ONE OF THE HARDEST things we had to do when we moved to our new home two years ago was leave so many good friends behind. A couple of them have visited us since, and we’ve been back to our old home, as well. But making friends in a brand new community has proven to be a daunting task. Most of the residents here are much younger (they probably average in their mid- to late-thirties) and they almost all work.
A couple of months ago, I was pleased to meet a new resident about my age in our townhome community. I was out walking Willow, when he and I bumped into each other. His name was Gary, and we chatted for about twenty minutes or so, learned a bit about each other, and parted company with the expectation that we would run into each other now and then. Each morning when I walked Willow, I would pass his residence, and I would always be disappointed to not find him in evidence. I had hoped we might become friends, but I was rapidly losing faith that that would become a reality.
Then, about two weeks ago, when Becky and I were walking Willow in the evening, a couple approached from the opposite direction. “Is that you, Joe?” said the man. It was Gary. “Hey,” I said, “where the heck have you been?” I explained that I had been keeping an eye out for him ever since we first met. He smiled. “I’ve been right here. I’ve been looking for you, too.” He introduced us to his wife, Diane, and I introduced them to Becky. Then, the talking began in earnest. It turns out that we have lots in common, including the fact that our wedding anniversaries are just one day apart.
Throughout most of our married life (it’ll be 40 years this August), we have almost always been the ones to initiate friendships, usually by inviting the new couple to our home for coffee and cake, or a casual lunch. Much to our surprise, the tables were reversed this time, and we were asked to text Gary and Diane with our contact information, with the promise that they’d have us over soon. Much to my surprise, only a few days had passed when the phone rang and we were invited to their house for coffee the following Monday morning.
I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that we spent a delightful couple of hours at the home of Gary and Diane, and I think it’s fair to say we’ve made a start toward a truly meaningful friendship. There are no guarantees in life, but one thing is for certain: If you are willing to put yourself out there, it’s never too late to make new friends—even at the age of 76.