In the last year, I’ve worked diligently to keep the friendships I care about in Minneapolis. I asked myself over and over: How do I keep the relationships strong from a distance? How do I take care of people’s feelings and mine at the same time knowing I won’t see them tomorrow? It took time and effort, but I’ve maintained incredible friendships and work hard at keeping in touch (sometimes failing, but always trying).
The other difficult piece I didn’t expect was finding new friends. I didn’t want replacement friends, so at first, I kept people at arm’s length. Colleagues, co-workers, networking contacts. I let them know me, but only so much. But somewhere along the line, they became confidants as well, new friends I loved and cherished.
This weekend, I had an important a-ha moment. I stood in my condo on Saturday night, a room full of people around me eating chili and drinking wine, and I realized, “I HAVE FRIENDS!” These were not just people who were meeting me for the first time, or nice to me because I was new to Chicago. These were people who accepted an invitation to a dinner party at my home on a Saturday night. I guess that’s an “they like me, they really like me” moment for me.
It took a year – but here I am, a job I love, friends I care about, and a city I’m beginning to call home. It’s all a work in progress.