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Like Dating, All Over Again…

Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other's gold! (Photo source: Flickr user Amanda Venner, via creative commons license)

My two best girlfriends live 3+ hours away from me – in opposite directions. We stay in touch over Facebook, texting, phone calls, and – with one of them – using the little chat feature embedded in Facebook Scrabble and iPhone Words With Friends. I’ve known them both for more than half my life at this point; I trust them with anything, know I can call them about anything, know that they would come running in a crisis – and I’d do the same for them (and they’d do the same for each other). We are so lucky to have one another…and yet. And yet, having pals you can call on Tuesday to go get lunch on Wednesday is important too.

Yes, I have a husband, a husband who is amazing in so many ways and who is unquestionably my best friend on the planet. Sometimes, though, you need other people. This is something he and I both acknowledge. It’s something my two girlfriends and I have discussed countless times. It’s something I’ve heard echoed in my conversations with other women and among my college friends on Facebook. The deep, like-a-sibling friendships are incredibly important, and no one wants to lose those, but when those friends aren’t nearby, you need in-town friends too. And it’s damn hard to make friends as a grown-up.

It’s pretty easy to make friends in school, but as an adult, not so much. My husband and I both moved to Charlottesville at approximately the same time with our friends who wanted to be here. Once here, I had my friend and several of her friends who lived in the area, and we all hung out on a regular basis. My husband had his friend and his friend’s fiancee, who was also his friend. And then we met each other, and he met my friends and I met his and we had this nice social circle. But one by one, they all moved away. One went to law school in Pennsylvania, one moved just an hour away to run her own business, one moved to be close to her fiance, David’s friend and his now-wife moved for a new job, etc. etc. etc.

I tried a few friend-making methods. I scoured the online fans of a local radio station I like, found a girl who seemed cool and who seemed to have stuff in common with me, and I sent her a note. I lucked out on that one – she didn’t think I was a total nutjob, and we hang out occasionally and keep up all the time on Facebook. I also (and I know how sad these seem, but I really didn’t know what else to do) responded to an ad on Craigslist from a girl just looking for other people to be friends with. We met up for coffee once, and we just didn’t click. Meh. Then I joined my book club, which I found on Meetup.com, and I made a few real friends that way (though two of them are getting ready to move to Michigan – here we go again!). I hope to make a few friends in my new walking group, but it’s a bit too soon to tell on that one. And I definitely have friends among my co-workers, and we do hang out outside of work sometimes, but after working together all week I would say that we’re less inclined to hang out nights and weekends.

I’m an introvert, with an even more introverted husband. I don’t make friends easily or often. It took me nearly 11 years in Charlottesville to feel like I sort of have friends and a life here. According to my conversations with friends, it’s pretty much the same for them – making friends is hard! It’s seriously like dating people all over again. Why do you think it’s so hard? How have you made friends as an adult?

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4 thoughts on “Like Dating, All Over Again…

  1. Friendster/Myspace worked well for me when I moved back to VA. I somehow met a great group of smart, funny, nerdy people through these social networks. It’s definitely harder to meet people when you don’t have the social outlets (and time) that college provided. It doesn’t help that the older I get, the more introverted I am. I don’t know if anyone else has that problem.

  2. I understand believe me. I have met some great friends through twitter and the walking group now, too (I’ll see you tomorrow night). But it’s hard to make good friends. When The Ex & I moved here in 2005 we lived in a really rural section of Greene County. I had no friends…NO FRIENDS. When he decided to leave me to be with his good friend’s wife (and my only friend here that was a girl) I was devastated. I made CONSIDERABLE effort to get out. I joined a random softball team that needed a girl…didn’t know anyone! Then I just constantly struck up conversations at the kids’ soccer fields, kept being a Girl Scout leader and started to invite people out. I turned into an extrovert…I just felt like I had to. I’ve had several wonderful GNO with people I’ve met on Twitter…I’ll be sure you’re invited next time! 🙂

  3. I’ve lived in Charlottesville almost 6 years and for most of that time the only people I met were people I worked with. It’s only been in the last year – year and a half that I’ve started meeting people thru Facebook and Twitter and even that took time. I have horrible social anxiety on top of being an introvert, so meeting new people is quite an ordeal for me.

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