This week I’m hitting up Story Chicago with an old college friend. We graduated over a decade ago, but we still keep in touch. Even our kids are friends.
We didn’t hit it off when we first met. She was loud, and said whatever popped into her head. I was quiet, and kept my mouth shut. It wasn’t an obvious match.
My first impressions were wrong, because here we are, ten years later. (Now I love her extroverted energy, and that she says what’s on her mind.)
That experience wasn’t the exception to the rule: I’d like to be a great judge of character from the get go, but experience has proved that I’m just not.
My husband and I didn’t connect when we first met back in high school. Far from it.
My best friends from freshman year were genuinely surprised when the cute boys we liked to hang out with in August–the ones we thought were so cool–got boring, fast. By October, our favorite guy friends–the friendships that lasted–were the ones we’d written off as dorky back at orientation. (Maybe we loved them because we were pretty dorky, too.)
(In my defense, I bonded almost instantly with my freshman year girlfriends: they had the right mix of sweet and snark, calm and crazy, and to seal the deal, were Anne of Green Gables fans. Sometimes I can spot my people.)
I’ve grown up a lot since then, but I’m still pretty terrible at predicting whether or not a new acquaintance will blossom into a friendship.
Sometimes I’ll meet a genuine kindred spirit. But sometimes I’ll meet someone new and think we have nothing in common … only to see that relationship blossom into a fast friendship down the road. She may not be like me, but in friendship, that can be a very good thing. Sometimes, it’s exactly what I need.
Think about your closest friends: did you know you would hit it off from the start? Are you good at predicting which new acquaintances will blossom into friendships?
For more on adult friendships–and how making friends over 30 is both easier and harder than I expected–try this post and its comments: Friends of a Certain Age.