Making A New Friend

my best female-friends :)
Image by GoodOldCitizen via Flickr

One of my favorite reads is the weekend Financial Times, and its many columnists. The latest column by Mrs. Moneypenny, a pseudonym clearly, looks at the challenge of trying to make a new friend:

Where do you meet new friends? Does it just happen by chance? You could be forgiven for saying that I don’t need any – these days, it’s hard enough to find time for work, home and other crucial activities such as shooting guns and flying aircraft. But life evolves and, like it or not, people move away, get married and find other friends. The result is that even I occasionally have vacancies for New Girlfriends.

I thought I would look back at the past few weeks and think about potential Girlfriends I have met. How did I meet them? The tried and trusted way, of course, is to put New Girlfriend (or NG) screening in the hands of others. Existing Girlfriends, especially very good ones, are usually excellent sources of NGs.

The opening weekend of the football World Cup, when England played its first match, was a good time to meet NGs. Very few self-respecting girls of my acquaintance were really interested in the football. So my Canadian Girlfriend, who has a wonderful house in Hampshire, complete with a heated outdoor swimming pool and unlimited supplies of ice cream, invited a select group of us girls down for a sleepover. I knew two of the other three guests well; the third was someone I had met infrequently…

By the end of the anti-World Cup pyjama party, where we stayed up late eating ice cream and talking about sex, I realised that the girl I had not known well before was definitely a candidate for a New Girlfriend. The formula for finding NGs became clear – let mutual friends identify them, and then meet them over an extended period of time.

A new memoir, Take The Long Way Home, by Gail Caldwell about her late friend Caroline Knapp, examines a deep female friendship that ended with Knapp’s premature death from lung cancer.

I’ve recently — yay! — made two new girlfriends, which comes as a pleasant surprise. I moved to New York in 1989 and have found it the least friendly place I have ever lived. People are crazed: work, commuting, family, taking classes, work, work, work.

One of my new friends is a younger woman with two little kids, but not obsessed with her family life and somehow willing and able to carve out a bit of time for a new person, me. We met at a conference where, oddly, she was pitching me a possible story about her company and its products. The other was a fellow blogger with me at True/Slant, a fellow journalist ten years my senior.

I think the best of friends come in all age ranges. This week I’ll finally catch up with Jess, one of my journalism students a decade ago. I tend to remain friends with people for decades and recently caught up with Laura, who I’ve known since eighth grade, and who lives so far away from me I am lucky to see her every two or three years. She, too, has two boys, but we still have lots to talk about beyond family.

Irene Levine, a professional colleague and psychologist, has a smart and helpful blog (and new  book) devoted to female friendships.

How have you made a new friend recently? Where and how?

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4 thoughts on “Making A New Friend

  1. GBC GBC GBC !!!!!!!

    There I was sitting in my dentist’s office reading an old copy of the Smithsonian when i came across your article “Shopping Maul”. I saved it and forgot about it..BINGO I found it this morning and had to send you this note..How are you? Nothing like old camp friends!! Keep well…

    Greetings from Mississauga, Ontario Canada

    Cheers Phyllis

  2. I was glad to read your post about having lunch with P.J. Tobia.. He was one of my favorites at T/S who seemed to disappear quite awhile ago. My 91 year-old mother never had very many friends. She talked about “friends,” mainly WWII nurses she had served with. Until I was almost eleven I was an only child – formed psychologically as an only child I guess. That made me become self-sufficient for entertainment and, even though I have a wife and three children, many friends, many business related friends – I can stay alone all day in my workshop without the need of company. I love people, but I don’t need poker parties, cocktail parties, or community clubs. Sometimes I’m a little sad about that. I’m a great occasional friend because I can pick up on where we had left off months or years before. I am loyal to my family and friends but I have limits on how far I will go learned by the mantra “no good deed goes unpunished.” By the way – why would Forbes not want that book you’re writing about retailing? Your Blog-following Friend – Tom Medlicott

  3. I tend to be like you. I don’t do “chat” or hang out or enjoy the energy it takes to charm acquaintances. I’d rather find and keep a small, loyal circle for as long as it works. I tend to be very generous helping people and have learned, perhaps like you, to be more selective and cautious about letting new people in.

    I also grew up an only child and I think it does make you more able to be alone and enjoy your own company.

    We’ll see what, if anything, Forbes wants from me. It’s certainly not the smooth, happy transition many of us had hoped for. I already have interest in it from one of their competitors — thanks to another former T/Ser there. The network has begun!

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