Making friends as an adult is really hard work. It is even harder when you have anxiety and depression so that completely undermines any good things that you might think about yourself.
I have always felt really awkward making friends because I know I try to hard. I am scared that I will say or do the wrong thing and that people won’t like me. Either that or I become that impossible friend you know the one that is always there, every time you turn around bam, in your face right, freaking there! This has nothing to do with you being so amazing that I always want to be around you. Well partly it is that. The truth is it is because I am scared to death that unless I make myself completely interwoven in your life that you won’t want to be friends.
This all goes back to being a scared little girl in a very big high school playground not really knowing anyone and well not really fitting in. It took a really long time to fit in at high school and you know I am not really sure that I ever did. My memories of high school really aren’t fond ones but they aren’t the worst in the world. If they still existed I would be still more than petrified to walk into the Year 10 toilets! I am not sure I actually ever went to the loo at school ever!
The thing with making friends as adults is that we are all coming to friendships bringing a lifetime of friendship baggage and we all have different reasons for wanting to make new friends. For me I moved to a new area 15 years ago which meant that I had to make new friends. In addition to this the truth is I really didn’t have to many friends left in the area that I grew up in.
My friend from school (the grand total of one) that I was still in contact with was living in another state she had moved two years before I moved. Since the advent of FB I have “rediscovered” a few more friends from school. Sadly, we have not managed any regular catchups. There was a reunion of sorts a few years ago and I went along and felt as awkward and out of place as I did back in high school. Don’t get me wrong, most of the women who were there were lovely and quite probably don’t even remember high school the way I do. Of course there was that one group (there is always one) that still sees each other all the time so the reunion was for them like any other Saturday night and they hadn’t changed at all since school personality wise that is. You still couldn’t sit there because that seat was saved etc. Anyway, overall the reunion itself wasn’t awful but it certainly isn’t something I would rush back for. Though the handful of friends from school that I do still catch up with regularly on FB I would love to do coffee or dinner with every now and then.
I moved to an area where basically I knew no-one. Hubby did, it is the region that he grew up in and where all his friends are and his connections to the community. It was a much easier move for him, we were moving closer to his family and where his friends were but that wasn’t why we moved here. We moved here because as a region it is much closer to being like where I grew up being on the coast and close to the beach. When we were house hunting we had narrowed it down to two areas, one on the coast where we are or one in the outer south western area which had much newer and larger homes but an area that we actually knew no-one and it wasn’t anywhere near the coast!
Over time the wives of his friends and his friends have become my friends too. I have a couple of others that I have made through our kids but not many. I actually moved to an area where most people have actually lived all their lives. I tried to make friends in the school yard when our eldest started school but that fell totally flat. Then when the girls went to school because he had been there for years I think many people thought that I was part of the furniture. Luckily for me there are a couple of really amazing outgoing women who have tried to include this completely socially awkward woman into their social circle and honestly they are pretty amazing for doing that! Hopefully they know who they are!
The thing with the schoolyard is that just walking in there can be so incredibly overwhelming and even more scary as an adult than as a child I am sure! You see little groups of people all talking to each other and it can be hard to break into those groups. At our school there are actually families who are the second or third generation to attend our primary school! Many of the mums are actually friends from Kindergarten and then they went to the same high school and now their children are friends too.
So now there is this whole new world called FB which means we can catch up with people’s lives on a day to day basis without even seeing or talking to them. This means that we can feel like we are maintaining friendships though we haven’t seen them in weeks, months or even years in some cases! The other day I had to try and get a lift and honestly I was struggling with people to call, because the lack of local friends and my own stupidity. The thing is I hate being needy and I also hate relying on others or intruding in their lives. I found someone and truthfully she was the first friend I called and she was there as quickly as she could but I still had to think about who to call.
The thing with FB and through an online forum for multiple births that I have been part of for over 10 years now and AMBA (Australian Multiple Births Assoc) itself many of my closest friends are not local to me, and by not local I mean a minimum of 90km one way or even interstate so it is a tad hard to call for a lift. It is also really hard when you know that one of them is doing it really, really tough and all you want to do is give them a hug but they are a five hour flight away. Now with my writing I am meeting even more amazing women you seem to really get me. Which is so much more comforting than you can imagine. It helps me to feel so less alone in this crazy world.
It is so important to have local friends because well there are times we need to have that human contact, to have someone to have a cuppa with or go out for a curry or even just to have a good old face to face chat with. It helps to have more than one so they don’t get sick of you. But I am learning as I get older that sometimes there is more to friendship than just being able to see them. These days I just hope that they are as weird as me!
I have a big dream that one day I will be able to organise a getaway with all my friends coming along. All my real life friends and my friends in the computer too. I have this dream that we can all sit around drinking our favourite poison (wine, tea, chai, coffee etc) doing whatever it is that makes us happy and feel relaxed be it write, yoga, read, chant (quietly to yourself!), listen to music, dance and eating lots of beautiful food lovingly prepared and chocolate there must be chocolate otherwise Em Hawker will never come along!
Until then I will leave you with this thought …