Hello, can you hear me?
I get bad cases of friendship loyalty.
I had no idea how he could be so calm about it. We’re going to call him Charlie. Charlie was calm, and I was over here wanting to shout out a million curse words that looked a lot of %^#$@!%$!# while at the same time roundhouse kicking someone in places that would hurt like hell (and I’m not talking about butts). It’s not in my character to react to situations so strongly like this, but I was feeling all kinds of injustice; utterly hot and bothered and being a whole lot on edge like I was set out to slaughter and destroy.
A few hours prior, I had been standing next to a guy I had never met. Five minutes into making eye contact and him un-tactfully running his mouth, I had made my guesses. Maybe it was gut or women’s intuition, but arrows flashed so loudly pointing to him as the culprit. You see, Charlie had texted me in the afternoon the day before informing me about how I wouldn’t be seeing him the following day because decisions had to be made. He had resigned from his position, and he was no longer going to fulfill the role that he had been so wonderful at accomplishing for years because of someone and something outside of his control. He fought for months but life finally decided to dump out a big bowl of politics, so the right response was to gracefully retreat and surrender. I respect that, but I still had to put the two and two together and find the root cause. Charlie would later confirm my presumptions.
I keep telling myself I want to live a life of no regrets, but recently I am discovering the overwhelming mass of missed opportunities due to the lack of meeting people.
I don’t know why it took so long for us to become actual friends because I would see him around occasionally for almost five years straight. And every time we ran into each other, it would be an absolute ball. We would exchange laughter and life stories and spontaneously shank tennis balls over the net and apologize for being terribly out of shape. I don’t think I realized how much I was going to miss out on this friendship until he told me the news about him relocating fifteen hundred miles away. And just like that within 24 hours, Charlie decided he was going to up and leave not just the state, but the next chapter of his life would begin in another country. There was no chance at convincing him to stay.
Investing into someone else’s life is an investment into your own.
Have you every tried meeting someone? Not like a handshake awkward side hug “hey, it’s nice to meet you for like five seconds” in passing kind of meeting while you have a million other things on your mind and a list of tasks waiting to be completed. But, have you ACTUALLY tried to meet someone? For once. Without the music playing. Without the laptops open to Facebook reading the latest Buzzfeed article. Without the phones on the table texting the next person you’ve scheduled something with while simultaneously scrolling through your Insta feed and editing photos on VSCO and Snapchatting your meal (I’m so guilty). Because when you truly sit down to get to know a person—face-to-face, exchanging real life conversation and honest stories, you actually meet who they are. The curtain drops, the makeup’s off, and you’ll see what’s backstage. You’ll find out that they’re human. And just like you, they’re also in the race of confronting insecurities and trying to pursue dreams and overcome struggles. You learn things when you choose to meet someone. Because if you inquire and dig for details, you’ll see that they are real too.
I always appreciate my time with him. We’ll call him D. D is a friend of mine who is constantly out on the road taking the world by storm. There are seasons of a lot of travel, and seasons of not so much. But every time he’s back home or we are in the same time zone, we make an effort to spend some time talking life. It’s always a good time no matter how long the hang is—of laughter, coffee, random, chats, and being absolutely comfortable in my own skin. I don’t know why D decided he wanted to be my friend because, let’s be real: there are people out there with so many more cool points in their pockets. Nonetheless, I am very thankful for such a friendship. I’ll want to take photos in square form and he’ll just say “oh, more photos,” chuckle at my ridiculousness, and let me do as I please. Sometimes, he’ll even place down his coffee while mid-drinking it so I can snap my shot. If you all knew D, you would know that that’s the epitome of friendship. Why? Because, coffee is BAE. But in all seriousness, I really do relish those moments: the ones where you feel like you have no one you’re trying to impress and you don’t need to put on your professional pants or show up in your suit and tie with a buttoned up collared shirt and a black tailored blazer. You’re just being. Guards down. Filters off. Talking about bowel movements and laughing at things that aren’t actually funny. JUST BEING.
God likes to prove me wrong when it comes to friendship.
I’m come a really long way, but there is still a lot of growth to happen. Truth is, I like to write people off, and I like to write people off real fast. I’m constantly asking why would I want to build relationship with whomever it is that I cross paths with. It sounds crazy but I really do ask that question sometimes: Why should I get to know you? This probably shouldn’t be public information, but I mean it when I say it’s not you… it’s me. It’s me feeling inadequate. Mostly, it’s my inability to get out of my own head and the silly idea of feeling like I essentially have to prove I have something to offer to a friendship. I get into ridiculous banters with myself about how I’m legit not cool enough to be so-and-so’s friend and then that’s where I begin to shy away and drown in a giant made-up ocean of self-sabotage and projection. The waves then proceed to throw me under and I suffocate in a heap of lies.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve texted someone and then instantly regretted or felt insecure pressing “send” when all I was asking was “how are you” or simply saying “hey” just to check in. Like just a few hours ago, I was conversing with a friend and immediately needed to gasp for air in my own timidities of feeling like I was being annoying from talking too much or saying the wrong things. Did I say something stupid? Am I asking too many questions? Why am I not getting a super positive reaction and/or a response? It’s seriously the most irrational thing. But it’s strange because God has been placing on my heart to meet people—to meet the people in my life that have already been there for years and for months. As much as I sometimes talk about just doing something, I am far, far, FAR away from YOLO-ing in this department.
When you decide to meet someone, you’re giving that person permission to meet you too.
That is hard if you’re like me and you tend to hold people at arm length’s. (More explanation can be done about that sentence another time in another post). I am not an expert by any means. But for now, I just know it’s necessary to quit fighting the fear so much, and go in with armor down completely unarmed no matter how crazy or dumb I may or may not come off. Because that’s what meeting someone is all about.
So hello, it’s me. I was wondering if you’d like to meet.
Maybe it’s the caffeine in my system I impulsively downed three hours ago that’s making my heart race. Or maybe I’m sick to my stomach because I just want so badly to let the world know I want to meet them even though I might be extremely terrible at it. Starting, anyway. Because I’ve never been much of a small talker. I have small talk anxiety and I’m the definition of awkward when it comes to it. Eventually, I’ll care about your favorite color and your favorite food group and how you prefer your tea. But right now, I just want to know and share in your fears and dreams and failures and victories. I want to know about your family and your past loves, what fuels you and what it is in this lifetime that makes you the most afraid. I want to know how it’s going if you’re kicking it with God and what you’ve been talking to Him about lately, or if you’re not homies with Him, why not. Basically what I’m saying is that I like to dive right in. I’m also saying that navigating this entire meeting thing is difficult not because I don’t want to meet you. In fact, I’m dying to meet you. It makes me hesitant because then you might just want to meet me too.
Someone mentioned the other day about how we should have friendship resumes—referrals and such. It made me laugh. Actually, I was entertained by the idea and it sounded quite fantastic so you know the person you’re becoming friends with won’t throw you under a bus and then run you over a few times before abandoning you on the side of the desert road. Okay, maybe that’s slightly dramatic, but can you imagine? Dear sir, please send in your friendship resume with three mutual friend references along with your fingerprint and driving record. But then I thought about how many times I’ve subconsciously done that—created checklists in my head before actually getting to know someone, immediately raising red flags when no real red flags existed. In fact, the only red flag was me projecting my brokenness and insecurities onto someone else. I’m not proud of it, but we’re all human, so we’ve probably all done that. Or maybe, it’s only me because sometimes, I’m just really sucky at meeting people.
Honestly, if it weren’t for grace and God, D and I would probably never have been friends. Because I wrote him off real fast when I listened to what the world said. I never wanted to meet him, but for some reason, I ended up doing it anyway. And I’m so glad it happened because I have never been more wrong in my life—he’s real and genuine, and there is nothing I value more in a friendship than those things. And as I get to learn and do more life with D, God is continuously proving me wrong about everything… and people.
Impressive resumes don’t mean a thing: where you’re from, what you do, who you know. I get it. I get that some people vibe better with others, that’s a natural. And I’m not saying, go out and meet every person that walks by you. But do it once in awhile. What they have to offer might surprise you. I would put money on the fact that at the end of the day, we’re all just real humans looking for connection. For someone to be present and say, “hey, I appreciate and like you for who you are. I think you’re awesome and you’re my friend because you’re you and nothing else.”
For someone to be like: hello, how are you?