A Time to Celebrate Friends

Did you create your year-end FaceBook video? I liked that it highlighted the new friends I made this year – and I was especially proud that they were actually new friends. They were people that I didn’t know at all last year. Additionally they are people that I genuinely and personally interacted with off line!

When I was a kid my mom had a recipe for “a great summer vacation.” The ingredients were a good book, a long walk, and a new friend. It became my goal every summer to find those ingredients. It was never that difficult – until I grew up. I’m sure we’ve all come to understand that after finishing school it begins to get difficult to make new friends.

“As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added.” READ FULL ARTICLE…

-Williams, A. (2012, July) “Friends of a Certain Age” The New York Times

My closest friends have primarily been the people that I met before I was married; mostly people from my hometown that I’ve known since elementary school or friendships I cultivated at my first jobs. Although even those friendships became difficult to maintain after marriage, and especially after becoming a parent. It wasn’t until I became a runner, and joined a running club that I found a way to make genuine friends and find a balance between the friend I was expected to be to my spouse and having appropriate – and much needed – friendships outside of marriage (I wrote about the importance of female friendships last year).

My “running friends” have consistently been the most supportive friends I’ve had in recent years and were many of the people that stepped up when my family was in crisis three years ago. They are also the people I can count on (almost on a daily basis!) if I want company on my run. Those of you who don’t run will also be happy to hear that my newest friends are women in town that I met through our recent political campaign and I have a few other female friends I’ve met through volunteering over the years. So the solution to making new friends after 30 is merely to get out and get involved in something – anything that interests you! – in order to find like-minded individuals with whom you are apt to make a connection.

This summer I coached a beginner running group in my town. As the program, and the summer, came to a close, I reflected on the fact that I had once again managed to fulfill my mother’s recipe without leaving out any key ingredients! I made the perfect summer! Now as the year comes to a close, I’m reflecting again on the value of friendships. We always think of family at this time of year, but friendships are equally important and can add a bit of diversity to our celebrations. Happy Holidays to all my cherished friends – new and old, near or far, online and off – your value in my life can’t be overstated.

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Some special friends (L-R): Santa and Mrs. Claus, Me, My Incredibly Significant Other.

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As a side note: This week I received the notice that I passed the oral portion of my coaching certification exam. I am now a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC).

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