Make a New Friend

I heard this speaker say once that every person in our life is there for a reason, season, or lifetime. I recall thinking that was the hokiest thing I'd ever heard in my life. Then I went home, wrote it down, and stuffed it in a notebook so I'd never forget it. Some people come into our lives to show us the way (or a way), to teach a lesson, to make us laugh, to make us angry. Some people represent entire periods of our lives. And some people are with us for the long haul. But what she didn't say is that we don't ever really know which people are which. 

And all of that got me thinking about that nature of relationships, and more specifically friendships, and even more specifically, making friends. I could meet someone tomorrow that will be my friend until the day I die. Or maybe one of the friends I have today that I think will be around forever will phase out a year from now. I have no idea. So why, given that we have no ability to predict who will come into our lives and for how long, do we make less friends when we stand to gain so much from every new encounter? Why do we cut ourselves off from potential new reason'ers, season'ers, and lifetime'ers?

When I hear people say that their friend circles get smaller over time because "quality over quantity," I think, well, that's a little unfair to the rest of us! Quality people are everywhere. What happens in adulthood is we get scared, we get lazy, and we get complacent. We stop trying. We get burned by some bad eggs or exhausted by the "quantity" game and throw in the towel clinging to what is safe, consistent, and reliable. And there's nothing wrong with safe, consistent, and reliable. We all need a home base.

But when was the last time you made a brand new friend, not out of necessity (new job, new city, etc.), but because you just wanted to get to know someone? Because you met someone and thought, hey, she's funny and nice, I wonder if she would be my friend? We're so often afraid we're going to look silly or stupid or creepy that we don't start these conversations. But I say, look silly, look stupid, look creepy--if they like you then they won't think you're any of those things anyway. And if they don't like you, great, now you don't have to waste anymore time wondering if they do.

When we fence ourselves in and lock the gate, who are we keeping out? What new stories are we missing? What opportunities to learn and to teach disappear?

Everyone has the potential to be someone's reason, season, or lifetime. The category doesn't really matter in the long run. But am I staying engaged in life around me? Is my worldview expanding or shrinking? Am I making new friends and finding value in another person's experience? Or am I becoming scared, tired, or complacent?

Make a new friend this week. I dare ya.