ROCKWALL, TX (July 5, 2022) Birds have a flock.
Geese a gaggle.
Cows a herd.
I thought that hippos also gathered in herds, though I am corrected by Google.
You would find a bloat of hippos, (insert giggle) and very appropriately, a tower of Giraffes.
Humans have groups. Groups of friends. Circles of women. Groups of yayas, besties, friends who play cards, supper clubs.
In the past 25 years, I have learned to have friends. It took me longer than most. I was well into my late thirties before I realized I needed to do something intentional to develop friends. Always wishing for comfortable friendships, other than one or two friendly neighbors over the years, I just did not have friends.
I had no idea how to reach out and bring friends into my everyday life. It seems intuitive for many people. I am a nice person, though introverted. Seeking connection is not naturally ingrained within the introvert and it can be challenging to seek out people and become friends. Finally, well into my third decade, I took my lonely self in hand, and vowed to make friend finding happen. It was uncomfortable to get started, and awkward at times. Friendships did not develop in a week. When acquaintances happened, when just the right mix occurred; I learned friendship is delightful. I became part of a tribe. And smaller units of singles or doubles too. At times I gather them together in one place. This can be delightful for the extroverts, daunting for introverts, and sometimes the instinct is not to shake the pudding, leave the protective skin of comfort in place. I recall a brunch party twenty five years ago, early in my “process,” when I invited a few mixed groups of women over on a Saturday morning. An acquaintance was being introduced around, when she said in dismay “Oh! I thought it was just going to be US”. Just one particular group. I get that. But, there is no “just US.” There are bajillions of women (and a few man humans) to be located and morph our way into one kind of friendship or another. I embrace it these days. A mentor guided me all those years ago to make friendship intentional. He provided me a gift.
Not long ago, with many years in our previous neighborhood, trees grown tall, comfortable neighbors surrounding us, we took the plunge into downsizing our home. Looking at the future, it seemed the time to move into a new phase. We sold our home, built a new home and moved to a new location. I found myself longing for new neighbor friends. I am so aware now, of the need for community, for familiar faces to call on in joys and troubles, and to borrow that cup of sugar, share the homemade soup.
In the old neighborhood, I had a soup friend. My husband is not fond of homemade soups. Let me assure you – it is not due to the quality of my soups. In fact, I am told and I concur, my homemade soups are delicious. (He prefers canned soup, the poor soul, and this is a subject we may cover at some future date.) And so, if we are not having guests and I get a hankering for a pot of soup, there is plenty to share. My soup friend was one whom I could call and say “bring your container down – I have soup.” She would come down, sometimes in pajamas, we would share some chit chat, and soup would be transferred to from my kitchen to hers. There is comfort in friendships such as this. They are literally comfortable. They don’t require an elaborate invitation or setting. Just face to face, passing soup. Sharing words on the driveway. Texting a neighbor to come over and enjoy the evening on the patio with a cold drink.
Sometimes new friends simply pop up out of thin air; a Lagniappe that appears and we feel the magic happening. I hoped for this, but I was occupied with unpacking, settling our home, and planting a new garden; good excuses not to put myself out there. Pandemic had made it easy to revert into old, solitary habits. Still, I was longing for community and I recalled, I would have to make it happen. I would need to be intentional in reaching out and locating prospective pals. I am again in that process now, and happily having a bit of success.
It seems there are a number of us in my new neighborhood. Women – can we say – of a certain age? Our nests are empty, for the most part. A number of us are new or newish to this neighborhood and we have been longing for a group of friends. Coincidental to my longings, a social media post on a neighborhood page, seeking to begin a women’s group, started the process. I was the first to respond! A group of women who wish to enjoy the company of each other gathered; to play games, eat the cooking, raise a glass, talk, share, and develop community. It is intentional. It has been that simple. And it is working. New friendships are developing. Others are branching off. We are gathering in, creating community.
We now have a neighbor who brings warm cinnamon rolls over on Sunday mornings. We have been enjoying friendly fence talk with young neighbors on one side. They invited us next door for a baby shower recently, and some of us are making plans to visit the Margarita truck in Fate, as soon as possible after the new baby makes his appearance. A delightful friendship has developed with a new pal, who already feels like a sister. And there is a group with which to share laughter and concerns.
Just a word. If you are an introvert, I know this prospect may not be an easy one. I have walked the path and I know. Put yourself out there – someone is looking for you. Having friends is life and spirit changing. Let me know if you need encouragement.
I’ll cut this writing short, as ten of us are trekking out today for lunch. I think I prefer to call them a Delight of friends, as opposed to a Gaggle! I am looking ahead with a smile.
By Sally Kilgore of Rockwall. Sally is a former resident of Rowlett, and a recent transplant, across the lake, to Fate, Texas. She is married to her long time flame, Chris Kilgore. When not writing, gardening, filling in at the local flower shop or hanging out with grandkids, Sally devotes her time to serving Bob Kilgore, a generously sized, Tuxedo cat with panache.
Read more of her column, Kukka (Finnish for bloom or flower) at BlueRibbonNews.com. Get in touch with Sally via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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