Drake has made millions off a new expression all the cool kids are saying: “No new friends.”
While I understand the message behind it is positive and about loyalty, it nevertheless, annoys me to no end.
The exclusive clique is not one I relate to. I can't get on board with this new hip term.
You won’t see me hashtagging it on any pictures or singing along to it on the radio.
This is one dance I will have to sit out.
So, a rapper has a song you don't like. Who cares?
That would be my first response too. However, it not only bothers me that this new phrase has caught on so incessantly; it troubles me that I can't jam to it, even if I want to.
As I entered my 30s, I realized I was missing out on a huge, fulfilling and rewarding part of my life: friendship.
Humans are social creatures. We are meant to have interactions with others, and I was lonely without a core group of solid friends.
That astounding hole became more evident the older I got, and it tugged at my soul as time went on.
I believe we are never too old to make friends, and should never want to stop cultivating relationships.
Here is why “make new friends” is the real platinum hit:
1. Some of us need new friends.
Growing up, I was absent from the friend-making scene.
Instead of finding, building and nurturing relationships, I was busy battling invisible demons, dealing with self-made problems, making a mess for others to clean up and being self-destructive.
My childhood friends dispersed. They went on to follow “normal” paths, have healthy experiences and involve themselves in activities that aided in bonding.
No one wanted to deal with the girl who had the constant issues. It got tiring, and rightfully so.
I’m not one of those women who can say I have grade school friends -- I don’t.
High school was no better. I was far too preoccupied with drugs, sex and trouble.
I did not have a clique or even a best friend. I had no one to go through my first period with, whisper about my first boyfriend with or get ready for my first prom with.
There were no pillow fights or pajama parties. There were no football games, pep rallies or double dates.
I hung out with people who wanted to get high like me, wanted to have sex with me or didn’t care about getting into trouble alongside me.
I don't know where most of them wound up. Some are dead, some are in jail and some straightened themselves out and are living rather mundane lives. Some are in the wind.
Regardless, we lost touch.
By the time I cleaned up my act, I was in college with a baby at the age of 19. I was barely able to stay afloat, let alone live the college life.
I did not live in a dorm, pledge a sorority, go on spring break or play a sport. I was not in any position to focus on friendships.
Because of my parenting duties, my social life was non-existent. I did not graduate college thinking of all the friends I would miss and the people I would need to stay in touch with.
I thought about how to make a living and how to continue being a mother.
Many of us weather storms, take the road less traveled and have hurdles to jump. It doesn't mean we are any less in need of friendships.
Maybe we are even more so.
2. Some of us want new friends.
I'm a self-declared introvert, partly due to genetics and largely due to circumstances.
I never liked small talk or networking. As I got older, making friends felt like work. I had enough work.
But I was not satisfied with the pool of friends I had. They were often ones I settled for, knew would not last long or who were situational.
During the decade since college, I have met many people. Whether I'm at a work event, out at a bar or club, in law school, nursing school or traveling, I constantly meet new people.
I have made friends -- some of whom I cherish very much -- but I want new friends.
I do not want to replace my existing friends, but rather, I want expand my base.
I desire relationships that come with ease, women I can open up to without hesitation, people I can travel with, a wing woman and a ride or die.
As long as my intentions are pure and my effort is genuine, it's all right to seek out new friendships.
New is riveting, and can be eye-opening. New equates to learning and expanding. New is growth.
I still have gaping holes in areas of my friendships. I want to fill them.
I want to find others I click with. I will have some things in common with them.
As I change, it's natural for friendships to evolve, end or begin. I want to find souls who enjoy what I enjoy.
I want people who are adventurous and passionate, intense and free-spirited, creative and fun.
Most of all, I want people who accept me for me, flaws and all.
3. Some of us like variety.
Many of the women I know are friends with other women similar to them. They have known one another for ages, and they have history.
Many live in the same area and do the same things.
Some have gotten married around the same time, had children close together and gab on the phone nightly. They do annual vacations to the same places, have book clubs on the same night, shop at the same stores and gossip about everything.
It is predictable and uneventful.
I like variety in everything, friends included.
I don't go to the same restaurant and order the same thing every time. I want to hear the specials, try something new and see what new sensation will touch my palate.
I am not the type to rent the same condo on the same beachfront year after year. I want to travel the whole world, see every continent and explore every country.
I want every vacation to be different and unique. I thrive on adventure, risk-taking, thrill-seeking and living.
I love to zip line, snorkel, hike and parasail. I want to bungee jump, scuba dive, sky dive and backpack. I relish different kinds of sex with different men.
I do not like routine. I do not appreciate habit. I try new things and go to new places.
With friendships, I also want variety. I pursue different personalities. I like ones that can contrast mine or complement mine.
I like people who challenge me or synchronize with me, push me and inspire me. We are not the same people we were 20 years ago, so why can't our friendships reflect that?
Variety makes the world go round.
4. Some of us are behind the learning curve.
Because I spent my childhood as an emotional basket case and my adolescence as a walking disaster, I am behind the learning curve.
Because I spent college being a new mother, law school running from an abusive ex and my late 20s moving to a new geographical location, I am behind the learning curve.
Because I jumped from profession to profession, never having a pool of colleagues to sift through or organizations to become involved in, I am behind the learning curve.
I do not have the childhood friend, the high school bestie, the sorority sisters, the colleagues and the other mothers. I am in a very unique situation.
I am raising a Jewish, biracial young woman alone in a city in the Bible Belt south.
I am still in school, still focused on being a mother and still an introvert. I am younger than my daughter’s friends’ mothers and older than my current classmates.
I am not yet accustomed to working with others and forming work friendships. I am behind the curve, lost in no man's land.
I am also pickier.
As we get older, we learn more about who we are and what we want. While that is considered a positive trait, it makes selecting friends more difficult.
If you are already behind the learning curve like me, this added criteria makes it all the more difficult, yet all the more worthwhile.
You may ask, "Do they have my values, beliefs and views? Do they enjoy the same things I do? Do they have kids?"
It soon becomes a subconscious test or mistaken checklist. Be careful not to screen people right out of the mix.
Do not let them screen you out either.
Yes, I am behind. But I have a lot to offer, a lot of love and a lot of life experiences.
I was born to be a friend. I may be behind the curve, but I have fight in me.
I have loyalty for others and go hard when it's needed.
Let the world know those of us behind the curve make the best friends.
5. Some of us keep growing in life and friendships.
Many of us continue to grow.
With that constant curiosity and exploration, we meet people.
Perhaps we meet them on our travels while pursuing our interests, en route to our dreams. We surround ourselves with what makes us happy.
The side effect is meeting new people we may naturally connect with. I never want to pass up a lasting connection if I think I have found it.
Because I am behind and slowly coming into my own now as opposed to a decade ago, people already have friends.
They are weary of you. You are a stranger trying hard, reaching out and showing interest.
They look at this with suspicion, and question your intentions. It's hard to explain you're simply searching for friendship.
You do not adopt a "no new friends" policy. Don’t give up. If they are worth it, they will come around.
If they aren’t, you will know sooner rather than later.
While you can't blindly give your loyalty and trust, you can't do everything with everyone. There are certain friends who fulfill different, yet equally important, needs in your life.
It's good to continue adding to your pool of friends. It's positive to continue nourishing connections.
It's awesome to make new friends.