Has anybody cracked the code of making close friends as an adult?
We have plenty of friends in our computer, and we are grateful for modern technology for allowing us to keep up with them so easily. However, the Boffin and I have been here for 4 years, and we really don’t have anyone with whom we have become really close locally. Of course, we have socialized, but it has been scattershot. After moving so much, have we just run out of steam in the friend-making department?
The Sprog? She has friends out the wazoo. It’s so much easier for a kid. They don’t have all the hangups that adults do. She showed up at the first day of first grade and a mutual love of My Little Pony was enough to form everlasting bonds.
The standard advice we received when we moved into the area was “Make friends through your kids”. Well, a lot of the kids are into the soccer/Little League/football things. The Sprog wanted nothing to do with them. Girl Scouts? No. Karate? Tried it. She just wanted to kick things, and that’s it. Dance? Not her style. I did make friends with her violin teacher, so that was a good start, but busy schedules and all that…
So school volunteering? Well, I am not PTA material. I managed to torque off one of the Queen Bees by questioning why she would want to ruin Valentine’s Day by giving her husband a relationship quiz that she thought was fun. It was made subtly clear that I was not wanted in any prominent role and will never be invited to any bunco nights. I am crushed.
Hey, Karen, why don’t you pursue your own interests? Take classes or join a club? There was the running/walking group that was OK until the organizer had other commitments. And there was the knitting class that ended up being ruined by an evil bridge troll. She vocally advocated child abuse, and, long story short, the administration decided she could stay as long as she gave a half-assed apology. I was gone.
To add another layer to it, I have depression, and contrary to what the commercials portray, depressives do not walk around staring out of windows looking like their cats just died. Most of their emotional energy is put into trying to act like normal, functioning human beings. This also means that asking a couple over for dinner or even texting someone to go to Starbucks is especially arduous. It isn’t a case of “Hey, let’s invite the Johnsons over.” and you just text and be done with it. I have to build up the courage to do it and make sure I allow myself enough emotional energy to make sure I can follow through with the plans, so I don’t flake out and put too much burden on the Boffin. Meanwhile, I am trying to remind myself that I am actually a pretty cool person to get to know, even when, deep down, I don’t really believe it. Now, I don’t want anyone to feel guilty or sorry for me, nor do I expect anyone to say yes to my invites because of this admission. All I want is honesty in others’ responses.
But, thanks to therapy, I have someone to tell me that it isn’t completely me. Sorry, Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, you have many things going for you, and I am glad we are living here, but helping newbies assimilate into the area is not one of your strong suits. My therapist has a list of clients who struggle with the same issues. One thing about where I live is that it is a multi-generational area. When people have families and high school chums in the same place, a fair number of them take their social networks for granted, and they don’t think to include the transplants. It is a place where people are very friendly in superficial day-to-day interactions, but it is very hard to crack the shell and get into the club, especially when my ringtone is the Queen repeating the words “psychoactive drugs”.
Of course, I have to take responsibility and the initiative for my own social life. I have to be understanding of other people’s busy schedules, time commitments, scattered brains, and life’s problems too. But it doesn’t make it any less hurtful or lonely when I keep trying and failing.
I can’t stop trying though. I am going to make more of an effort to make the connections I have made deeper. Maybe we can be less of a novelty act at the temple. Maybe there is more I can do through writing. Not all avenues have been exhausted.
So, how do you make close friends? Is Bronycon the answer?