Some people can walk into a room full of strangers and make at least five new friends within the hour. Growing up, I wasn’t one of them. Call it being introverted or shy or insecure, but I was content to watch the action from the sidelines.
Then came college. Somehow as I packed my bags to move halfway across the country, I realized that no one in Tulsa, Oklahoma knew me. I would be starting over from scratch in the friend department and could re-invent myself to be whoever I wanted to be.
Armed with a reminder from the book of Proverbs ~ “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV) ~ I set out to be the kind of friend I wanted to have.
I thought about the fact that other incoming freshmen might be just as nervous and worried and homesick as I was. I imagined how it would feel for someone to initiate friendship and approach me to ask where I was from. And I determined to act friendly (even if petrified on the inside) and see what happened.
By the end of the first week, I had at least a dozen friends. By the end of the first semester, I had earned the dorm wing award for “conversationalist.” And in the many years since then I’ve tried to be friendly, especially when moving to a different town, starting at a new church, or attending a writer’s conference.
All because I learned that to make friends, sometimes you have to take the first step.
What about you? Are you more of a wall-flower or a social butterfly? What keeps you from making new friends?