I have made ‘new friends’ lately, who I met through Instagram, and realised that this is unusual, to make new close friendships later in life, so thought I’d ponder on this and share my thoughts.
As I am sure most people do, I have friends who are close in different ways, different levels, and also have become friends via various avenues. I don’t make deep, sincere friendships easily, and most of my close friends are years in the making.
I am not a ‘life of the party’ girl, who seems to be ‘friends’ with everyone – if you are my ‘friend’ then you have been through ‘life’ with me, from school, work, business, hobbies or common interests.
For example, I’ll single out Joanne – we met over 20 years ago when I started working for her in Bundy………we then moved to Brisbane but regularly returned to Bundy and had Saturday nights with her and her family. Several years later they moved to Brisbane and the friendship continued to grow. Joanne and I then started our SuJo Designs/Beauje business together for 14 plus years…..and now continue to be each other’s confidante and support. So, a friendship that started via work, into a hobby, that developed into a business, and continues today.
As a child of course ‘friends’ were at school, or family, however that does not always lead into life-long friendships, as you mature and go your separate paths in life, your values, and personalities change, and that doesn’t always stay true to school friendships. I know that my ‘best friends’ from school faded from my life in my early 20’s, which is sad but I’m sure not unusual.
My other friendships have developed through work, as you spend so much time at work, its not surprising that you share your life outside of work and become close during those 8 hour days. I have numerous ‘work colleagues’ who I consider my family.
Anthony always says ‘he has enough friends, he’ll let you know if he starts taking applications again’ and whilst I always laugh at this, it is true. As I age, I feel that I have my friends, those who I know are interested in my life, and of course vice versa, who I can go to if I have a question, or need help, and that’s more than enough.
With social media permeating life in general, of which I enjoy being part of, you often have ‘friends’ that aren’t ‘physical’ friends, so you think maybe they aren’t real – as everyone puts forward their ‘best self’. About 12 months ago one of these lovely ‘IG friends’ created a group about fashion and food on Instagram to encourage chats and physical catchups…….and hence some new friendships have been formed ‘in real life’.
I’ll admit the first ‘IG friends’ catchup for lunch with four of this group was very daunting for me, we had chatted for ages, followed, liked and commented on each other posts, but to actually physically sit and chat with basically complete strangers was tough, for me anyway, – as I’m not the confident, social butterfly, who can chat with anyone. Anthony had encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, and I ‘liked’ these ladies on Insta, so thought why not, and am so very glad I did.
Six of us have now been on a girls week-end away to Noosa. This was another adventure and ended up being such an enjoyable weekend. I had only ever ‘travelled’ with a few close girlfriends or Anthony, so again to go away with new friends, it was a tad daunting – would we all get along, would there be any difficulties – but no, from us being easy about who got the bedrooms, or the sofa beds, what we did, where we went – all of us were just happy to ‘go with the flow’ – it truly was an enjoyable experience. I think all of us being in our 50’s, all having an interest in fashion and food, just made the conversation easy and flow – we all showed interest in each other, spending time with each other, and basically getting to know each other.
We have now had another lunch catchup, and it is just ‘easy’ – they are all friends now – no more anxiousness about what they will think of me, or why would they want to be my friend – yes even at 54 years of age I can have those thoughts.
So, I encourage you to be open to making new friends, if they present themselves and you like them – because really at my age I don’t have to ‘like’ everyone I meet, and they don’t have to ‘like’ me, but I am so glad that I opened myself up and now call these ladies my friends.