Try it, you might like it
I’ve had about 30 years practice making friends and I think I’m getting quite good at it.
Growing up, I liked my friends but I always, quite self-consciously, felt like I was waiting for the real deal, my ‘peoples’; the ones we see in television series like Girls and Sex and the City who would just get me, support me and make me laugh. And thank goodness, I did.
I met my friends for life in the first weeks of university and settled into the comfortable ease of knowing that all my requirements were fulfilled, thank you very much. A brilliant mob of fiercely loyal, clever, interesting, funny fellow humans to go through life with. Sorted.
For the last decade or so my circle of friends has been made up of the following: my core group of Uni girls, then the WAGS (I’m using the term ironically, of course) – the wives and girlfriends of my husband’s core group of boys –, my ‘satellite’ friends, the random, unaffiliated old school friends, and others who I see on more of a one to one basis.
But – shock! Horror! – in the last two years, having never even considered the need for anyone else in my life (too fulfilled, too tired, too lazy), I’ve met someone new. A few someones actually. And I’ve realised that new friends are amazing.
The best thing about making new friends in your 30s is that you’re so much better than your childhood, adolescent and 20-something self. In my case, gone is the over-sensitive, slightly inhibited and under-confident me. In her place stands a much happier, more self-assured and assertive ‘grown up’ who knows exactly what she wants from her friendships and (humble brag) is a pretty good friend back to boot.
I adore my ‘old’ friends. We have a shared history, we know everything about each other and we’ve been through so much together but, in many ways, those friendships are too comfortable and even perfunctory at times. New friendships are exciting. You get to learn about someone from scratch and tell all your boring old stories to inquisitive new ears.
As a journalist with an enquiring mind, I love spending hours with my new friends, quizzing them about everything from what they were like at school and what they worry about to which fashion designer they think will design Meghan Markle’s wedding dress and their go-to holiday destinations for summer 2018.
There’s no peer pressure or trying to fit in. You’ve just met someone who you think is really great and funny and interesting and they like you back and it feels so easy. True, not enough time has passed yet for the novelty value to wear off or for you to get sick of their quirks but I’ll worry about that later. Or I’ll just keep finding new friends.
We’re all busy and stressed and tired which means that more and more, our time is valuable. So if you’re going to add someone new now, they better be worth it. And happily for me, they are.
This article originally appeared on elle.com