One time, a guy I barely new (and only met once) asked me if it was hard to live the life I have because I have been on the move more or less since I was 18, and this really made me think―is my life beautiful or terrible?
Conclusion? I love my life, but I don’t know if moving around is something I want to keep up forever (in fact, in the last three years I have stayed put in Granada, a new record for my adult life, on purpose). The biggest reason I am tired of moving around revolves around making friends. Due to my moving around, and perhaps because I personally find it really hard to make true friends, I have become a bit of a serial friender….and, although I am now slightly ‘recovering’ from this tendency, I would say that I did it for my own good.
What does this mean?
First and foremost:
Even though I am socially awkward and often times would rather stay at home reading a book than go out, I do have the need to create meaningful relationships with people―like most social beings. This means that in every place I have lived, in one form or another, I have had to find ways to make new friends, even if these friendships aren’t as profound as I might like them to be. In some places this means attending a lot of Couchsurfing meetings (and intercambios), in others I have made friends through language schools, and in most places I have lived with really cool people.
However, this doesn’t mean, obviously, that all these friendships lasted a long time, or even that I like everyone I meet. Especially in the last three years (maybe even less if we are being honest), I have become pickier with the people I spend the majority of my time with but it wasn’t always that way. There have been times in my life where I was happy to hang out with whoever―and tried to become good friends with anyone who had time for me, even if we weren’t really a good friend fit. I would say that this tendency was an attempt to find a way to create meaningful relationships even when I wasn’t around people who I wanted to be my friends for life.
And, while this meant I had a full schedule and was Facebook friends with lots of new people, they were people I didn’t always connect with on a deeper level. At this time, being a serial friender involved going out of my way to make others like spending time with me (and not really analysing if this relationship was beneficial for me). All of this contributed to the idea that people tended to think we were close friends, even if I would consider them to be an acquaintance but like to spend time with them because I was looking for close friends*. In the long run, it was a way of life that wasn’t really benefiting anyone.
At the same time:
I have would consider myself as incredibly fortunate with some of the people who have crossed my path over the years I have spent abroad (and those back in the States as well). I have a good friend who told me that people who have good energy and are looking to attract friends have the ability to connect with similar people**. I hope this means I have good energy, or maybe I am just lucky because I have the ability to find friends for life (even as a serial friender), and feel as though I am lucky enough to find good people in many different places.
Not to sound over the top, but honestly I feel so lucky to know some of the most incredible, smart, beautiful people; I truly believe that they must be the most amazing people on the whole planet. And I would like to thank all those wonderful people who have made themselves part of my life. They are the people who will keep a part of my soul forever (if you believe in that kind of stuff), and I will carry a piece of them with me; like true friends, we will have changed the essence of one another. However, sometimes I feel sad that they are spread around the world in such a way that I could never be with all the people I truly care about in one place, at one time.
How I handle this now:
Although the way I go about making―and especially keeping―friends is a little bit different now than it used, I would still say I am open to being a serial friender. I like to meet new people spontaneously and I enjoy connecting those who have something to add to my life, even if they won’t be in it long-term. At the same time, I am less likely to spend multiple nights a week with people who aren’t in my core group of people who make me feel really happy―which is quite small at the moment. In fact, I am more likely to be alone than trying to serial friend my way through Granada (again, because I have already tried that once or twice).
What about you? Are you in stable friend relationships or are you serial friending?
*Even as a hardcore serial friender I was picky about who I called my good friends.
**I don’t know if this is true or not but recently, in a time of missing that wise friend and when we were living in the same place, I was lucky enough to have another beautiful soul dropped into my life, and I am so thankful for everything that he contributes to my life. It is not the same, but his energy makes me both smile and feel light in a similar way.