Jun 21, 2008

Friends

So, it's been four months since we moved, and I'm finally getting out there, trying to meet people after being a so called hermit for so long. Being a hermit, I discovered, has its advantages. No messy relationships, no grouchy, catty mommies to avoid on the playgrounds, you get my gist. But of course, this is not how life was made to be lived. And, because I am a social introvert (yes, that's what I've labeled myself after a couple personality tests and a full analysis by my oh so wise husband) I know I need to make friends. Thing is, when you're a kid, this is a lot easier to do. For instance, my precious six year old daughter has no trouble at all making friends wherever she goes. At the beach a few weeks ago, she found instant companionship with a little girl her age splashing nearby, and by the end of the afternoon the two were running hand and hand into the water. Too cute. The following week, she joined a "girls only club" at a local park after knowing a little girl for only half an hour! Geez, I wish I could be that bold! I watch her scamper up to people, introduce herself confidently, and start chattering away as though they'd been friends all their lives. She doesn't stop to think "Is my hair just right?" or "What if she doesn't like me?" Nope, not a thought (that I know of!) She simply dives right in without assumption, and 99 percent of the time, her boldness works out in her favor. I still remember a girl in my neighborhood as a child riding up on her bike while I played outside. We had just moved into our house, as had she. She hopped up her bike, adjusted her ponytail and said cheerfully "Wanna be my friend?" I hesitantly said yes, and within minutes we were biking off into the sunset. Another one of my best friends, whom I'm still close with, approached me on the playground in third grade and struck up a conversation about my brother. This led to a lifetime friendship. Who would have known? For some reason, all of this seems a bit more difficult as an adult. For one, we all have busy lives. Between the carpool, cleaning, errands, work, and trying to squeeze a date night in here and there, how does one make time to make friends? I'm still waiting for someone to introduce themselves in the line at Starbucks and invite me out to coffee. "I see you drink mocha lattes too! How cool! Wanna hang?" We just don't do it. Why? Too busy, too afraid to make a commitment to a perfect stranger, too afraid this might actually lead to a real conversation that we really don't have time for, because we have to run the carpool in ten minutes and pick up dry cleaning on the way. I've pondered the mommy pick up line many a time at the park. You see a possible target as you pull up. Hmm...reading a paper, fiddling with her cell phone, looks nice enough. Then, her kids move in, invite your kids to play. Perfect opportunity. You both run for the slide at the same time, and use the classic "How old is your child?" line. Never fails, right? But alas, just when you're ready to make your move, her cell phone trills, and she's lost in a conversation, or worse yet, her BFF walks up and all is history. So much for that possible friendship. It's not that I'm a pessimist, really. I think I'm a friendly enough person. I smile, make eye contact, brush my teeth, do all the right things. And I think I have plenty of friends, or at least I always have. But friendship takes effort, takes work on both ends. Most of my mommy friends came from MOPS over the years. Since I no longer belong, I feel sort of, well, lost. But since I've unofficially graduated from MOPS, where to now? I don't work outside the home, so scratch that. Church, yes. But Sunday mornings only allow for a limited amount of conversation. Again, gotta use those pick up lines, only alter them a bit for the church scene. "Great music this morning, huh?" "I love your dress!" " He really knows how to preach it!" And somehow, not seem cheesy and remain genuine. Really, I'm probably overthinking all this. I know in times these friendships will come. I've joined a Bunco group, and found a nice group of ladies to scrapbook with. If I'm really down it the dumps, I call my close friend up in Oregon, who always gives out her listening ear to me with sympathy. How many friends does one need, really? I'd rather have four close ones than a hundred acquaintances. One other thing I've learned is that sometimes friendships pop up in the least likely of places, or in the form of the least likely person. One of my closest friends years ago turned out to be a forty something year old African American woman, who bent over backwards to babysit for me, teach me to cook, and walk me through the Bible. I am forever blessed by her influence, but if you'd picked her out of the crowd for me, I would have had my doubts. Thankfully, I've learned to open my eyes, reach out, and give people chances over the years. And most of the time, this works out just fine. So, please don't feel sorry for me reading this. If you are, most likley you are my friend, and the fact that you took the time to read my post is enough to make my day. So thank you, for being my friend, near or far! And don't worry about me. When all else fails, a carton of Dreyers vanilla in bed with a tabloid mag wipes any pity party right out! :)

2 comments:

Merry in Japan said...

I love reading your blog!! It always makes my day to see that others feel the same way. When I first arrived in Japan I was lost without my firends. But now that I am leaving in a month I am both sad and scared again. I have made some great friends here but am worried about how I will fit back in in Phoenix. Don't worry, the time will come when you say "I have too many firends!" Have a great week!

tracyfurrey said...

Missing you here in AZ! I am going through my 'missing friends from Ohio' too- it has been a real struggle for me again for the last couple months. Just have to remember that we are where GOD wants us to be and to be at peace with that. I remind myself of that when I find myself getting sad - and I look to HIM for comfort in those times. Hang in there my friend - you will have TOO many friends in no time. I know you- you know EVERYONE:O)