By Dawn Onley
All through life I’ve had a tight crew of friends. Ones I could count on one hand.
Most of my tried and true are women, although I have a few great guy friends, and most of us share a college, workplace, family, hometown, or similar upbringing in common. I’m sociable and friendly, the type of person who stops to chat with people at a party, still, when it comes down to the people I call to vent, to hang out, or to share life’s blissful moments with, I’m selective.
I’ve always thought it best this way. I never wanted a lot of friends.
Now I do.
I want to learn about things that are beyond my daily circumference. I want an even greater diversity of opinion. I want to add to my trusted group people who took bold moves so they could live the lives they dreamed for themselves. There are friends out there just waiting to be discovered.
Someone has insight on a career path that could benefit someone they don’t even know. Someone has a perspective that I haven’t even considered. I might be the person who gives someone I haven’t met yet, hope. I may be the one who answers another’s enigma. I may hold a valuable piece of knowledge that could make a difference in someone’s life.
How would I know if I never went beyond my circle? If I never opened myself up to the possibilities?
Life is about relationships. It’s about the back and forth exchange of ideas and discoveries. It’s a quest for community, to be understood, to belong, to be loved. If we close ourselves off from relationships, we limit the fullness that these relationships can bring to our lives. We limit the growth that new relationships can bring.
It’s a big, lonely world at times. We need as much support meandering it as possible.
Outside of the family members who want to see us succeed, who’s invested in our wellbeing as much as a friend? Just as our families continue to grow, why would we then limit our friendships? There are plenty of good people out there, just like you and I. Are we meeting them?
Connecting with friends the way I always have, along similar paths, is a beautiful thing. Opening myself up to new voices and experiences will keep me growing. It’s what makes the world a much smaller, interconnected place.
Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold. Those Girl Scouts may have been on to something all along.