You are never too old (or too smart) to find a new friend. Partners may come, partners may go. But a good, close friend is worth more than, well, maybe, anything. That said, it might be particularly hard for you to find one if your rainforest mind is so vast that no one you know can keep up with the pace of your thoughts or follow your random leaps into theoretical meanderings. Or if no one wants to be in your Infinite Jest book club. Or if even you are overwhelmed by the intricacies of your mind palace. And if I know you, which you know I do, your empathy doth overflow. You probably are the only one you know bringing soup to your elderly neighbors and listening respectfully to your Aunt Ginny as she rambles on about her hip replacement surgery and the only one who sees the complex, subtle nuance and multiple sides of controversial situations.
What you really need to find is another you! Am I right?
And, just to be clear, I’m not saying that finding a friend is essential because, well, I’ve been single for more years than you’ve been alive. No. I mostly love my quirky, creative lifestyle. I am saying this because we all need a reliable “bridge over troubled water.” Especially now. And that bridge is often a friend, a buddy, a sidekick, a bestie.
The renowned psychotherapist Esther Perel agrees with me. “…Friendship is a love story. Different from romantic or filial love, it’s its own unique love story. Making friends is the first free choice relationship we have as kids. Our friends provide community and continuity in an ever-changing world. Our lifelong friends are our witnesses. They accompany us through the trials and tribulations of lovers that come and go, job changes, family rifts, births, deaths, and recoveries. And we are a witness for them, commiserating or celebrating together over morning coffee or late-night phone calls…”
And there is this from NYU professor Niobe Way: “…So the question for me is what happens when we’re born wanting love in all sorts of forms and people and ages and places, but we grow up thinking we must want love from only one person, from a romantic partner? What happens to us? What dissociation is necessary for us to arrive at that thinking? And for us to think that if we never find that one person, then we’ve never had true love? We use so much garbage language around so-called “true love” and “the one and only.” We’re putting all our emotional eggs in one basket. The fact that we somehow think that romantic love is more important than platonic love or friendship love is a product of our dissociation, a product of our disconnection from ourselves…”
How, then, do you find another you? Here is my simple starter guide:
The Guide: (Based on my own experience!) Stay on your life-long journey of self discovery so you are clearer about who you are and what you want out of life. Get support from sensitive practitioners who soothe some of those lonely parts of you and give you healing attention. Learn all about rainforest minds so you know what you’re looking for. Participate in activities you enjoy and look for the other RFMs. Take the risk to ask one to join you for tea, coffee, or a walk. If they have potential, take the initiative to nourish the connection, even if they are busy with jobs and families or you think they already have their friends. Chances are, they need a RFM friend, too, and they will be grateful for your persistence. It may take some time before they start to reciprocate by setting up times to meet and to deeply recognize the amazing gift you are giving them of your tender, loving heart, and to open their heart to you. If you have a pattern of finding folks who take advantage of you, you’ll need to be extra careful and willing to let go if someone turns out to be another one of those. In that case, give yourself compassion and kindness and seek out a good therapist, coach, body/energy worker, or acupuncturist. But don’t give up. Your open-hearted rainforest-y chum is waiting for you!
So, my little chickadees, let’s stop using “garbage language around so-called ‘true love’ and ‘the one and only’.” Instead, find another you! And in the words of the amazing long-time friends Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, “I have my friends, therefore I am!”
To my dearest bloggEEs: I have to admit I feel like you all are my good friends! When you comment here or send me your fan/love letters (and buy my books!), it nourishes and soothes my aching-for-the-world heart. I am so grateful for each one of you!
(Note: I’m not saying you can’t have a partner, too, by the way! I’m still looking for one, myself. I’m just saying to not minimize, neglect, or ignore the power of the friendship love story!)
And here is something you might find fascinating. About four years ago, I read a book called Evolutionary Relationships by Patricia Albere. Then I joined her spiritually innovative group, the Evolutionary Collective. I am not usually a joiner but I have stayed with this because it’s like nothing else I’ve ever known. And it is all about love! There is an introductory course starting in November (2023). Here are the details: Mutual Awakening course.