We began forming friendships almost from birth. We’ve all seen a baby or small child respond to our smiles and hellos. It’s natural to want to be connected to someone and have friends. We start building those friendships from an early age. We have siblings, cousins, and neighborhood kids. Then we start school and our circle of friends widen. We began working and our circle of friends widen again.
Before you know it you are a multifaceted, well adjusted person. Most of us are anyways, there are some exceptions to the rule. But all in all, we all crave that connection. Maybe it’s a sort of validation, I’m not sure.
Sometimes the trouble starts with that very first friend, a brother or a sister. Before you start school, you are best buddies. You do everything together. Then you start school and widen your circle of friends. Then you discover that you are two different people with whole different likes and dislikes. Sometimes it takes years and years to make the circle to becoming the best of friends. Some people, sadly, never make this circle.
This happens not only with siblings, but all kinds of friends and family. You just grow and mature and discover that you don’t really have that much in common any more. Sometimes you are able to remain superficial friends, but that deep, heart to heart connection is lost.
It’s hard to make friends as you get older. As you age and meet new people, you bring along your past with you. All your fears and disappointments you pack in a bag and strap it to your back and bring it with you everywhere you go. But you are still looking for that connection, that validation.
That’s why it’s hard to change jobs when you’re older. The fear of the unknown. Getting out of your comfort zone. It would have been very easy for me to stay at my old job. It wasn’t a difficult job. But emotionally it was exhausting and belittling. But it was scary starting over somewhere new.
But these people at my new job are no different than people any where else. They want to like me, but they also wait for me to stumble. To let them down. I’ve been here long enough now for them to know that I am trust worthy and I will be here. I will pull my own weight and will help when needed.
But real, true friends, people who you can be 100% yourself and be at ease with, are rare. People who you don’t have to worry about what you say or hold back on your ideas and opinions, those kinds of friends are few and far between.
Occasionally someone will reach out to you for friendship. Later you will discover that you were just being used. This happened to me recently. I felt like I had made a personal connection with someone I met through my former place of employment. While working there we would sometimes chat about things outside of work. It seemed we had a lot of common interest.
So when I left there and came to where I am now, I was surprised to receive an email from this person suggesting we have lunch. I had been gone from my old job for about a month or maybe a little more.
When we met for lunch I was determined not to talk about my old job and just focus on developing a new friendship. I knew it was a lost cause when she said “I promised myself I wasn’t going to talk about this” and proceeded to do just that.
I’m human, it was nice to hear that the person that came after me made a complete mess of things. She asked and I did share the exact reason why I left there. She made me an offer in regards to my old job (not taking it back, but helping out until they found someone else) and then she proceeded to pay for lunch with her employer’s credit card.
I still believed this was a viable future friendship. I received an email telling me that she enjoyed the lunch. I replied that I did too. That was the last I heard from her. I guess she got the information she needed, made the offer she was authorized to make, and then went on her way.
So I’m back to my original circle of friends. It’s not a bad circle. I like my circle of friends.