Making Friends

I’ve been wondering about the concept of making friends. I’ve moved a number of times, and each time I actively went into the world and made friends by engaging strangers. Basically, I would be giving parts of myself and seeing if they wanted to take it. After engaging a whole bunch of strangers through a bunch of different activities I would end up with a handful of people who received parts of me and vice versa.

This process made me wonder what a new friend really is. Is it a person with similar hobbies or background to me? Is it just two lonely people feeling less alone if they do things together? Is there a genuine connection on a deeper level with this small handful of people? Are there many different characteristics that could define a friendship that don’t necessarily overlap?

I guess the word that sticks out to me now is “making.” When you make someone your friend, you’re not necessarily giving them a choice but instead you’re forcing them into a partnership. If I say you’re my friend, does that make you my friend? It seems like this must be a reciprocated choice.

So instead of making friends I might be better off just loving and caring for everyone I interact with. Maybe friendships are more like reciprocated bonds of compassion. When two people can share piece and harmony together they will probably be naturally drawn to each other. Maybe making friends is like meditation in that you’re not actually trying to do anything. Instead your just being present with compassion and letting the universe do its thing. Maybe, as long as I’m putting myself into the world and engaging it in the right way, friendships will just naturally form when the timing is right. This concept just recently popped into my head so I’m not sure I’m convinced of its validity, but it’s interesting food for thought. Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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