By Teresa D. Cochran

Through the years you will meet and have friends from elementary, junior high, high school, college, work, and other social situations.  If you notice, people grow and evolve over time and their friendships and social circles change over the years.  So who you were as a person and a friend when you were, let’s say, 15 is not the person who you are at 25, 35, or even 45.  We all evolve at a different pace and different levels over our lifetime.  Some of us would prefer not to evolve at all. You have the growers and evolvers and then you have the, I just want everything to stay the samers.  So with that said, it’s all about finding your people in life.

Who makes you feel comfortable, accepted, cool no matter what you say or do? That you’re not weird or made fun of for the way you think. Who makes you feel like you?  Those are your people.  So how do you find your people in life?  Most people start out in school as children making friends with their classmates and the other children in the neighborhood.  Over time we lose those friends to changing class schedules, their families move away, or they grow and evolve into a new social circle that doesn’t include you or vice versa.

Then, as you grow into your 20s and 30s you meet new friends and friends of their friends, and so on, creating your own new social circle.  This is the time that you will start to realize whether you are a grower and evolver or a, I just want everything to stay the samer.  Whoever you are it’s okay.  You can find your people.  All you have to do is follow your interests, your instincts, and your heart.

How do you follow your interests, your instincts, and your heart?  It’s not easy for everyone.  Some people find themselves and their people early on in life.  They’re done.  They have their social circle and it’s not going anywhere.  They have friends for life.  Whatever their mutual interests are they found it early on.  For others, friends will come and go out of their lives over the years.  When this happens you have to see it as some people, like your family, are meant to be in your life for your entire life.  Friends who come and go mean you are a person who is evolving and growing toward others who have the same interests, likes, and dislikes.

First, pursue your interests by going to a social gathering that shares your likes or dislikes.  While there, use your instincts to determine if you feel comfortable and accepted at those social gatherings.  Then, follow your heart to make your decision on whether that social gathering is something you would like to attend again.  Finally, attend those social gatherings and just enjoy your interests.  The social interaction will come naturally.

There is a saying that some people are only meant to come into your life for the period of time that they are meant to be in your life.  Research shows that most people can only retain 7 to 9 close social friends at a time.  So think about it.  You can’t keep every friend you’ve ever met in your life from childhood.  If you did that you would run out of slots and then think about all of the wonderful new people that might want to come into your life that you would not have space for.

You will make new and different friends over the years.  Some who may influence your likes and dislikes.  Sometimes, it’s the luck of the draw or what I like to call fate. Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to sit in a cubicle in your office and end up with the most amazing friend in the world sitting next to you.  Someone who has the same interests, likes, and dislikes.  Someone who makes you feel like you. How do you think that happens?  It’s called fate.  Then, being friends with that person leads you to new and extended social circles where everyone there has similar interests and likes.

So you find yourself standing at a party at 41 years old realizing, I have just found my people.  It doesn’t matter how long the journey takes as long as you get there.  We all have a different journey.  Some people find their comfortable place early in life. Others, it takes years.  It doesn’t matter whether you like things to stay the same or if you like to spread your wings and fly.  It’s all about finding your own comfort zone.  You decide.  When you find those people in your life that accept you for who you are and embrace it, those are your people.

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