1. The shock factor. I love the surprise of truly liking someone different and of being so comfortable with someone new. It's always a surprise to me when I make new friends. I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it's because the majority of people that I meet, I'm not particularly interested in befriending. I guess that makes me not much of a people person. But once in a while, I'll come across someone that comes from a very different background, is interested in completely different things, and for some reason, I feel so at home with them. I'm sure everyone has a friend or two that are like that--you have no idea why, but when they're around, you breath a sigh of relief and think Thank goodness that I don't have to try to think of something interesting to say... because really, you could probably say the random-est thing you're thinking of and they would probably find it interesting.
2. A new way of looking at things. No matter how many differences there are, there's always some uniting force between two new friends. Whether it's a shared interest in an activity, or a general curiosity about the world, or a similar sense of humor. But because of the differences, each person approaches these things from a different point of view. It is so amazing to share something lovely or strange or funny with a new friend and discover how their differing point of view makes it lovely or strange or funny to them. I suppose this doesn't really change when new friends become old friends...but it does become a little more predictable.
3. More things are special to me now, because they make me think of someone special. For example: a name. My new friend's name is Sara. I think I have known "Sara"s before, but now I have an association that makes me happy every time I hear the name. And it's not just the name, it's stories that we share, things that I know she'd find interesting, funny made-up words....the list could go on and on. I love that when you get to know someone new, a whole slew of things that would fall under the category of "boring" or "neutral" thoughts suddenly gets bumped to the "fun" and "happy" thoughts.
4. Oops....I guess this is a bonus one: taking fun pictures with new friends. *grin* Meet my new friend Sara. (This was when we went to the zoo together yesterday.) And I guess another one (5) that doesn't happen to apply in every new-friend scenario, but does here: Sara and I are both in-laws to the same family...which means we're family and we'll get to hang out together for years and years and eat ice cream for breakfast when we're together and get the hankering.
Yay for friends and family and friends that are family.