I was nervous. I carefully considered my outfit and my hair. I was being set up by a friend who cautioned me in her initial message that she did not make these introductions regularly or lightly. I respect her a great deal, so this added to my nerves. It was a blind date, but not the normal, romantic kind. I was being introduced to a potential friend. A potential new girlfriend. The stakes felt high.
We met at the new coffee shop across the street from my building. She wore a pretty patterned dress and when I saw her through the window I instantly liked her. We launched into our introduction with ease. Within five minutes we knew we were fellow writers who had inclinations toward cuss words. We were kindred spirits and not afraid to feel it. I was relieved, happy, and content – the way being with a good friend makes you feel.
I am an introvert by nature. I am plagued with being socially shy. Once in my comfort zone that wears off – but I am not the type to insert myself into a social setting with strangers. In marriage, I was in my comfort zone. We had a handful of good “couple friends” that we would socialize with, had good neighbors, and were close to our families. That was enough. It kept me tucked safe inside a familiar bubble from which I was never stretched.
My divorce popped that bubble and took with it my security. I was alone more often than I had ever been in my life – a trend that continues now 7 years later. I have no one to hold me accountable for getting me off the couch and away from my cats the way my spouse once did. This scared and challenged me.
In the year after my divorce, I made a vow that by my annual luminary party in December I would have at least one new friend to invite to my party that year. This small promise to myself held me accountable. It forced me to pay attention to my relationships and the potential for new friendships. When I was mindful about the possibility of the people around me, it was easier than I thought.
This goal annually met revealed rich and meaningful friendships – a collection of friends that I could call at a moment’s notice for support, a coffee, or simple companionship. These relationships removed the fear I had post-divorce of being alone. These friendships have far exceeded a spouse substitute and empowered me beyond being sad and single. So this year, when I send out my luminary invites, I will not only have met another yearly goal, but will have a new kindred spirit with whom I can share the evening.
P.S. My new friend in 2012 introduced me to my 2018 friend 🙂