Just over a year ago, I moved to Chicago. My husband’s new job, our new life here in Illinois, I was excited for it all. But naively, I didn’t believe it would change much in my life. I thought I’d still be just a few hours from my hometown, and I’d still see my friends often. Of course, right? Slowly, the reality set in. 7 hours from home and 16 hours from home are big differences. Living blocks from my best friend is different than living hundreds of miles away. This seems a given now, but at the time, I convinced myself nothing would change.
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.
Marcy Twete is the Founder and CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book “You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works.” At Career Girl Network, Marcy provides women with information, resources, and networking to empower them in their careers and to advance the work of women in business as a whole. Prior to launching Career Girl Network, Marcy worked in numerous nonprofit organizations and as a consultant in the field of nonprofit fundraising, marketing, and community relations. Marcy is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and a native of rural North Dakota. She is the Vice Chair of the Chicago Board of Directors for Step Up Women’s Network in Chicago and a member of the Advisory Board for Girls on the Run Twin Cities, and is dedicated to advancing the work of organizations that move the needle for women and girls worldwide.