More than once I've caught myself wishing I could make friends like the ones I had when I was a kid. The kind of friend you never feel awkward around. Even if you showed up at her house dressed like a big goober and she told you and at this point you really should feel awkward, instead you'd both laugh and that goober outfit would become the spark for an inside joke that the two of you would forever share.
You could plan a day of biking to the gas station, it would rain, or mom would come up with a bucket-load of chores sidelining the planned outing and it didn't matter- a great time would be had anyway.
Just because I was with a friend.
I'm old now, all grown-up and moved away from my childhood friends. I've had to make new friends and have been really fortunate with the awesome ladies who've let me be their pals. A few times in the last years, I've caught myself wanting to call up some of my new friends when nervousness kicks in and I worry that this call will be the one that clues them in to the fact that I'm a nerd.
Where did that crippling awkwardness come from? Did it hitchhike in on birthday candles, growing a bit each year? Why do I worry before meeting a friend for lunch? Why do I put off hosting a crafting get-together because I'm worried it might be a dud?
And why do I assume that I can't have friends like I did when I was little?
Yesterday, I watched my daughter and her best friend play. They'd hold hands, flit from one activity to another and discuss so seriously the details of which pencils were their favorites. My youngest daughter thinks she's part of the club and ran happily out to join the big girls. She must have come directly from a potty break, because she showed up with her skirt tucked into her panties.
The older girls giggled.
And then they helped her.And then they went right back to playing; all three of them.
What's the 10 year old girl's secret to an awesome friendship?
That's it. They love each other and so they trust each other and are open with their thoughts. This seems to banish all the self-absorbed worries and open the day to happiness.
And I don't think there's an age-limit for this trick.
It's not ground-breaking science, but I think friend-making abilities are not age-related nor environmental. I think they come from within. I looked over what I wrote above and a few words pop out- worry, nervous. Two feelings that those wise 10 year olds don't even allow space. If I want to have friendships like I did when I was young, then I need to quit worrying and just love.
And also trust that time is constant and if
I'm still the same goober I was at 10, then I should be able to find similar goober-accepting people now.
But mostly, I should quit worrying and just love.
I want to be one of those old grandmas in the first picture with a best bud or two to grow old with. They're laughing about something and my guess is that they're laughing at each other.So, future old bitty friend of mine, you agree to come over for a crafting night and I promise that my clothing choices will be the continual fodder for decades' worth of inside jokes just waiting to be made.
Dedicated to Allison, who really did teach me everything I know about friendship and never made me feel like a goober.