No New Friends?

by Alisha Tillery

No New Friends

Listening to the radio yesterday, I heard DJ Khaled’s latest song, “No New Friends,” featuring our favorite go-to guy for hooks, Drake. I tried my best to listen with a musical ear (not possible), but I kept it on long enough to notice some things: (1) It was inspired by and uses a sample from Drake’s “Started From the Bottom” [No new n****, we don’t feel that…Where your real friends at?] and (2) people aren’t taking applications for homies anymore. They just aren’t letting random newbies come along for the ride. Makes sense.

This isn’t a new concept though. For the most part, we pride ourselves on keeping our circles of friends tightly knit, only dealing with people we’ve known since Day 1, whenever that was. Since then likeability, trust, reliability and consistency have all been tested and proven among the group. We’re so close, we refer to each other as family because we are, in some cases the only (reliable) family some of us have.

A couple of years ago, during a Housewives of Atlanta reunion, Nene Leakes was asked if she and Kim Zolciak could make amends of their broken bond, she replied, “No thanks, I’m good on friends.”

For the first time, I agreed with Nene. Then, I wasn’t open to the possibility of making new friends either. For what? In my small circle of friends, I’ve known each of them for atleast 15 years, and I consider them to be sisters. In a group, usually everyone plays their own role that’s crucial to the group dynamic without even knowing it. You know their attitudes and issues, and they know yours. You’ve shared both good and bad times together. Why risk that comfort for someone new? When welcoming someone new into your life, you’re open to the chance for drama or getting hurt. In the words of the great philosopher, Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

So, though I understand the logical side, I wonder if we’re shortchanging ourselves when we practice this “no new friends” mantra. What if you don’t live in the same place as your friends? What happens when you outgrow your bestie (it can happen) or there’s an irreparable rift in a friendship? Do you just shut your life down?

Often you hear about the benefits of “stretching yourself” when referring to your professional life, but it can be applied to friendships, as well. As an adult if you’ve been with the same group of friends since you were in middle school, by shutting others out, you might be missing out on things, perspectives and experiences someone could introduce you to. Sure, you and your current homies should be growing and evolving, but often we fail to take inventory and realize that as a collective, sometimes we’re not. We can say we’ve known each other since for forever, but yet, no value has been added to either of our lives.

No one’s really acknowledging the elephant in the room either. It takes work to build a friendship, it doesn’t happen overnight and it can happen randomly. Maybe it’s just easier to say “no new friends” because we think we’re too old, or we don’t think we have the time or the energy to invest in new folks. None of those things are actually true. One of my girlfriends once suggested to me that there’s no age limit on making friends. A new job and the mass exodus of college girlfriends left her wondering who there was to hang out with and wax philosophical. Right there in her work department were two women who have been great friends for atleast five years now. I guess she was right.

In shouting “no new friends,” we’re treating these relationships like slots or positions to be filled, instead of the blessing they can be whenever they may happen and with whomever they happen. If you’re good on friends, be thankful for them and keep it moving, but don’t intentionally keep the door closed on potential connections that can add value to your life. Tread lightly, but atleast get in the water first.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    I don’t close myself off to the possibility.

  • Anonymous

    That’s how I feel. Some people aren’t at a point where they’ve acquired that level of trust in their circles. But, certainly, when I’ve reached that point I won’t be letting new people in.

  • Teddy

    I”m in college now, and most of my good friends have gone off for school or are too busy. So I’m always open to having more friends and meeting new people, although only a few of these people will end up being close friends.

  • MimiLuvs

    Of all of the weeks that this article could’ve been posted…
    This week marked the sixth anniversary of the death of a dear friend of mine. I had met her when I was twenty-one and I had the mindset of “I don’t need any new friends, but thanks anyway”. We were co-workers. She was the person who made the first contact by asking me about my health after she witnessed me trying to be discreet with an emotional breakdown. Looking back on it now, I would say that she was the friend that truly had my back.

  • Kay

    It is really hard to make new friends when you’re an adult, especially when you begin hitting your late 20′s and early 30′s. People at this point are set in their ways and don’t want to begin the process all over again of connecting with new people. Surprisingly, I met one of my best friends about five years ago, Though I have to say we weren’t besties off the bat, it took a lot longer than it would have had we been younger and more open. I’ve learned to not close myself off and if I meet new people, I’m willing to see what they’re about.

  • cosmicsistren

    I think it is really sad to say that you no longer want to make new friends. I think meeting new people is great. The blessing in getting older is that you can discern quickly the warning signs of whether this person might not be someone you want into your life. However, to not open yourself to anyone simply because you haven’t invested years together is really sad. Not all friendships last forever. What are you going to do if the friends you have held on to for so long go away. What do you do then?

  • MCross

    it is hard to make new friends and the old friends are like gold to me. But it’s naive and silly and a bit elitist to say No New Friends. You never know who may come into your life a be a blessing. Drake is just talking.

  • LN

    I think part of it is that making new friends is hard!!! Damn, hanging onto my old friends is hard enough. They’re all over the country doing all kinds of things. Thank God for Facebook!

    I’m definitely not in the market for new friends. If I do make them, it’s through activities for my son or out of something work-related.

    But just cruising for someone to hit the club with? Those days are over and done.

  • LN

    This is unrelated. But you definitely don’t look 27 in your profile pic. When I started reading your comment I thought you were still in college!!

  • Laneé

    I loved this post, I just wrote about this on my blog the other day. I’m currently opening myself up to making new friends and letting go of some old friends. I have very few friends where I live compared to the abundance of friends I had before I moved to Atlanta. At first I blammed it on being older and it’s hard to make friends, then I blamed it on women and thinking majority of them where drama, but I really want to branch out and meet new people and take the risk of letting new people in. Certain friendships that I’ve had for a while just aren’t going anywhere and the friendships aren’t evolving, I’m kind of over it. Great post!

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  • Missi

    I’m so sorry for the loss of someone special to you. I do hope you do something this weekend to honor the friendship that you shared with her.

  • binks

    Agreed! That is why I love the unknown author poem stating “people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime”. Not everybody you meet is supposed to stay in your life forever but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t close yourself off to the possibilities. If the opportunity arises for me to befriend someone or know someone new I take it even if it doesn’t go in the direction of friendship… it is always great to have a wealth of different people in your network who serves different functions, purposes and support.

  • cosmicsistren

    @binks – I totally agree. I feel if I don’t meet new people then I am not growing and being challenged. That quote is really true. People do come into your life for “a reason, a season or a lifetime”!

  • Chacha1

    I’m not looking for new friends because the ones I have are good enough. I have 4 friends, and all of them are related to me in some kind of way except one (who I met as a young girl). But I’m not closing the door to potential new friends. If I made a new friend, the relationship would have to happen naturally and not forced. I’m not asking any new people to hang out anymore–if we happen to see each other out and hit it off, cool. Nor am I expecting friendships to bloom from my kid’s friend’s mothers–if we happen to hit it off and start a friendship, cool. If they happen, they happen, and they haven’t, but I’m fine with that. My current friendships are deep enough.

  • Pema

    I am too busy with my job, my family, and trying to keep in touch with my old friends. I meet new people constantly through my work but I don’t know if I would call them friends.

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  • simplyme

    The perpetual new kid in me is so not a fan of the “no new friends” mantra.

    Aside from that personal bias from growing up, I believe making connections with other human beings is what life is all about. Its an important aspect of continuously growing as a person. You are never too stable in your friendships or life in general to make a new friend. Life by nature is dynamic…. and as much as we try to resist that and pretend its not… it will always be dynamic. People change, situations change, people are born, people die etc. I’ve found that the ride is a lot easier if you let go of trying to be so established in the present (which I think is associated with fear a lot of the time) and leave ourselves open not only to new situations but to new people.

  • Misty_Moonsilver

    Its not a good song….lyrically or in anyway…. I’m actually disappointed. And Rick Ross is in it so I feel even worse about it.

  • MimiLuvs

    Thank you!
    I am actually 29 (I am about to turn 30 in a month). I met my friend when I was 21. We were friends for two years before she passed away.

  • Tash

    I met an individual who who emailed me to tell me I was being too friendly. He vowed to his a “no new friends policy” when his dad passed. Needless to say, I was stupefied. I believe in that adage: people come into your life for a reason, season, or lifetime. In a way, this policy is like playing God. Who am I to say who is supposed to serve as a blessing to me and vice versa?

  • nattynay

    Well this article is definitely a breath of fresh air!

    When I heard this song I thought “Everyone friend was once a stranger…”

    Most of the comments here actually made me feel great to know that people (esp. women) aren’t so impersonal and willing to be open to establishing new friendships. It is a bit difficult to meet new people as an adult when you’re not in certain surroundings. It’s even harder when you have “grown” people living by the “No new friends” or “Mean Girls” clique-ish mentality.

    When I am able to mix and mingle, I leave myself open to the prospect of forming relationships with awesome people.

    Peace :)

  • Sqrrll

    Great article :) I move around all the time, and I have to make new friends a lot. Some of them stay. Some of them we move past each other.

    Of course, something innate in me likes the NO NEW FRIENDS battle cry. Think about Facebook. No new friends. Thanks, though.

    I’ll be thinking about this for a while. Thanks for calling it out.

  • soulfullyreal

    I think with celebs like Drake, the whole “No New Friends” idea isn’t too far fetched because they don’t know who really wants to be a friend, and who just wants something (a hook-up, fame by association, money to “borrow,” etc.) so they’d rather close the circle off to new comers.

    As far as us regular folks, I think it’s very important to foster healthy friendships for your own sanity and happiness, as well as for the social perks that come with (Job hookups, not having to go to your cousins wedding alone, etc.)

  • addassamari

    I had to go and look up the Drake song to which this piece referred so that I could have a foundational context. I am inclined to agree with the no “new friends” concept mainly because as Drake said we have friends who have been there since Day 1. That’s the folks who stuck with us through thick, thin, not so thick and super thin. We all have those people in our lives (well I hope we do) who would drop everything to come to our aid and vice versa. They are the ones who encouraged when we meet setbacks, cried when we hurt, and celebrated every every triumph with us.

    I get it. We all eventually, hopefully, get to a point in life where our inner circle feels complete so we don’t need to add anyone else. True friendships are cultivated, they take diligence and hard work to maintain, to keep strong and resilient.

    Sometimes we use the term “friend” too loosely and it does not have the same connotation from person to person. In this instance and in Drakes’ song, I think the term “friends” is more in keeping with the idea so close personal friends – the people who grew to know the real you, the folks who are there for you and not for what they can get out of you.

    I look at it more as I am not closing off avenues to meeting new people and developing relationships, but I am not in a hurry to add any more close friends to the mix I already have.

  • solfresh

    As I’m learning, no new friends can be dangerous. I’ve painfully learned that you are an individual. You’re not going to have the same goals and visions as your friends. You don’t have the same threshold for pain, struggle, or success as your friends. Holding on to old, established friends will hold you back from opportunities. When I started my career, I learned that eventually to really get to where I wanted to be I’d have to let go or at least distance myself to be able to connect with people my age who are in my industry. Those are the people who will look out for me, counsel me, and provide opportunities as I would do the same. If you want to be a business owner you have to hang out with them. If no one in your group owns a business you’re cheating yourself. Sadly, growth happens when you least expect it and you never know how either party will react to the growth. You’ve heard it before, someone in a group is experiencing success (losing weight, a new business, paying off debt, a new relationship etc.) all of sudden that person is bad for neglecting the group or w.e. Now the person is feeling guilty for changing…for the better! At that point it’s time to move on from people. Sadly I’ve seen people pass on great opportunities of growth because they feared losing friends, which is insane to me! If you’re goal is to move up in life and do bigger and better things with yourself you’re going to outgrow some people. I’ve lost a few friends this exact same way. Personally, it’s never love lost and I don’t view it as negative. This perspective determines whether you’ll be cool with your old friends or not.

    As I get older I realize, just as money or a man shouldn’t define you neither should friends. Your loyalty should always be with yourself as an individual. People no matter how good they are or how long they’ve been your friend can betray or disappoint you, so why give them that power?

  • E1usive_Man

    This is the most logical thing I have read all day!

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