Timeline Friends

Upon moving to a new city, I was asked what I was most afraid of about the move. My answer was "being lonely". I'd never lived in another city before, and since preschool had always had a solid group of friends. While I was moving to a city with friends from college and work, I still didn't have a best friend that I was moving to the same city as. Being lonely was a fear, but a fear I was kind of excited about. Making new friends, my first truly adult friends (where we didn't go through a formative life period together, like college), was an exciting thought.

A recent column from Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax raised a good point. In this particular column, the writer complains that she is the last of her friends to settle down, and that her friends are too busy for her now, and she wanted to know what to do. Carolyn gave a good piece of advice--don't get hung up on timeline friendships.

For the first twenty years of our life, our friends are naturally people who are at the same life stage and thus roughly the same age. In high school you hang out with other people in your grade, but usually not more than a year or two different. Soccer teams, Girl Scouts, and summer jobs naturally throw you in the mix with people at the same life stage.

But when you're an adult, you enter a broader, more vague life stage that opens up the friendship opportunities you have. Carolyn encourages the writer to find people who she has a common interest, rather than a common age. Co-workers, church friends, volunteer organizations, all are teeming with the opportunity to have friends who are decades older or younger than you, with friendships that can bring a lot of richness to your life.

Anyways, I thought this was great advice, especially for the stage and age of life most of us are in. Whether it's moving to a new city or just feeling like you need a few new friends, something to put into practice.

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