I first heard this phrase from “Anne of Green Gables,” my favorite book series of all time. I can read that series over and over and always feel heart-warmed and happy again. Here’s a wonderful quote from the book:
Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.
It’s so true.
I’ve never been one that had one “best friend.” I had really close friends but through the years, even starting when I was pretty young, I realized how hard it was to keep friends. Each year, things changed. Over summer vacation, things changed. Friendships were always changing and unreliable. One year, I was “best friends” with a girl, and then the next year, she found another friend or a guy and we lost touch. So I guess in some ways, I’ve faced my own disappointments related to friends that make it hard to really depend on one person completely.
But I am lucky to now have many friends, different types, who are kindred spirits in so many different ways.
- Really close friends from college whom I’ve known for almost two decades now!! Friends I can count on to share my joys and sorrows. Friends who’ve all moved on with their own lives and families but with whom I can pick right up when I see them, even after many years apart.
- Friends, mentors, “family” (not blood-related) from when I first moved to Boston who have seen me through so many life challenges and successes. They’re there to share meals with, to house me when I need a bed, to carpool when my car breaks down, to help me store things when I leave the country for a few months!
- New friends from within the last few years whom I’ve met through work, through volunteering, through random connections. Those are some of the kindred spirit connections that just clicked because of similar interests, senses of humor, love of food, and that je-ne-sais-quoi that makes kindred spirits so magical. You don’t know what it is but you just fit together and enjoy each other’s company.
I like a lot of people. I didn’t realize this until talking with my cousin this past weekend, and he asked if there was anyone that I didn’t like. I had a hard time thinking of people I really didn’t like, and when I started to name people, I realized that these are just people who are selfish, self-absorbed, caught up in drama– people that I are generally not well-liked. But I also realized that I generally like people or at least will think positively of them. Is this part of my generally optimistic nature? Do I just not care that much so I have a benign attitude toward people (not a strong feeling of “like” or “dislike”)? I know I do like to be liked, so maybe I don’t really do things to have strong opinions about or from people.
I’m not always the best judge of character, so I might find a kindred-spirit-ness in someone quickly but then realize that maybe it wasn’t really a connection after all. In those cases, I just fade away from that person and move on to other company.
Kindred spirit-ness isn’t always apparent right away. Sometimes it develops over time as I get to know someone and realize how many connections we have. These slow-developers can be a nice surprise.
I just had dinner with a new kindred spirit whom I met through work, and it was amazing to find out how many connections we had as we talked over a good meal. Here’s a sampling of what we ate:
Charred Spanish Sardines on Toasted Tomato Tartine with Mustard Greens and Garlic-Lemon Vinaigrette
Kindred spirits are so important to building up one’s own support network. And it all comes back to being open to whatever comes and trusting that things happen for a reason. Like with this person I met for dinner and found all these connections with– we met about a year ago through where I work, and we just chatted a few times. We stayed in touch even after she was no longer associated with my workplace, and it wasn’t anything like a friendship, but more like an acquaintance that was nice to have. After having dinner last night, though, I can imagine that I’ll stay in touch with her even after my travels because we had that kind of kindred spirit-ness.
I hope to meet many more kindred spirits in my travels.