A long, long, long time ago, (more then 10 years ago), I was told if I ever got a fortune cookie fortune that I liked I should put the date on the back and keep it so when it came true I could see how long it took to happen.
Yes, I'm THAT person who likes to believe their fortunes from fortune cookies will come true. (My internal optimist likes to think they will.) So over the years, every time I've gotten a fortune from a fortune cookie I've put the date on the back of it.
This past February I received a fortune that said, "Seek new friends, and you will find them." Normally, I would have rolled my eyes at this one, but the timing was, dare I say, kismet.
See for sometime prior to receiving this fortune, I've felt the need to make new friends. It's not that I don't love the ones I have (I TOTALLY DO!), it's just that we don't all share the same availability and I felt the need to expand my social circles as a result. Additionally, I knew I was coming up on a big change. The plan was to move to a new area. Though the move wasn't to an area totally unfamiliar to me, and I do know people who live there, I still didn't feel I had a group of friends I could call upon to hang out with at a moment's notice. I wanted to establish new friendships so when I made the move, I would know more people to hang out with.
In February, I posted a book review of Friendships Don't Just Happen by Shasta Nelson. When Shasta was in the Chicagoland area that same month for a book event, she also held a program called a "Friendship Accelerator". The idea behind the accelerator is to teach women about the structure of friendships and also pair them with potential friends. (Sorta of like "speed dating"--or in this case "speed friending"--but with a longer commitment than just attending one event with the hope someone will want to meet up with you beyond that point.)
So on Sunday, February 10th, I walked into a meeting room at the Hilton off the "Mag Mile" not knowing a soul outside of Shasta and her husband, whom I had met two nights earlier at the book event, with the hope that I would leave with the potential for some good friendships.
Not too long after I arrived, another individual, who happened to be in my group, arrived as well. As we sat waiting for the others to join us, we made small talk. During this conversation, she mentioned she used to run races as a way to meet people. DING! Racing! We have something to talk about ... Phew! This began a common pattern as the other four individuals arrived. Of course, naturally as we talked, I began to think about who I thought had "friend potential" and who didn't. (Bad, I know, but let's be honest here, we all do this in situations like these.)
As promised, the day was a mix of lecture by Shasta on friendship and friend-making activities as a way to get to know the people in our group. By the end of the day, I left the workshop with more knowledge about friendships that could easily be transferred to any relationship one has in their life, and a sense of hope I would have five new friends ... and maybe one or two new "good friends". Only time would tell what would be.
At this point I feel it's necessary to say that as part of the workshop we were required to get together as a group at least once a week for six weeks. By the time I suggested the topic for this blog post, I was several weeks into those six weeks and feeling rather good about this group and saw potential friendships forming.
Over time, what I have found is that, like the old saying goes, "you really can't judge a book by its cover." Some of the individuals in the group that I was sure I wouldn't get along with very well turned out to be the ones I get along with the best.
In addition to this workshop/friendship accelerator, I also started using Shasta's site, GirlfriendCircles.com, more often. This has also helped me foster some friendships with individuals I would have not otherwise met.
As I started to get ready back in mid-March for my BIG move, I came across the fortune I spoke of above. When I saw it, and the date on the back, I laughed. It read: 2-13-13.... I had received it three days after the workshop that started me down the road to making new friends.
"What do ya know?" I thought to myself. "It actually came true."
I will be interested to see where these new friendships go. As I've learned recently, as our lives changes so do our relationships and that can mean friendships we thought would last a lifetime might, in fact, not.
Whatever happens, I'm thankful for all my friends - past, present and future.
Now that I've
Merryland Girl (Melissa)
Mom of Many (Susanna)