A few weeks ago, my family and I dropped my little brother off at college. I shouldn’t say he’s little He’s not so little anymore. He’s 18 and he drives a truck with a six-inch lift. I still see him as 5 even though he’s a lot taller and stronger than I am now.
We were dropping him off at the same college I went to years ago. It was my first time back at the university in years, back at the same block of dorms where I lived, and I remembered the mixed feeling of excitement and fear on the day my parents dropped me off. After sweating in the Texas sun to get me moved in, they hugged me in the parking lot and pulled away to home, and I walked back to my dorm and made the loneliest turkey sandwich I have ever eaten in my life.
I remember taking mouse bites of the sandwich by myself at my desk. The room was freezing and quiet and I wondered if I’d made a mistake.
Would I make any friends?
Would anyone like me?
Would I fail?
In the first few weeks at school, I said yes to nearly everything when someone invited me to do something. I went to volleyball games even though I didn’t know a thing about it. I went to a free watermelon event even though I hate watermelon. I went to a dance party on campus even though I have no rhythm whatsoever. I played TriviaPursuit even though I never liked that game. I signed up for karate even though it had been years since my last karate lesson.
I didn’t always make best friends in all that, but I kept trying, and the wonderful friends I have today, were the ones who kept trying on me too, who kept inviting me to lunch and church and movies even when I came up with excuses.
Maybe for you making friends is easy. Maybe everyone likes you because you say clever things and make everyone laugh. Maybe you’re easygoing and pleasant to be around.
I’m not, so for me making friends was work. And to this day, it still is. A few months ago, my husband and I moved to a new city and I grew so frustrated with my loneliness that one day, he came home from work and found me in the backyard crying hysterically. Nearly six months ago, I wrote this blog about all that, and since then, it’s been a slow climb, but I’m making friends, friends who know what’s going on in my life and who come over and play with our dog, friends who eat Mexican food with me, friends who I’m praying for.
I’ve kept saying yes, and you know what? I’m asking a lot more these days. I’m asking people to lunch and coffee and hanging out and ice cream, and guys, I’m lactose intolerant!
My freshman year of college was tough, but it got easier, and I saw the turn one night in the fall. A group from my bible study had gathered for dinner, and I hadn’t wanted to go because I didn’t feel like it, but there, with a bunch of 18-year-olds, drinking Coke and eating warm chocolate chip cookies, we laughed and laughed and I praised God for friendship. I thought back about that first lame turkey sandwich I ate in my cold dorm room, and I smiled, knowing that God had pulled me through and brought me to a table of friends.
Cover Photo Credit (With Modifications): Death to Stock Photo