I heard on the radio this morning that we peak at age 23 when it comes to making new friends.
it makes sense though, that’s the age when we are trying new things, out at the bars, just finishing college, starting new jobs and yadayadayada. But i say lets be above average! Don’t stop making new friends at 23. Hold true to your best friends but be open to new friends. But it’s sometimes awkward, I know. Which is why I’m here to tell you….
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.
Meaning, in the quickest explanation possible, that nothing can be achieved within your comfort zone. If you’re uncomfortable, embrace that, because it means something great is on the horizon.
In this 3 part series we will talk about what it means to get comfortable being uncomfortable in 3 different areas of your life. In part 1 we dove into what it means to be uncomfortable in your health and fitness journey and why it’s important.
Here, in part 2, we will talk about why getting uncomfortable in relationships, of any kind, is necessary.
What makes us most uncomfortable when it comes to starting and maintaining relationships? Why is it sometimes hard for us to make friends, feel comfortable around friends or significant others, etc? Do we avoid whatever makes us uncomfortable because we don’t know how to handle it? Are we staying stagnant and going through monotonous efforts because we don’t know how to step outside of our comfort zone? More importantly though, is that generally we don’t know why we should step outside of our comfort zones.
Let’s talk this one through shall we?
Relationships of any kind are not something we should force, that’s obvious. However, the are also something that we shouldn’t force to not happen. Often times we get so caught up in avoiding new relationships- with significant others or friends- because we like where we are currently and we are afraid of someone new coming in and throwing that equilibrium off balance. But how do you know that the person asking you on a date or asking you to hang out with their group of friends doesn’t have something amazing to offer? When it comes to relationships we like to be stubborn. Even more so, sometimes we get stubborn in how we protect our friendships. How many of you reading this have gotten jealous when your best friends has made a new friend? That’s nonsense!
We need to get comfortable being uncomfortable in 3 pieces of our personal relationships.
- Making new relationships
- Maintaining relationships
- If necessary, cutting the cord
1) Making new relationships
This is the hardest part. By far. It’s hard putting yourself out there. But let me tell you friend, sometimes in life, this is an absolute necessity. I remember just 2 short years ago after moving across the country, I was faced with the task of making new friends. I mean I had to, I only knew my husband and my dogs in this large, new, and strange city.
So yeah, this is the hardest part, but here is why it’s the most important.
Those new friends that are out there somewhere on the horizon, they may have walked a similar path to you, and you don’t even know it. This becomes beneficial when you find yourself in a hard spot in life, and you need someone to talk to about it who has been in a similar boat. Trust me, that similarity in tough times is life changing.
Or those new friends out there could offer you something so much more. A new perspective on things, connections to someone or something that could help launch you into a new hobby, a new career, a new ______ you fill in the blank.
But meeting new people is hard. Whether it’s hanging out with a friend for the first time or going on the first date. Here are the excuses we tell ourselves as to why we shouldn’t even bother. And let me reiterate that they are just that- excuses. So once you’re done reading these excuses, I need you to burry them in your backyard.
- I’m not sure we’re compatible.
- We’re so different.
- I don’t know anything about them.
- I’m too busy to foster a new relationship.
- I like being alone.
- I can’t risk getting hurt again.
- I don’t have to emotional capacity to even try this out.
- I’m not outgoing enough.
- I’m socially awkward.
- They’re unlike all of my other friends
Have you thought one of those to yourself before? Likely. Now here’s reasons why all of those are bullshit.
- But how do you know?
- Isn’t that a good thing?
- Now’s a great time to learn.
- You have 30 minutes to spare. Just try it.
- Chances are you don’t like to be alone 100% of the time. And hey, what if this person likes being alone most of the time too?
- What a negative mindset that everyone is going to hurt you.
- But do you have the emotional capacity to walk through this chapter of your life alone? You don’t like the idea of a support system?
- Who said you have to be?
- Maybe they are too. Here’s a secret: those are the best kinds of relationships/ friendships
- GOOD! Expand your horizons!
Here’s the thing new friend. Making NEW FRIENDS is hard. Trying a new relationship is HARD. It’s the hardest part of all of this. So many unknowns come from the excuses listed above. But you’ve got to push past that. I can guarantee that half of my audience currently reading this are the friends that I made because I put myself out there. Most of you reading this never would have thought we’d be friends, I never thought we’d be friends. Because the truth is that my current friend group is the most wildly different friend group I’ve had in my entire life. In fact, put all of my friends from my first 24 years of life together and they still wouldn’t be as diverse as the friends I’ve made in the past 2 years. And you know what? I love it! It’s beautiful! I’ve met people from so many different walks of life- background, ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation, age, hobbies, etc. And it has been the wildest ride so far. But had I looked at any of them from first glance and used the “We’re too different” excuse. Then I wouldn’t have travelled halfway around the world with some of them, or experienced new things with others. You see my point?
If you feel a little awkward, and a little uncomfortable the first time hanging out with this potential new relationship, then good! You’re putting yourself out there. Hey, no one is saying you have to see them ever again, but at least you tried.
*and if you get along like lifelong sisters on the first hangout, even better!
*and I need to note that I think it is good to foster your longest term relationships, hold those close if you can. But just like we open new chapters of our lives book, we need to open room for new relationships in those chapters too.
If you’ve been waiting for a sign to finally say yes to that first date. To foster a new relationship. To dive in. This is it friend, THIS IS IT!
If only it were as easy as we are led to believe. BUT IT’S NOT.
You’ve been with your significant other for a year and a half now, and it’s all of a sudden no longer easy. Why? The newness wears off. Just like eventually a car will eventually lose its new car smell, your relationship will lose some newness too. But unlike a car, you can’t put an air freshener in it and it’s magically new.
When it comes to maintaining relationships you have to be both selfish and selfless. Selfish in knowing what you deserve, and selfless in knowing what the other person deserves. It’s like walking a tightrope across the grand canyon at times. You’re wobbling just to get there, to the other side with your partner, but on the way you hit some road blocks. A gust of wind comes and nearly knocks you completely off, a bird flies across and shits on your shoulder, your partner moves faster than you, changing the slack between you two. But don’t get knocked down, understand that sometimes it does feel like you have shit sitting on your shoulder, find a way to eliminate that slack.
I am no relationship guru, I won’t even pretend to be. But what I do know is that a relationship of any kind is a two way street. Where we most commonly lose our footing is when we feel that it is no longer a two way street and instead of expressing those feelings, we turn into little school girls and think “well if they’re not going to try, then I’m not going to either”
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no one can read your mind. So SAY WHAT YOU’RE FEELING. Oh, you don’t want to? Why? Oh right, because it’s uncomfortable.
So instead of speaking what you feel, instead of working to shorten the distance between you two, instead of fighting to stay upright, you let the fear of being uncomfortable knock you off and make the distance between you further than ever.
Talk it out my friend.
And then do it again, and again.
If it’s worth your worry, then it’s worth your time.
If you spend more than one second thinking about it, then it means you care.
But don’t get caught up in what used to be, that was then and this was now.
If your relationship is falling apart, if you feel distant from your friend, and you don’t like it, then it is on YOU to try to work it out. It’s worth the shot, trust me.
3) Cutting the cord
There will come times when you have to cut the cord. The reason people don’t do this as much as they should isn’t necessarily because it’s uncomfortable, it’s because they don’t realize its needed. We get blinded by what we think “it is” and don’t realize what actually is. Here’s how you can tell if it’s time to cut the cord in any of your relationships:
- Do you feel drained of energy when you’re around this person?
- Does this person no longer serve your dreams, hopes, etc.?
- Can you see this person in your life 5 years from now?
I’ve had to cut the cord multiple times in my life. The most uncomfortable thing about the act of actually doing this is that other people won’t agree with you. Once we realize it’s needed, generally we ignore that. Because now it’s not the fact that we don’t realize that it should be done- because we do realize it- it’s that we don’t know how to handle the discomfort of it. So yeah, I’ve cut the cord before. I’ve had people in my life that drained the freaking shit out of me. They didn’t serve much of a purpose before, they didn’t support me or my dreams. Sometimes, they slowly slipped out of my life, and other times it was as fast as literally cutting a cord.
The other hard part about this? Is the fine line between trying to maintain the relationship and cut it. The difference between points 2&3 is that you fully realize that the relationship is worth your effort in point 2, vs. knowing that the relationship is draining you in point 3. Know how to spot the difference. Allow yourself a few moments, weeks, or months to assess how this person truly makes you feel. Note how you feel when you’re around them vs. not around them. If it’s astronomically different, well, then you know what you need to do.
And, if while reading this last section, you had someone in your mind the whole time, take a look at that relationship. I’m not trying to tell you to start cutting wildly like a child cutting a snowflake out of a piece of paper, but I am trying to tell you to focus on your happiness. Who brings that? Who doesn’t?
Relationships are hard work.
But if you never try, you’ll never know.
Thanks for reading! I know this was a long one. If you found any of this relevant to you- share it! And then share with me what was helpful. I love that :) And to read Part 1, click here & for more from CarlyB, you can subscribe to my email list In health, Carly