No New Friends

Listening to the radio yesterday, I heard DJ Khaled’s latest song, “No New Friends,” featuring our favorite go-to guy for hooks, Drake. I tried my best to listen with a musical ear (not possible), but I kept it on long enough to notice some things: (1) It was inspired by and uses a sample from Drake’s “Started From the Bottom” [No new n****, we don’t feel that…Where your real friends at?] and (2) people aren’t taking applications for homies anymore. They just aren’t letting random newbies come along for the ride. Makes sense.

This isn’t a new concept though. For the most part, we pride ourselves on keeping our circles of friends tightly knit, only dealing with people we’ve known since Day 1, whenever that was. Since then likeability, trust, reliability and consistency have all been tested and proven among the group. We’re so close, we refer to each other as family because we are, in some cases the only (reliable) family some of us have.

A couple of years ago, during a Housewives of Atlanta reunion, Nene Leakes was asked if she and Kim Zolciak could make amends of their broken bond, she replied, “No thanks, I’m good on friends.”

For the first time, I agreed with Nene. Then, I wasn’t open to the possibility of making new friends either. For what? In my small circle of friends, I’ve known each of them for atleast 15 years, and I consider them to be sisters. In a group, usually everyone plays their own role that’s crucial to the group dynamic without even knowing it. You know their attitudes and issues, and they know yours. You’ve shared both good and bad times together. Why risk that comfort for someone new? When welcoming someone new into your life, you’re open to the chance for drama or getting hurt. In the words of the great philosopher, Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

So, though I understand the logical side, I wonder if we’re shortchanging ourselves when we practice this “no new friends” mantra. What if you don’t live in the same place as your friends? What happens when you outgrow your bestie (it can happen) or there’s an irreparable rift in a friendship? Do you just shut your life down?

Often you hear about the benefits of “stretching yourself” when referring to your professional life, but it can be applied to friendships, as well. As an adult if you’ve been with the same group of friends since you were in middle school, by shutting others out, you might be missing out on things, perspectives and experiences someone could introduce you to. Sure, you and your current homies should be growing and evolving, but often we fail to take inventory and realize that as a collective, sometimes we’re not. We can say we’ve known each other since for forever, but yet, no value has been added to either of our lives.

No one’s really acknowledging the elephant in the room either. It takes work to build a friendship, it doesn’t happen overnight and it can happen randomly. Maybe it’s just easier to say “no new friends” because we think we’re too old, or we don’t think we have the time or the energy to invest in new folks. None of those things are actually true. One of my girlfriends once suggested to me that there’s no age limit on making friends. A new job and the mass exodus of college girlfriends left her wondering who there was to hang out with and wax philosophical. Right there in her work department were two women who have been great friends for atleast five years now. I guess she was right.

In shouting “no new friends,” we’re treating these relationships like slots or positions to be filled, instead of the blessing they can be whenever they may happen and with whomever they happen. If you’re good on friends, be thankful for them and keep it moving, but don’t intentionally keep the door closed on potential connections that can add value to your life. Tread lightly, but atleast get in the water first.

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