When you're a little kid it's easy to make friends. You're at the park or in school and somehow you just start playing together.
As you get older this can change, you get into high school, or at least for me it was high school, and cliques began forming. My elementary school experience everyone was friends because there were only 20 people from kindergarten to grade seven.
So, leaving that and getting to high school in Shaunavon was terrifying. Everyone already had their group of friends and coming into that was difficult. It took a couple of years to really find a few good friends and since then it's been hard to keep up with each other, though we do meet up on occasion.
University was another learning curve. I went to a school where no one else from my grade decided to go to, I was essentially on my own. A friend who was a year older already had her own life there and so she'd invite me out on occasion, but being the more introverted person I am it always felt like I was out of place.
Luckily I wasn't the only person in residence that was feeling this way. I lived in a dorm on a floor with others in the same boat. My roommate and I began to eat together and walk around campus together. I sat in most of my classes by myself though, until one day I ran into someone on my floor that looked familiar.
We discovered we had numerous classes together and I simply told her I was going to go sit with her. We're still quite good friends today, in fact this group remains some of my best friends even three years after leaving Lethbridge.
When I got to Carlyle though, it felt like a challenge again. How do you make friends in the real world? You're not in classes together or living on the same floor and for about six months I worked, went home, and proceeded to do this for awhile. I remember people telling me to go to the bar and there'd be lots of people there, but it just sounded off.
I've become involved in various things now and have made a few really good friends, while also having numerous acquaintances through various involvements that will now stop and say hello, it's not quite as lonely here as it once was.
This past winter I was introduced to someone in the same boat as me. She moved to Carlyle two years ago and had a few friends, but we were introduced and became fast friends. She's found a new job though and will be headed off, further north and closer to where she grew up, but hopefully we're able to stay in touch.
Essentially friendships and the meaning of "friend" changes over the years. When you're out playing at the playground as a child, you can come across another youth approximately your age and can become instant friends whether you see them again or not you can sit and play as if you've known each other for ever.
It just seems so simple for a kid to do, whereas getting older you find a group and usually stick with them for the most part until a change occurs. This being heading off to university or someone moving away, you can keep in touch with them or sometimes you slowly lose contact. Friends can come and go, and if you meet up with ones from the past it can often feel like you can pick up right where you left off.
In the end one of my favourite friendship quotes by the actor Bill Murray sums up what friendship is, "Friendship is so weird you just pick a human you've met and you're like 'yep I like this one' and you just do stuff with them."