It might seem crazy that I’m writing about my friend rule during a stay at home order and a pandemic wrecking havoc on the world. When this is all over we will probably run and hug the mailman we will be so excited to be around people again. And as for friends…well everyone will be our friend right?
Even with the anticipated excitement of being able to socialize in person again, I still think it’s a good idea to have boundaries regarding the people you surround yourself with. I personally have a 3 strike rule for new friendships. That might sound awful but it’s really not. These “strikes” are just boundaries that I have made to insure that I make the right friends.
Here is my rule when it comes to new friendships. I give the people I meet and want to be friends with 3 chances to be my friend and if they don’t show interest after the 3 chances then I stop trying. That simple. Not so terrible right? Let me explain with an example.
A new girl, Cindy, moves into my neighborhood. I invite Cindy to do something with me. She says, “Thanks but I’m busy. Maybe another time?” She’s very polite but not available. I think okay no problem. I’ll ask again. STRIKE 1
Next time I invite Cindy to do something she has to decline again. In between both of these invites she has not reached out to me at all. STRIKE 2
I reach out to Cindy a third time, but again she declines and doesn’t show any interest in scheduling another time for us to get together. She doesn’t say anything that even resembles, “I can’t on Tuesday but next Thursday I’m free. Want to get together then?” STRIKE 3.
Cindy is no longer a woman I will be reaching out to. We may very well become great friends later on, but only if she initiates it. If she reaches out to me and tries to plan something then I look forward to it and the chances of us becoming friends is high.
You see, I believe in being around people who want to be around me. If after three attempts and invitations to hang out there is no reciprocation on her part, I will put my focus on making other friends. I don’t hold a grudge against Cindy and I don’t judge her or wish her evil. I don’t gossip about her or tell others “oh yeah I tried to hang out 3 times and she didn’t want to be my friend.” No nothing like that. I don’t hold anything against her, I just won’t reach out to her anymore until I see some level of interest from her.
You might be saying well what if Cindy really was busy or had other plans on the days you invited her. To which I would respond yes, she probably did. The difference is that if Cindy really was interested in being my friend and I invited her to do something (3 times!) then she would have suggested another day to get together. It’s that simple.
It’s just like dating but for friends. If a guy asked you out three times and you politely declined each time didn’t you hope he got the hint and didn’t ask a fourth time? It just gets awkward. I don’t want to force anyone to be my friend.
I love all my friends and I love having so many friends. I value friendship. I don’t think there is ever a point of having too many friends, I always want more. I hope my friends know how much I value them. My life is better with each and every friend I have.
What do you think of my 3 strikes rule? Do you have any boundaries around new friendships? If so, I would love to hear them.