I would never consider myself to be popular in the sense that I have a vast list of friends and acquaintances but I have, what I would describe, as a comfortable number of very dear people whose company I enjoy – my circle of friends is not large but it’s very treasured.
There’ve been people in my life I could’ve sworn were lifelong pals, but for whatever reason the dynamic changed and we moved in different directions. Then there are those who ‘circle the airport’; they come in and out of my life periodically and we pick up the conversation as though we’d never parted. There’s no anger or resentment; no “where’ve you been for the last 5 years”, we just appreciate eachothers company in the moment.
Every now and then you’ll come across a stranger with whom you feel an immediate connection for no obvious reason – it just feels right. You are compelled to initiate a conversation, anything to prolong the encounter because there’s somethng about this individual you want to know better. These instinctual feelings are worthy of attention because our intuition is never wrong. Every encounter in our lives serves a purpose – we were meant to meet these people, and they were meant to meet us.
In our busy lives it’s easy to ignore these gut feelings. We’re busy with family, jobs, life,,,, and making new friends is work, so it’s easier to just cling to the circle we have because it’s comfortable and requires little effort to maintain, but is that wise? Broadening our circle of friends opens us up to new ideas. It exposes us to a whole range of characteristics we might not be aware of in humanity. It makes us more accepting of our differences. It teaches us how to trust and how to love. It also teaches us how to laugh and cry in the comfort of a familiar embrace and all of these are good reasons to take on the work of forging new friendships whenever the opportunity presents itself because we never lose when we expand our circle of friends.
Every year my husband and I go to Florida where we rent a condo for a month. We have a close group of friends who travel with us, also renting a condo in the same complex. We have a routine with these friends that includes our gathering at 5:00 each evening by the poolside for what we call ‘happy hour’. We recap our events of the dayand plan any evening events but the best part is the gathering of friends. We move the pool chairs into a circle and spend the next hour laughing and talking, then we part to have dinner. This routine has remained unchanged for years, as have the participants,,,,until this year.
On one such evening a friend and I arrived first so we started gathering the chairs for our circle. A gentleman sitting in a lounger reading a book immediately got up and started to help us (see, chivalry isn’t dead!) Our ‘happy hour’ was a familiar daily sight so he clearly knew what needed to be done. Once our circle was in place he returned to his lounger to read and my friend and I looked at eachother with the same thought – lets invite him into our circle. We did and he enthusiastically accepted. In fact, a few moments later he went up to his condo and returned with snacks,,,,and his wife, so we added another chair and our circle expanded.
Other couples, also vacationing from various parts of Canada and the US, joined our rapidly expanding circle and every time a new face emerged onto the pool deck someone quickly got up to retrieve more chairs. Our daily ‘happy hour’ was indeed happy. People were talking and laughing and we got to know some very interesting personalities. I felt like a kid opening a present and when the month ended and we were gathered for our last ‘happy hour’ of the year, all exchanged contact information and vowed to meet again by the poolside, same time next year.
We are all of retirement age so you wouldn’t think making new friends would be so exciting but it was. Each new opportunity to make a friend is a gift and gifts are to be enjoyed and appreciated. We are never to old to make new friends and there is always room in the circle for more so the next time you see the opportunity…..make room, move over. You’ll be so glad you did.