I reached a curious milestone this week: For the first time in at least a decade, probably longer, I have now gone a full year without making any new friends named Sarah (or Sara or any other creative spelling thereof).
First, some back story. In 2009, over a span of just a few weeks, I noticed that had four new Facebook friends named Sarah (technically three Sarahs and one Sara), and that Sarah/Sara had become the most common first name among my Facebook friends, with ten. Sarah has never relinquished this position among first names in the ensuing years. I have a few inside jokes with friends involving having so many friends named Sarah (and some of the Sarahs are in on the jokes as well, like when I got a birthday card signed “Sarah #21”). I’m not going to get into those too much now, because most of these are the kind of inside jokes that don’t make sense when I try to explain them.
Of course, when it occurred to me a few weeks ago that I hadn’t met a new Sarah in a long time, the first thing I wondered was, is there a discernible reason for this? And I think there is, but the reason has nothing to do with the name Sarah specifically.
I blame this on the fact that I just haven’t met many people in the last year in general. I used to try to connect on social media with just about everyone I met. I don’t do that anymore, at least not right away, because I came to realize that I just didn’t really want to be friends with everyone I met. There are a lot of jerks out there, and people who are too negative in the kind of way I didn’t need to be around. I also just don’t meet as many people as I used to. Most of the people I met over the last decade came through dancing, and I just don’t go dancing as often as I used to.
And, of course, this isn’t a bad thing. Quality is better than quantity when it comes to friendships and relationships. I spent so much of my childhood having so few friends that it took me a while to learn this lesson, but it’s true. I don’t need to stay connected with everyone I meet; I have control over who I do and don’t try to be friends with. And that’s a good thing.