My daughter recently asked me who my best friend was. I said “JoAnn, my sister.” She said “No, mom. That’s not what I mean. I mean friend, like who isn’t related to you.” so, I said ”Daddy”. I think this counts in her requirements, as I am not related to him, just joined in marriage until death do us part. She wasn’t accepting my answer as a viable option. But then, I suddenly felt lost, when I began to take her question seriously.
I have no friends.
Now, y’all, that’s just silly. I have friends, lots and lots of friends. I have friends that care about me, and I have friends that I care for in return. In fact I would jump into a burning building or run through brick walls to come to their aid. I have friends that I grew up with from back home with whom I will always be connected, even though they are 1,484 miles from here. I have Instagram friends that started out as Flickr friends who I keep in contact with on a daily (hourly?) basis, many of whom I have met over the years, face to face, from across the globe. I have neighbor friends who like to get together for dinners, movies, or ladies nights.
What I don’t have, is ‘a friend’. That one friend that you can call when you are sitting on the toilet and need them to bring you a roll of toilet paper from five miles away because you forgot to restock the closet, a friend that will grab your kid from school and keep them in a family emergency, a friend you can laugh with about wildly questionable topics, a friend who will hold your hand when they visit you in the hospital to tell you that you can do this (I am not headed to the hospital, just for clarification…knocking on wood), a friend that you can run to, to return all of these favors.
It just hit me like a rock to the head that I do not have this friend. And you know? It makes me wonder how many other moms there are, that are thinking the very same thing. How did I get here?
My youngest child is now 10 years old. Soon that child will be 18 and heading to college…very soon. In the blink of an eye. When she does, (and she will, so help me Elvis), I want not only to have a friend that I can rely on to be there for me during that transition; but I also want for me to be that friend for someone else. Someone who needs me in return.
Unfortunately, they don’t sell these friends on Etsy, or I would have a fat quarter pack of them sitting on my shelf with a margarita already. You can’t look for a friend. A good, real friend happens at the right time, in the right place, for the right reasons. Here is where I have slipped up. I have not put myself out there, to connect. I have stayed in my safe little hidey hole during these years at home.
I came to this realization suddenly during this time of social distancing, because I was the only one not going crazy. I am immune to cabin fever. I adapted to isolation. I thought I was content, that is, until my daughter asked me who my best friend is. Now I realize what a disservice I have been doing to these other people, who are waiting around for me too. It’s high time I pull my head out of the sand and just start being there for those that are waiting for just the right person, at just the right time, in just the right place.
My homework: Task number one. Introduce yourself to at least 10 homes/people on your street. If you already know them, choose 5, and leave a plant, or small gift, and a note letting them know that you thought of them today.
Wow, I completely relate to this; I’m in the same boat but it appears I’m several years older which makes me even more sad!! I’ve been self-sufficient for so long and I’ve missed so many opportunities to make friends. I’d like to follow along on your Operation Connection but I’m not sure I can go introduce myself to 10 new people!! That’s a really big step for me – although we moved to a new neighborhood last year so it would be a great time to ‘come out of my shell’…hmmm, I’ll think about it 🙂 Good luck to you!!!
Get out there, Sharon, and embrace the awkwardness. Being several years older is not an excuse, young lady. There’s probably a little girl out there without a grandmother who needs you to fill a role. Blessings.
This is a beautiful letter! I have always said “ you have to BE a friend, in order to HAVE friends! ..I am 75 now, and blessed that I have a “ best friend husband”, but I also have a sister that is 4 hours away that would do any for me in a heartbeat, as would my two daughters. ..I have good neighbors that I can count on a few, but, I realize, I have been lax in the last few years of extending myself! I need to do that more,,to initiate a situation, like dinner party, or just meet up somewhere…we connect on Facebook, email, and text much more, but I hope they know they can count on me if needed. Thank you for this, to give me more to think about and share. 😷❤️
Sandie, I think you are right about not only meeting up with friends by getting out there, but also maintaining friendships to a degree that you don’t fall out of touch with the golden ones. We take so much for granted, don’t we? I lost a dear friend in 9th grade to an asthma attack, and I think it closed a part of me, or built barriers that I am now prepared to open again. Thank you so much for this comment. It gives me things to think about as well. Take care!
I am also older than Monica, my grands are 11, 12, & 18.
We relocated here in Central FL four years ago, when my husband completely retired. I know most of my neighbors by sight, my husband knows all of them. While it wasn’t planned, we discovered after we bought that most of our neighbors are retired. Also, the guys are outside often, just because, but the women tend to only be out for a specific reason. Such to get the mail. Perhaps most of my generation of females assumed family social duties and have retired?
My husband has taken on all the landscaping and relishes the opportunity to do more than just occasionally prune. I’m quite happy to be able to just appreciate instead of dealing with it regularly.
I may make a conscious effort to meet more of my neighbors. I’ll wait until this stay home to stay healthy situation improves though. And it will be after I get together with my best friend who is 45min away.
Jo, it makes me feel much better knowing that it may not be so rare to be in this situation. I think your use of the words “conscious effort” is really what I have been ignoring this whole time. I really just expected things to naturally happen, like falling into my lap, not realizing that this requires another person to make a conscious effort for me. How selfish I have been. Turning a new leaf now that the light is on. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it. Get out there. 🙂
Oh you’re definitely not selfish!
Previously, you met many people through your kids and with some you ‘clicked’. Now, you’re no longer arranging play dates, car pooling and exchanging sports’ moms activities. (Calm down world – dance *is* a sport.)
Now, to some extent, you are back to the pre-kids days and it’s up to you to seek out companionship. Or not. I suspect you’ve numerous connections through your quilting and may now have the time and inclination to explore getting to know a few who intrigued you but life didn’t allow any extra time.
I am in the same boat as well. I understand what friends can do for you and it hurts my heart that I don’t have any close friends now. But I also found the closer I have held friends, the more I have been hurt. It’s hard having friends that are only there when they need you, and are never really there when you need them. I’m a very giving person and I guess I just have not found the right friends. My mom passed in April due to COVID-19. It has shown me a lot about who is there when you need them the most. My two sons are grown and I have found that for me it will be best to spend my non-working time with my husband, my boys and their their wives and my 3 grandchildren. I’m sure it works for many people but it just has not worked out for me. My new focus is on “FAMILY”.
I am so very sorry to hear of your recent loss. Losing a person so close to your heart is never easy, and these days are going to be tough for a while. I hope that when you have hard days or hours, that they are soul cleansing, and that your memories of your mother stay with you and stay strong. It is good that you are focusing on what is important, and that is family. A good friend is always a warm welcome, but at you say, the good genuine ones are few. Please don’t let this fact change who you are, or let it diminish your kind, giving ways. Fate will bring the right people your way, and you to them. I believe this with all my heart. Bless you, Connie, with a big, strong, virtual hug.
Thank you Monica. Your kind words mean very much to me right now!💕
Take Care-Be Safe!
I just wanted to thank you for being a friend in a very tangible way to a lot of people. I used your mask pattern to make about 400 masks. My cousin in Washington State’s boss had 100 additional masks made from your pattern for medical personnel there. I sent them to my medical student son in Chicago. 140 more went to my Dad’s assisted living apartments. A bunch went to protect the families of missionaries who had to return home from abroad because of the pandemic. Our local home depot employees sport orange gingham masks from your pattern. I even saw a really strong and manly employee wearing the orange gingham mask with his diamond stud earring, looking very happy. I wear one when I exercise outside because I can’t go to the gym. It really helps with my allergies and I can enjoy a nice walk outdoors. Tried going without it and it was a real no go in my mind. Thank you so much for being a friend to me and so many others in this crazy time.
Elizabeth, I might have cried a little reading this, and have goosebumps from seeing these jaw-dropping numbers that you have produced. You are absolutely amazing to have made so many. Thank you so much for being a maker today, and for your kind, much appreciated comment. Take care, and stay safe.
Thank you for your kind comments. You stay safe too!
I find that I say hi to a lot more people when going on walks since this crisis began. It seems like people in the neighborhood want to connect more than they did when everyone was busy traveling to jobs – but it’s hard to have real conversations. Hopefully once it’s easier to talk, I’ll get to know some of these individuals better.
I’m not a sewer or a knitter or a quilter in fact I have no specific hobbies. but due to this pandemic I eased into making masks, First for my wife, who has three sewing machines and isn’t the least bit accomplished on any of them, she has Parkinsons. So this makes this type of activity difficult to say the least. Anyway, she asked if I could help, and I found your sight while trying to find an almost easy mask to make. Know that I am accomplished in lots of areas, Hooking, Macrame, Painting, whoa, didn’t realize i did so many things. All that I wanted was the magic pattern which I could whip up on one of her machines in ten minutes. Don’t laugh, my first attempt took almost 4 hours. I can sort of sew a straight line, haven’t figured out how to turn a corner. Anyway, I am in the process of making about 50 masks for a variety of “friends” neighbors, and some that are just “where did they come from.”
I am grateful for your tutorial, I am a kinesthetic (doesn’t look right) type of person, so reading instructions doesn’t always work for me. Anyway I managed to finish 6 today, and will go at it again tomorrow or the next day,
I started to read your blog about friends, and it really struck home, I was just talking to my wife about the fact that I don’t have a “friend” you know the special kind. Don’t know that its too late in life to find one, but one can hope. I found your writings to be engaging, they drew me in, and interested me in a nice way. Thanks for what you do, I am sure you touch many lives. And may all of those who might write nasty and vile things Ppphhhhhtttttttt!
Bob, Thank you so much for taking your precious time to write to me. I appreciate it so much. We will find those friends. I know they will be there when the time is right. I am so glad that your first mask only took 4 hours. I am pretty sure that is how long it took me just to decide on fabric. lol. Happy sewing.