything about each other, talk in sync, or telepathically read each other’s minds yet, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

“There’s not a word yet, for old friends who just met.” ~ Jim Henson

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “make new friends, but keep the old.

  1. I had the hardest time making friends here more than anywhere else, which really surprised me considering we’re in the Bible Belt and OK is kind of known for being a friendly state (I think?). It does seem like you are very limited. In my school unless you were a cheerleader or involved in sports, you were considered pretty useless. And then yes, you go on to OU or OSU, get married, have kids, and the cycle repeats itself. There’s not a whole lot of room for different.
    I’m so thrilled to have met another “outsider,” you have such a sweet spirit and you can call/text/email anytime! 😀

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