Getting to know someone new is so exhilarating. The excitement as plans are made, the butterflies in your stomach when you meet for the first time, and the conscious effort to remember every detail of the first encounter is enjoyable. When I was in high school and experienced this for the first time with my first boyfriend I later thought, why do we get to have this experience only a couple of times, if that, in our life and that’s it? I didn’t ever understand why the excitement of getting to know someone new could be a bad thing or should stop after you are faithful in a relationship. Not everyone I meet and get to know needs to fill a certain role in my life. Meaning, every person I have coffee with does not need to be a person I need to date and love. I can appreciate many different people for all the different things they can offer. For example, my running friend Matt B. has a lot of common interests with me and is a gifted listener. I look forward to getting together with him for a run or an evening out for stimulating conversation. It does not happen often due to schedules and such but I can appreciate the time we do get which makes it even more valuable. Normally our significant others would raise their hackles and not allow the time we have together but through communication and a clear understanding with all that are involved, we are able to enjoy the moment and each other’s company when we get the chance.
I have friends that are more so into doing outdoor activities with me and a few that are more emotional friends I can relate to. When you are a person that does not really share your life with too many people in an in-depth level it’s exciting to find a few special people to let your guards down and get to them as they get to know you. This is a pleasurable experience to go through, for me at least. Opening up to people you trust definitely puts you in a vulnerable position but it is worth the risk in my opinion when you create bonds with people you truly care for and vice versa.
To be able to get to a point where you can enjoy these experiences with other people, I believe, takes a huge amount of love and security with your significant other. Matt and I have always had a secure relationship so jealousy has not been too big of an issue with us. Mark has many more insecurities about himself and therefore does not feel as secure in his and my relationship at times. The time this seems to surface is when I am making new friends. We have worked very hard on this issue and have come a very long way but it took some serious effort. He has in the past asked me to just be the three of us and not involve others on a more personal level. I refused this because I feel it is healthy and fulfilling to meet new people and create more substantial bonds with others. If I didn’t believe this then Mark and I would never have happened.
Not only is the excitement of getting to know new people fun but it can also benefit your life. Meeting new people exposes you to new interests and perspectives in general. Getting to know Matt has introduced me to a nudist lifestyle that I never knew about and really enjoy. Even having conversations with people that share their passions with you can help you see things in a different light which I think we can all benefit from. Society is narrow-minded enough and I think we should all embrace life in as many angles and perspectives as we can. I am passionate about running and polyamory so having a conversation with me about my views on it all may enlighten someone to a new lifestyle or challenge they may not have thought of or knew about.
Meeting new people also helps my relationships because I can do things with people that don’t particularly interest Matt or Mark. Even having a friend pace me while I run like Matt B. has done has been a wonderful experience. We were able to get lost in a deep discussion about a variety of topics that I am grateful I had the opportunity to have with him. This not only kept my attention but it really helped the miles go by when I was very tired and in pain from the long run of the race. As a matter of fact, he paced me for the last 33 miles at the Hallucination race, plus an extra two miles because we missed our turn and had to backtrack. We still tease about that mistake which is fun. Towards the end of a long race when the music, movies, and audio books no longer are appealing it is much more fun to talk with someone. I was grateful for the opportunity and experience him and I had.
If there are interests you have wanted to explore I suggest you find a group that does it and dive in. If you want to learn how to rock climb there are rock climbing groups out there that you can join and make new friends doing something you enjoy. Or if you want to paint go paint with others and learn new techniques as you make new friends. Just because a person is married or in a serious relationship does not mean they can’t associate with other people that enjoy the things they do. Again, this takes communication and security with your primary and possibly secondary relationships before you take off on new adventures but it’s possible and should be done in my opinion. This opens up more opportunities to experience life.
The excitement of the unknown is part of the thrill as well. New people and experiences can lead you to all sorts of adventures. Of course, people need to use their common sense and avoid potentially dangerous situations. There are plenty of public places to go and people to meet that are in a safe environment. Fear can prevent opportunities from happening so I try to be cautious and safe but go for the new and exciting experience. I joined a road biking meet-up group and met some awesome new people there. One of the ladies that regularly go on the rides is also into triathlon. She introduced me to an open water swim group that meets once a week and simulates an Ironman swim. That was wonderful to meet her and to then join a new group. You never know who you will meet and where it will lead and that is exciting to me.
Stimulating conversation is a huge draw for me in getting to know someone new. I love getting to know someone and having an in-depth conversation about a mutual interest. Sometimes this is the main or only thing we share with each other but I find it very valuable. Getting immersed in a conversation and not even realizing how much time has gone by is a magnificent experience. I crave the experience and seek it out with new people. I don’t think it is wrong at all to make new friends that I can relate to on an intellectual level. This is one of the main characteristics I look for in new friends. Of course, I have great conversations with Matt and Mark on a consistent base but what is wrong with variety. New people, new perspectives, exposure to different ways of thinking means a great experience for me and I love it. You don’t know how a conversation will go until you try. I know that these days it is easy to get involved in conversations online in the safety of your home but the thrill of meeting with people and having an in-depth conversation in real time without the mixed signals of typing is much more fun. In person, you can see a person’s expressions and it forces you to communicate in the moment. Some of these experiences have been so valuable to me and I am fortunate that I have a supporting husband and boyfriend that encourage me to experience them.