This is a topic I have been contemplating for some time now, and I wanted to cover this topic since I like to write about women's issues.
When we were young, it was so easy to walk up to someone and strike up a friendship. As we got older and more self-aware, it became increasingly difficult to form these types of relationships. Some of that might have to do with us as individuals, and other times it is about busy schedules. Lately, I've been stuck in a rut in terms of forming new friendships. I have the same friends since college, and even some from my childhood. Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful to them and appreciate those individuals very much. Still, it is nice to have the ability to form new and lasting friendships.
During my Masters program, I've met a lot of incredibly nice and intelligent people. However, for some reason, I have failed to strike up any meaningful friendships from these interactions. I had to really step back and wonder why it has been harder for me to open up and truly allow these interactions to form into a great friendship. The reason why we tend to close ourselves off are varied and are not the same for every individual. For me, I think I lost a bit of trust in others when I had a bad experience in the past with a friend I shouldn't have trusted. I forgive this person, but I can never fully trust other women as easily.
Another issue stems from cattiness. We all have experienced the infamous "stink eye" from other women from time to time. It never fails to take me by surprise when women don't like each other upon first meeting. Simply walking into a room and having someone dislike you is just ridiculous. I am not sure where this stems from, and I won't even try to guess. However, if you are one of these women...give it a rest. Get to know others before you form an opinion about them simply based on first impressions. Whoever you are, and whatever your job title, never judge a book by its cover. If someone walks in looking closed off, that doesn't mean he/she is a horrible person. That person may be having a bad day or is just shy. Give people the benefit of the doubt. We have all done this at one point or another, but judging others is simply wrong.
Additionally, women tend to drop everything for a significant other. It seems that as soon as men enter our lives, we are with them 24 hours a day. This isn't healthy since we need relationships outside our romantic ones. I have been guilty of this before and have vowed to never let that happen again. I know that my friendships are equally important as any relationship. We all need companionship and camaraderie in all forms, and it is wise to invest equally in both romantic relationships and a great friendship. Truth is, we need both in our lives.
With age, it is harder to be open. This is an unfortunate but natural phenomenon. We have certain experiences that form an armor around us that we use to insulate ourselves from the outside world. This armor is difficult to remove and makes our social interactions a bit more formal. I remember the good old days as a child, when I could simply walk up to someone in a playground and ask, "do you want to be best friends?" And an infamous friendship would result. It's not that simple as an adult. First off, if I asked that question now, I would scare people (which in itself should show us how closed off we are). Secondly, we are typically in more formal environments when we interact with others. Quite a bit of our days are spent at work.
What I would like to see happen is an openness re-emerging. This takes a great deal of vulnerability, but can lead to remarkable events and relationships. We have to almost revert back to our childhood mentality in terms of how we make friends. I would like to urge all of you to learn to be vulnerable again. Yes, there is the possibility of being hurt or rejected, but it is a worthwhile risk to take.