Have you ever noticed how easy it is for children to make friends? Why does the process of making friends get harder as we grow up? Let’s explore this topic…
The weather started shifting last month. The cooler temps and constant sunshine were like beaming invitations for our family to get out and enjoy the fresh air. We typically take a walk every morning, but during the summer it was just too hot to be out in the afternoon (I am still accustomed to the Pacific Northwest weather).
Our September and October routine began to include daily playground visits. It didn’t take long for us to notice how easily our boys are able make friends with other children. It seems so simple for them. They see a kid, say hello, and introduce themselves. If the other kid reciprocates, BOOM they are friends! They spend the next hour playing, chatting, and getting along. It really made me wonder, why do we complicate this process as adults?
Barriers To Making Friends
As adults, we tend to have many more friendship requirements. We can be too judgmental and get easily offended. This makes the friend-making process so much more complicated. One of my dearest long-time friends has always referred to her acquaintances as “friends.” From her mail man to the woman who does her nails and the barista at her local coffee shop. She may not see them outside of their work environments, but she considers them friends, and has some level of personal connection with them all.
This was a trait I admired in her. When I became a new mom and decided not to return to work full time, I found myself craving adult interaction. It didn’t take long before I started making similar connections with people in my day-to-day life. I got to know more of my neighbors, local grocery store employees, and generally anyone I saw on a regular basis.
Put Yourself Out There
Then, we left the Pacific Northwest and moved to Utah. The move, followed by a tragic loss in 2019, and I found myself retreating inward more than ever. In the spring of 2020, the boys and I started taking regular morning walks. We started making those connections again. We started meeting our “walk friends” as the boys and I lovingly called them. I began reaching out to old friends I hadn’t talked to in a while. But admittedly, I remained guarded for most of that year. Most of my connections with the outside world were through social media.
Ultimately, I missed those real-life connections with people. I have realized the paramount importance of making friends and building relationships. Making connections with other humans (and animals) is vital to our happiness. I think many people have had similar feelings during the pandemic. So, I urge you to strike up conversations with the people you meet in your everyday life. Get to know them. You may have more in common than you thought… and you just might make a new friend!