Don't talk to strangers!! Our parents drilled this into our thick little skulls when we were kids. But if we don't talk to strangers then how are we ever going to meet new people and make new friends?
Okay, you can speak when spoken to, but be polite! Ah geez do I have to be nice? That takes all the fun out of it!
So we grow up and move out on our own and suddenly there are a lot of strangers around and you aren't always lucky enough to have a friend nearby. You have two choices; 1) become a hermit or 2) take a chance and speak to a stranger.
You take a chance and start talking to the obvious people like a neighbour, the guy/gal at the bus stop. a nurse, a pharmacist, a bank employee, someone at the office or at a store, Your nervous, so you start with the weather or you comment on something to do with the reason you are there in the first place. You may not know their name but it feels good to talk to someone.
Sometimes you get lucky and there is an instant rapport. You realize that you share a commonality and - voila! - a new friend! Sometimes though, it takes a while to develop that bond. After months or even years of chit chat, you realize that this person has become a good friend. You started guardedly and gradually, you both let down the facade and allowed the other person to see the real you - faults and all. Surprise, Surprise = they've seen the real you and they are still there!
If you don't talk or run into your friends for awhile you start to wonder how they are doing and if everything is alright. This can even apply to the people who cross your path on a regular basis like a bus passenger or a customer you see regularly then they disappear for awhile. Did they move? Holidays? Is something wrong,,,?
It's nice to be missed. It is also nice to walk into a place of business and be greeted by name and treated like a friend rather than just another customer. A lot of people say that isn't likely to happen in a big city, but I disagree. There are businesses that I frequent, where I am welcomed and greeted by name. That may be partly because I bring homemade chocolates every Christmas, but I prefer to believe that these people are my friends and that they look forward to seeing me as much as I do to seeing them.
I've been lucky since moving to Winnipeg. I've made several good friends over the years. I'd be lost without them. Your real friends are the ones who love and support you no matter what, They listen to your stories, your joys and your woes. They will lend an ear or a shoulder. They make you laugh. It isn't always easy to tell your friends that you love and care about them - especially the guy-gal friendships - it can get weird if the other misinterprets your meaning (now there's a subject for a future post!).
I do love my friends. I think they all know that, whether I've said the words or not. You've been there through some rough times. Some of you have been part of my life forever and some for only a few years. You've made me laugh. You've enriched my life beyond my dreams. You've looked beyond the packaging and taken the time to see who's inside. You've allowed me to get to know you and welcomed me into your life. You've left a footprint on my heart - in a good way!!
Life is a book. Some people are there for a paragraph or a chapter. Some weave their way in and out of your life and some are there to the final page. I want my friends there through the final page. So please take care of yourself, stay safe and know that you are loved and cherished as an important part of my life. Good friends are hard to find - and even harder to replace!