After our first year living above the Mason Dixon line I learned that making friends there required a different approach than making friends in the South. In the South even if someone isn’t interested in making new friends, if you invite them to hang out they’ll not only say yes, but will most likely offer to host. In the North if someone isn’t looking for new friends they’ll find a kind, but unmistakable way to say, "no thanks." The first time it happened to me I was flabbergasted. The third time I was enlightened.
There have been times in my life where I genuinely didn’t have the bandwidth to explore a new friendship and yet if I or we were invited to a dinner or an event we were obligated to say yes. Otherwise, it would be rude. Because making up excuses or passively avoiding follow-through or faking enjoyment for the sake of avoiding hurt feelings was far less rude. So the Southern way had taught me to believe.
After seven years living in the Midwest I not only adapted to, but adopted the “Northern way” of making friends. It’s far more efficient and once you’re invited into someone’s home you can pretty much bet you’re going to be lifelong friends.
We’ve now been back in Tennessee for two years and yet our friendships made during our seven years in Ohio have proven my theory that when a friendship is made it’s for life.
Last week one of those friends, Lisa, texted me saying she wanted to visit soon. I was working on homeschool stuff and sitting in front of my planner. It was a Thursday and Corey was working through the weekend. “What about this weekend?” I replied.
The following day she and her three kids pulled into our driveway and the following day, after a very lazy morning spent over coffee and avocado toast, we headed to the mountains for the day to swim in the cold mountain water, eat the best ice cream in all the land and hang out of the sunroof in search of bears. (We saw one!)
There are two types of people in this world: The “Here I am!” types and the “There you are!” types. Lisa is a "There you are!" friend. She always leaves me feeling refreshed when our time together is over.
Being with her this past weekend reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from the book Bittersweet:
It never (ever ever) seems convenient to travel to keep connections strong with the people I love, but when I greet a Monday morning tired from a weekend spent opening my home to friends or driving far away to share air with someone I love I never regret it (ever ever).