Monday, January 3, 2011

By Request – New Friends

Make new friends,
But keep the old
One is silver
And the other’s gold.


I don’t make friends easily. Sure, I am friendly with people and comfortable starting conversations with strangers and new acquaintances, but I’m never quite sure how to make the transition from casual work/church/wherever conversations to real friendship, spending time together and building a relationship. Maybe I’m picky, maybe people only like me in small doses, I don’t know. It’s something that I think about sometimes, but in a curious way, it’s not something that bothers me.

When I moved to Nebraska in August, I knew it would take time for me to find friends. It’s hard to make new friends when you are a grown up. It’s especially hard to make new friends when you are a single, childless, petless, female grown up in a new town – where do you find like-minded people when you don’t have an automatic jumping-off point? Since I’m not a guy, I don’t hang out in sports bars, and I can’t afford my hobbies (quilting, needlework, and beading) anymore, so work and church are the only obvious spots.

I started my new job in late October. On my second or third day there, BossMan (hee, that makes him sound like a paunchy, middle-aged, middle manager which he is so not!) sent me to sit with three more experienced coworkers to observe and absorb some of the process of our work. The first two were pleasant, friendly ladies who were very nice but also very business-only. I enjoyed sitting with them but didn’t feel anything more than a collegial, workmate connection.

When I sat down with Sarah, the last of the three, it was one of those moments when my soul said, “Hey, I know you!” Maybe that sounds weird but it happens to me every once in a while – I meet someone and it’s like they’ve always been there but I haven’t seen them for a very, very long time. Sarah was professional and described what she was doing but we also started chatting and I liked her right away. I remember thinking, “Cool – I found my girl!”

Making friends is like dating: “Does she really like me? Does she like me as much as I like her? Should I ask her out for lunch? Am I coming on too strong?” For the next couple of weeks, Sarah and I chatted occasionally but I, with my typical reticence when it comes to new relationships (one of the reasons I call myself an introverted extrovert), played it cool. Then one day I was having a bad day, feeling really lonely, and I mentioned it to Sarah. She immediately invited me to a trick or treat party hosted by some other friends and I accepted. Sarah later told me that she’d been looking for an opening and my admission of loneliness was perfect timing. I guess I’m not the only one who isn’t completely secure in the friendmaking dance!

I went to the party and met Tonya and Gabrielle, and we clicked, too. Since then, the four of us have started meeting once a week for “girls’ night”. I feel so lucky that I found not only one kindred spirit here in my new town but three! They are so much fun, they are loving, compassionate women, and they seem to be tolerating enjoying my neuroses quirks panache. I am enjoying them so much!

6 comments:

  1. YAY! making new friends is the hardest part about moving--I'm glad you did it and are making your new home "home."

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  2. That is SOOOOOOOOO great!!!!

    good for you!!! :)

    I totally agree with you about it being hard to make friends as an adult in a new city.

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  3. Hooray! I'm so happy to hear that you've made some new friends in your new city!

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  4. I am so happy for you. I don't make friends easily and it's one of the things that prevents me from leaving my safe little bubble. I should get out more. Ah, well. I'm proud of you and so, so happy.

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  5. Yay for girls night! I miss ours!

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  6. I like your comments about making friends being a bit like dating. I just joined a book club, and I've come home every time wondering if I didn't cross some line after warming up and popping off with some bawdy or blunt remark. They haven't kicked me out...yet.

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