I went through a rough patch a few years ago. I was still smarting from the loss of my best friend. I’d left a job and boss and co-workers that I loved for a better opportunity, and went from having my own office (surrounded by windows!) to sharing a dark office with one of the rudest women I’d ever met (mentioned her in this post). I was pushing 30, dealing with some personal issues, and felt overall alone.
In late fall of that year, our office changed locations and we went from offices to cubicles. I was placed beside a woman I’d only seen a few times, but, after the move, we became fast friends. She’s the opposite of me in many ways: extroverted. Loud. Bubbly. Social. But we hit it off. We started going to lunch together. Held meetings at Starbucks. Walked on our breaks. Made countless trips to Ulta and TJMaxx. Spent too much money. Planned parties for our co-workers. Started an exercise class. Went out for drinks after work.
Maintaining friendships is hard as you get older, and it’s especially hard for us introverts. People move. Have families. Get busy. And I didn’t think it mattered. I told myself that I had J. I had my family and sisters. And yet, I still felt lonely. The kind of loneliness that can only be cured by having girlfriends. Men can’t fill that role. Your mom can’t (always) fill that role. Your guy friend can’t fill it. The internet can’t fill it. Likes and shares and followers cannot replace that connection.
Becoming friends with her added so much joy to my life. Joy I didn’t realize I was missing. Joy that came with no pressure. Joy that made the shitty days easier.
Sadly (for me!), my sweet friend is moving to Florida with her husband and Friday was her last day at work. And as we said our goodbyes on her last day, I realized I’d had a similar impact her. She hugged me, and, with tears in her eyes, simply said “thank you.” I said the same. We really didn’t have to say anything else. And I meant it. I’ll be forever grateful that she pulled me out of my shell. That she was a bright spot when I was struggling. That she was the friend I didn’t know I needed. Those trips to Ulta and Starbucks and doing laps at the gym at a local church will always stick with me, and will serve as a reminder that no matter how “full” the rest of you life seems, there’s always room for a friend.