note: this post is going to sound a LOT like this post from my friend, Val. The sentiment is so very much the same… but you don’t all follow her. You should. So scamper off to the “subscribe” button on your google reader and add Saltwater Coke. You won’t regret it.
This time last year I was in a total funk. A funk that I think many young adults (and let’s be real here… most “grown up” adults too) can relate to. A funk that many of my recently graduated/Forge completed friends will have to face.
Here’s the deal.
My wonderful university did a great job of prepping me for the real world with a barrage of resume seminars and mock interviews. I left feeling so ready for the adult, grown-up, job-having work force. Bring it on.
What they don’t prep you for is the fact that making friends is HARD, y’all.
In college, it was almost a predestined thing. You live on a hall with a bunch of other girls… you go to classes with people who have similar interests and everyone has a similar life schedule. Friendship happens if you are looking for it. Things are different in grown-up land though. I could easily go through a week on my own schedule, with my own priorities and “to-do” list without crossing paths with anyone else. Would I be happy? uh. NO. Have you met me??? But it sure would be easy. In college, you do life in such parallel to everyone else its easy to cross paths. Now, it has to be an intentional choice that isn’t always fun or easy to make.
Last summer I has just started a new job, moved in with Emily, was reeling from finishing up the Forge, and was trying to figure out what it looked like to NOT be on summer staff at Pine Cove while still being in Tyler. Lots of big things happening and the BIGGEST issue was… I didn’t have people around me. Not really. Emily is a teacher and gets to travel over the summers (totes jeal) so we didn’t really get to know and love each other until the Fall. For a few weeks I did my thing, worked a ton and LIVED for Saturday afternoons when my camp friends would get off of work and come crash at my house.
Then one day I decided that enough was enough. Time to get over myself and just start asking people to be friend. ~giggle~ It just sounds ridiculous.
“Hi there. I’m Lacey. I like long walks on the beach, crafting and I make a mean Carmelita. Will you be my friend?”
But really. That’s kind of how it went. I’ll never forget that day.
Initially I was hired at Bethel as a part-time staff member but one day I was called into our XP’s office and we talked about what it would look like for me to move into a full-time position. Starting immediately. WHOA. Big day. BIG DAY. In a matter of hours I was on full-time staff at at church… HOW DID THAT EVEN HAPPEN? Not two months prior I was planning on moving to Frisco to teach and now I was rooting in Tyler. Doing ministry. WHAT?
As I sat processing all of this while alphabetizing ALL THE NAMETAGS, I realized that I had no one in Tyler to call. My big plan for that Friday night was to go home, continue eating delicious white queso for dinner and probably watch a movie. Not really okay with me… I’m a celebrator and when things happen I just have to share it with someone. So I started going through Tyler people I knew in my head. Most everyone was super involved in camp and wouldn’t be free on a Friday night.
“But what about Jenny Brown? Hmm… Jenny. Jenny and I met maybe twice while I was in the Forge and she seemed nice. I mean, she’s the Grandma Ruth at camp… she must be worth hanging out with. Right? Okay. I’ll call Jenny. This going to be so awkward. I don’t care. I need someone to hang with me.”
So I called Jenny. Our conversation went like this:
-Hey Jenny? This is Lacey Melinder…
-yeah, I did! I did just finish the Forge.
-So, random question: What are you up to tonight?
-Really? Well, I don’t have plans either and thought I’d give you a call to see if you’d like to hang out.
-REALLY?! Okay. Fresh at 6:30?
-Perfect. Done. See you then!
~cue happy dance~
We went to Fresh, spent hours together and the rest was history. Every week for the rest of the summer, Jenny and I met for dinner and she introduced me into a whole crew of people in Tyler who have now become my go-to people. This year has been filled with group dinners, movie nights, new friends and countless celebrations. The random phone call to Jenny? Priceless. Over this year she’s influenced me in so many ways… from encouraging me to get a gym membership (now I’m addicated. thanks Jen), to inspiring me to conquer fears, taking me with her on a epic trip to Utah, running my first 10K with her (blogpost coming soon), and above ALL else being a friend to listen, challenge and encourage me. I don’t want to imagine Tyler life without her.
So. If you find yourself in a scary transition phase or maybe even just in a friendship funk, I would encourage you to just GET OUT THERE. Put yourself in a place to find a friend and just do the awkward thing… ask for friendship. Be proactive about it instead of waiting around. Not easy. Not fun. and I feel like this went on for awhile. It took so many times of texting to invite myself along to chick-fil-a lunches or asking yet again what people were doing that weekend. I felt like a nuisance. I often felt like I wasn’t really wanted around if I needed to invite myself. Pity parties were frequent, but then I remembered that I am chosen and beloved by the one who matters most.
Ever been there? Well. Don’t believe the lie that you aren’t wanted. It just takes a little while.
Who knows? An awkward phone call can change everything.
Happy Friendiversary Jenny! I can even describe how grateful I am for your friendship. You are such a treasure!