We’ve talked a bit about family, let’s talk a bit about friendships.
Friendships are going to be the basis of the new family you build. I have some very good, very close friends. It was not always that way. Building relationships and friendships is a key to your well-being and survival. I am far closer to my friends than I would have been, if had an easier family life.
Be choosy about whom you let in. You will have an urge to reach out and befriend many people, but keep a only small group of close friends at first, perhaps only one. Be choosy who you let all the way in. Most people don’t have the desire or need for close friends that you will – and they will either be pushed away by your emotional distress or they will take advantage of it.
When I lost my mom I had to move across the country from the west to the east coast. I had no friends there. I didn’t make many. I’m still in contact with some friends that I grew up with, but only two. I’m not really close with them, though on occasion I see one. I wish I had kept more friends. One of my closest friends growing up, I lost contact with him and never regained it; I tried and failed yet still regret it. I hope he is well.
When I moved back to the West Coast, I felt alone again. I was in a new city. I felt so alone, living by myself at 17 and going to school. I was in school for about a year before I made any friends. Luckily I got a job working for firm that was also my hobby. I made friends there very quickly. I am in touch with many of them today. Some remain my best friends.
I never really talked about being an orphan with many of them. At first I did; but I found that while I was comfortable with it, it made most uncomfortable. They felt bad hearing it; it was a conversation killer. So I just stopped talking about it – I never brought my parents up, if asked about them, I’d say they were retired in some far off place. Mother’s day and Father’s Day would roll around and I’d say I was only going to call my parents, perhaps send them a gift. This is one of the few times I think it’s okay to lie – people are really uncomfortable when discussing dead family.
I am naturally a quiet person. I’m not prone to outbursts or drawing attention to myself. I do not make friends easily or quickly. If you are more extroverted, you may have an easier time. Still, I’d caution you to be careful who you are friends with; I think most orphans develop a hard exterior, but due to a lack of love in their life, a very soft interior.
- The key takeaways are, make friends quickly, but not close ones.
- Don’t open up about yourself and your life. Most people can’t take it until they have known you for awhile and some may never handle it.
If you have trouble making friends, I’d recommend the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People“. It’s old, but solid. The rules it gives certainly helped me.