Does anyone else recall the song we all sang in Girl Scouts about old and new friends? It’s quite catchy in tune, but as I’ve grown older I realize it is also quite catchy in meaning. I had the chance to visit some of my best college friends this past weekend to see their new place in New York and it has really left me thinking about the power of friendship. “Make new friends, but keep the old” is a theme we are forced to accept as we move from our hometowns to our college towns to our young-adult towns. Having recently graduated, I’ve swung on the pendulum to the “make new friends” part- and frankly, it isn’t easy. I have lucked out with a slew of amazing coworkers (with whom I have spent basically every waking minute with in the past two weeks as we live out of a hotel for professional development) and that made me feel better about the prospect of having a new group to explore the city with. But even more so, it’s the “keep the old” that scares me. As our “working girl” lives get under way, how will I find the time to stay connected with the friends I have already made? Just seeing a few old friends for one Saturday left me feeling so loved and rejuvenated, making me realize how important it is to maintain communication with the people that know and love you. As a general rule, my best friend from home and I text and snapchat at least everyday and that schedule used to consist of a few phone calls a week too. Yet as we both got busier with work and more exhausted upon our evening return home, the correspondence slowed. We both wholeheartedly know that a lack of constant communication does not mean we love each other any less- but it is sometimes sad nonetheless.
So, being the goal-oriented/Type-A/color-coded person that I am, I want to make a plan to ensure I keep my close friends close while still keeping my heart and time open for new friends to join me on this new chapter of my life. At work, we employ a reflection process that includes “key takeaways” and “action steps” to frame the end of every training session and I have decided to share those with you all.
My key takeaways about balancing old and new friends are as such:
- New friends are essential to developing your new identity and support network as a twenty
- Older friends, especially the ones that support your passions and call you out on your shit when necessary, are still essential to keeping you grounded through this transition and beyond.
And my action steps (open for improvement as I dive deeper into my full-time schedule) include:
- Communicating my love or attention to friends at least once a week. Sometimes this may be a phone call to hear the re-cap of a sketchy blind date someone braved, or perhaps just tagging them in a funny instagram post about a decades-old inside joke, or a group text to get a vote on what pair of shoes to buy. I want to be intentional about reminding my old friends how important they are to me.
- I also commit to being more outgoing with my free time so that I can develop new friendships as well. I am notorious for turning down Friday night plans because I want to crawl into my bed at 9 p.m. but I need to catch a second wind to utilize happy hours and dinner get-togethers as a chance to bond with new coworkers or cool people I meet at the dog park.
Thanks for sticking through these thoughts with me! I want this blog to be useful to all the other thriving young ladies out there and do plan to mostly stick to a resource/advice-driven platform but there is also a cathartic effect of writing out the thoughts usually left to swim in my head. I appreciate the respect for my words, and hope that this reflection may lead you to reach out to a loved friend today too 🙂