When I was on my full-fledged BFF search, going on 52 dates in 52 weeks, people often asked me if I’d call off the hounds if I found The One. There were a few times when I considered it. I’d meet someone so fantastic and wonderful that I’d want to give up on everyone else and just dedicate all my time to that budding friendship.
And then I’d learn that she planned on moving.
Longtime readers of this blog know that when it comes to friends I believe in quality and quantity. Having one great friend is awesome and certainly a bajillion times better than none, but I wanted a handful.
Greedy? Maybe. But people move. Or they have babies and are suddenly less available. I really wanted a friendship safety net.
My major year of dating was in 2010. I made a good amount of buddies during those 12 months, and in the 10 months since, I’ve made another, maybe, five friends. My calendar is blessedly full.
So the question is: Does the time ever come to stop looking?
For me, the answer is no. I’ve trained myself to be a people-meeter. (I truly believe this. Being friendly and meeting new people is something I was once kind of bad at, and now I rock. Sorry, but I do. If you think you’re bad at being outgoing and talking to strangers, just force yourself to do it. Soon it’ll become second nature. I promise.) There might still be a lady soul mate out there for me.
But here’s a line that comes up a lot: I don’t have time for new friends.
Or: I have too many friends as it is.
Or: So, are you done yet?
As if I’m cooking a meatloaf rather than establishing lifelong connections, here.
I get it. Time is precious and people want to use it on their already existing friends. But it would seem so odd to me, at this point, to just be like “Enough! I deem the search over! Class dismissed!”
Have I shared here the story of the British journalist who met a guy with a one-in-one-out friend policy? He maintained only six friends at a time, and one day sent the journalist a note saying he had an opening. Would she be interested in being his friend?
In hopes of never becoming that British twit, I’ll keep looking, dating, and hanging with my new pals. Viva la amigos! But I’m wondering, have you ever consciously decided to stop looking for new friends? Ever decided your dance card was full?
13 responses to “Do You Ever Stop Looking?”
Question…regarding meeting and making many friends.
Do you end up merging into a group of friends vs. just spending time together solor or do you end up hanging out with that person’s group of friends?
I have always wanted a close group of girlfriends. The kind that go on celebration trips together, get the group toghether for pedi’s or lunch, but that seems difficult if you aren’t in a close group.
Oh…I would also love to know your advice re this. I’ve met quite a few new fledgling friends over the past year and I keep trying to get them together….basically, what I really what is to engineer a ‘Friends’/ ‘How I Met Your Mother’ style group to hang out with! Sometimes trying to get these people together does not work well in terms of moving my friendships forward, so I am starting to think that more one on one outings are the way to go.
This is exactly what I wanted! I wanted the Sex and the City gang, or the group from Friends, just as the commenter says below. For me it went both ways. Some friends I still just think of as solo friends. We meet for dinner or drinks, but usually just the two of us. Then there are friends I met through book club. I wouldn’t say we are a How I Met Your Mother-style gang, but we love getting together as a group for book club. And every now and then we gather outside of book club,
But one of my most successful ventures in group-forming came when I formed my cooking club. I got that group together because I felt like I had to many one-off friendships. It was so time consuming to keep up with everyone! So I invited a group of girls, all of whom I knew were looking for new pals, over my house for a pizza-making party. A year and a half later, we still meet every month and all the girls have become good friends. We’re like a group of friends ourselves! Planning Friday night drinks or Sunday morning brunches. It’s the best.
With another friend, we got along so well that she invited me out with her other friends. Now I feel like I’m sort of a part of the group, but I’m like the extra. The core four are still super close. So I’ve found it’s hard to infiltrate an already existing group. I’ll admit at times I feel insecure, like the “extra.”
I trained myself to be more friendly and outgoing too! It happened when I moved to Chicago – not so much because I needed to meet people, but because I wasn’t around anyone who had always known me as shy and quiet for my entire life. But really, once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to just put yourself out there.
And like you, I’m always on the look out for fun new people to hang out with. I can’t imagine consciously saying I don’t want to meet anyone new anymore. Now that all of my friends are having babies and moving to the suburbs, I’d love to know a few more gals in the city.
These days I try to expand my friends list by taking time to get to know the people in my casual circle better and perhaps move them into the close friends group. Rather than starting with a brand new person. But then there is more room in the casual friends group. Never close that door completely, you never know what tomorrow may bring if you are open to it.
Sometimes, when I’m really overwhelmed (and it doesn’t take much, socially: I’m an introvert), I think about making a list of my friends and seeing who I see the most and loving spending time with the most and think, “maybe I should focus on those friendships.” But that just somehow doesn’t seem right (it feels a little British-twit-like).
I don’t think this is British-twit like at all. It’s not like you’re saying to the person: “Sorry, we can’t hang out because you fell too low on my list.” That would be twitesque, maybe. But you’re just figuring out what’s best for you. If the way you do that is to make a list, I say go for it.
I am lucky enough to currently have enough close friends to keep my schedule full. I don’t have time to pursue new friendships. However if someone else pursued me as a friend I would not turn them down and I would even reciprocate. It takes more time and energy to be the one on the lookout.
I find it difficult to keep up with everyone all the time. I do prefer social group outings or dinner gatherings to get everyone together. I have my church friends that enjoy dinner and game night group; my best friends which we gather for a shopping outing, a pedi, dinner or cookout, or maybe going to a sporting event or outdoor adventure; my teachers’ social night group; Bible Study friends group; and then the one-on-one friends where our kid’s playdate sets the scene for us to just hang out and relax while the kids play. There are a few friends I have that don’t fit in any of these categories and we might meet for coffee occasionally or just chat on the telephone to keep in touch.
Then there is just enough time in the month for the me alone date to read a good book, write in my journal or listen to music.
I forgot to add, I never stop looking for more friends. I enjoy meeting people all the time and invite new acquaintances to join in an existing group that I belong to and they might have a mutual interest in.
Hi, my friend Marcia (from 123 blog) has been sending me links off this blog for ages and although I read them I just haven’t gotten around to actually visiting your blog. Well, today I spent many, many hours going through your posts and there is just soooo much insight. I LOVE it!
I can’t wait to read your book (I’m in South Africa) and I have added you to my reader.
I do struggle with friends/friendships – particularly girl friendships and I will definitely never stop looking. I like group meet-ups but I do prefer one-on-one meetings where there is more “intimacy” and deep connection.
And with regard to an earlier post where you refer to bromances and allude to the “sistahmance”…in South Africa they use a term called the “Vraumance”. I think that is certainly a better term than sistahmance.
Thanks for reading Julia! (And thanks to Marcia, too, for passing it along!) I like the term Vraumance, it sounds very fancy. A friend of mine once said “shelationship” and I think that’s not bad either…
I love that you characterize meeting people as a learned behavior. I trick myself into thinking that being naturally introverted means I won’t be good in a certain social situation. After reading your blog for so long, I should know by now that’s not an excuse…