Finding Friends Along the Way

By: Lara Winburn

Did you know the definition of extrovert is someone who is energized by being around people?  That is me – a selfish extrovert pulling all my energy from all of you kind folks. Just drawing every ounce of energy from someone else until they are totally depleted…I am sure it is totally exhausting to live with me. While I am busy, mooching energy off others, I have made many wonderful and wise and fun and crazy friends along the way.

Precious friends were discovered in a dorm or in a class and later in a job or at a playdate. But I know from experience you have to keep you heart open to finding friends along life’s way, I have found them in some fairly unlike places.

Example A: In 2004, I went to vote in the presidential election. I had not been in Columbia long and had few friends. I noticed the girl in front of me had an awesome belt. I complimented said belt. She thanked me and then went on a rant about the drug store promising her pictures would be ready in an hour and then an hour later they were not ready. The employee maintained that “one hour photo” was more of an estimate than a guarantee. (It might be important to point out in 2004, we were not taking photos with our phones and we were keeping them in albums, not online.) I appreciated her passion for timeliness and quick wit.  We continued to talk as we waited in line, we went in to the booth where we had already determined we would cancel each other’s votes out, and then she invited my roommate and me to lunch. We have been friends ever since.  There she was right there in front of me, literally, just doing her civic duty in a smashing belt. We have very different opinions about politics and college football, but she is one of the most fun, kind and loyal friends I know. And what I would have missed had I not kept my eyes open (even if I was eyeing her belt)?

The girls

Example B: When I was pregnant with baby #1, I was told on several occasions that “Katie and Matt” were due around the same time I was. I knew some Katies and even a few Matts but I did not know these infamous people that EVERYONE kept mentioning. Fast forward 9 very long months, I go to the hospital to be induced. (Baby eviction notice!) I experience the miracle of childbirth and our baby girl is here. The next day there is a knock on my hospital door. (No, it was not one of the many people checking your blood pressure, your pain level or you temperature.)  It was the infamous Matt and Katie. Their daughter was born hours before ours-same day, same doctor. I do not remember much of this first meeting due to the blur of a new baby, epidural, and dim lighting. But when these girls were a month old I emailed Katie to see how things in her newborn world were going. We decided to celebrate the girls’ one-month birthday/our new parent survival together.  (That’s them having a rager above.) We have celebrated every month for the past 41 months. They are the Godparents to my second born and have been our dearest friends as we embark on this parenthood thing. See, new friends right down the hall in a hospital.

So let’s all try to keep our hearts and minds open, and maybe even some time in our calendars open as well, to connect with friends, old and new. This post is for all of the friends I have picked up along the way and I thank them for all of the energy I have stolen.

2 thoughts on “Finding Friends Along the Way

  1. I love this! I know I have a friend that I picked up years ago while bonding over a certain Carrie Bradshaw kind of show and who much later was one of the first to come by with food (pimiento cheese) when I had a newborn that absolutely would not sleep a wink. That’s what friends are for…or maybe they are for stealing energy 😉 Great job, Lara!

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