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Don’t Hoard Your Treats and Other Tips on Friendship

February 11, 2023

Another Way for week of February 3, 2023

Don’t Hoard Your Treats and Other Tips on Friendship

Editor’s note: Second in a five-week series on friendship.

Have you experienced the loneliness of not having friends? As a child I was not the kind of kid who freely shared pieces of gum from her pocket or purse. Rather than dishing out the goodies, I would quietly sneak a piece of gum or candy when no one was looking. Yes, I was that kid.

That’s partly a story for laughs but I am a bit of an introvert, but not always. Here’s more of my story.

My toughest year in dealing with friendship was when our family moved to north Florida. My two older sisters were in college or graduated so it was really just me and my younger brother who made the move with our parents my senior year of high school.

I had been excited about moving but it was much harder than I expected. My classmates—by the time they were seniors—had established their tight friendships and were friendly on the surface, but there was no real reason for them to welcome me into their circles. I am sure this has been frequently the case for others.


Luckily there was another girl who had moved in from California and was in the same boat as me. We hung out together at school; she had a cousin at school who also befriended me, and one other friend. So there were four or five of us around whom I felt comfortable joining at the lunch table or gossiping in the locker room getting dressed for gym—but not invited to parties or hanging out after school. I don’t fault any of the kids at that school but I missed the ample friendships I enjoyed my first three years of high school. I also don’t fault my parents: they suggested I could stay up north with my Dad’s sister, who had a lovely large home, and finish out my schooling in Indiana. But I always thought it would be cool to be the “new girl” and was ready for a new adventure. But it turned out to be the hardest year—friend-wise—of my life. North Florida was a different culture than northern Indiana. Looking at their pictures now, I realize how fortunate I was to have been befriended by each of the girls shown here–and others. (Some I have been able to keep up with a little through Facebook. I would love to hear from Delilah and Becky.)


Two years later, I was on the flip side of that in terms of having a college roommate who didn’t know a soul. In fact, she had not stepped foot on the campus until her parents helped her move in. She was African American, which was fine by me and by most of the students on the mostly white campus, but it was extra hard for her to make and find friends. I knew classmates from my former contacts in Indiana and church connections, and immediately found kinship working with others on the campus newspaper. Paula and I hung out together but gradually she made her own circle of friends, and I did too.

As adults, it seems tougher to make friends in some neighborhoods than others. Last week I mentioned my Virginia neighbor whose shoulder I literally cried on when I was overwhelmed with three small children. This Barbara (not the one pictured above) continues to be a soulmate but it probably took her reaching out to me and my husband that made us friends.

Some tips I’ve found that help in making new friendships is paying attention. When a neighbor stops to talk, do I keep raking leaves or shoveling snow? Or do I welcome the opportunity to talk across sidewalks and fences, or when someone does something for you that is especially nice. If you’ve just moved in and the neighbor seems trustworthy and friendly, perhaps inviting him or her in for coffee or hot chocolate can be the beginning of a relationship.

Too often these days it seems we tend to be more loving and friendly to those with similar views. I read some recent advice to “Hug someone with different political views than you.” That’s especially important in families: to keep the communication and love flowing, even when we don’t agree. Our extended families should be a first line of friends.  


What was your hardest experience in making friends?

Or, what was your best connection?

How do you keep up with friends at this stage of your life?

Comment here or write to me at email or snail mail: Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. A whole parade of people have marched through my mind as I read your post. LaVon, a girl I met in first grade, followed me all the way through high school. We were both plain girls back then and have sustained friendship to this day; in fact, she came to a book signing in Lititz, PA when Mennonite Daughter launched. The big problem with others in high school was that our class was divided into tracks: general, commercial, and college prep. I was the only plain girl in college prep, and I had friends there but couldn’t participate in parties and proms like the other girls.

    I had lots of friends in college, but one of my room-mates was a big problem. For the best part of a semester she would not speak to me, I deduced because she was jealous of my dating a boy she liked. At the end of the semester she bought me a beautifully etched bud base probably as a gesture to “make up” for bad behavior. I would never put up with such treatment as an adult.

    These days I have lots of friends, whom I categorize into “tribes.” There are church friends, Pilates friends, Bible Study friends, neighbor friends, writers’ club friends, etc. One neighbor became my friend because she ran up to me walking on our street and asked if I’d be her walking partner. Neighbor Barbara has appeared in at least one blog post and now in my latest memoir. She’s about my age and loves to read, but we are worlds apart otherwise: She’s Jewish, liberal-leaning, and is intimate with a man she’s not married to. I’m certain Jesus would approve of our friendship.

    Melodie, you really got me going here . . . !

    • Yes I did get you going, beautifully! Thanks for sharing and digging back! I think we all have categories as you say. I don’t belong to a writers’ club but I can relate to each of your other tribes!

      Speaking of parties and proms, at my Florida high school, I went to the prom but told my date I wouldn’t dance. He had no problem with that. My date for homecoming, I told him I couldn’t go to the homecoming dance, and as a football player, he was okay with that too.

      I’m glad I’m not in high school anymore …. !

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