When I met my daughter’s first-grade teacher three years ago, I knew she was a kindred spirit. I just adore her. She is warm, funny, wise and generous. I always feel optimistic around her.
When she left our school to teach at another, I was genuinely sad. I never tried to develop our friendship, and except for one lunch, I never saw her outside of school. But I always wished we had become better friends.
I ran into her today. Typically when I happen upon someone I know, I let them dictate whether and how much we talk. I never actually articulate this, but my underlying thought is: “I’m not sure if they want to talk to me. I don’t want to bother them.” I take the same approach to initiating get-togethers. I imagine inviting a friend over and think, they won’t want to. It’s amazing that I have any friends at all. This particular insecurity has stunted some friendships and prevented others from beginning.
So when I saw her, I walked right over and let her know how happy I was to see her. I gave her a big hug and gushed about how good it was to see her. She is such a warm person; she made me feel like she was just as happy to see me.
Later, in a nearly unprecedented move, I sent her a note to say that I would love to get together sometime. I hope she takes me up on it, but if she doesn’t that’s ok. At least I tried. At least I didn’t let fear of rejection guide my hand.