I’ve heard people say after moving to a new place that they’re “out of practice” with making new friends. I can’t sympathize, as I was never in practice. I am mind-bogglingly craptacular at making new friends. It’s not that I’m a bad friend – no more than other people – because once I’ve made a friend, I tend to keep them pretty well. It’s reaching that point where a relationship goes deeper than a “good morning” or “how about that rain?” that I struggle with. I never know what to say! I think I sometimes come off as snobby or in my own world because I go absolutely quiet when I’m around someone I want to befriend. I analyze my words. I try to think of that magic way to signal potential friendship without coming off as too-eager or crazy. And so I never say anything. I yearn with my eyes. Like an anime character, or a dog that wants table scraps. Like me. Oh god, just like me. Please?
When I examine my friendships, nearly always they began by someone else introducing us. There are a few exceptions – some naturally friendly people manage to blow away my BS Calm Cool Collected vibe and get me to acting more like me, but for the most part, a mutual friend has talked me up, promoting my positives like a marketer with a difficult-to-sell Toyota model. And if a friendship starts at work? GOOD LORD. It takes me FOREVER to relax into my usual sarcastic self, and usually through sharing a common enemy. Thank God for common enemies. They forge people together like iron.
Here are some friend pickup lines I’ve used in the past:
- “So we’ve sat next to each other in class for a while now, and you seem to be pretty cool, so I think we should take this show on the road.” Erica H, you probably remember this one.
- “So YOU’RE the one who has my Into the Woods VHS!!!” Sarah M, a previous friend of a friend.
- “I feel that we need to drink together. But not at work.” JSahr, after we had sat cube-to-cube for a year without having spoken save polite nothings. My then-boss introduced us to work together on a project. Thanks Gwen!
- “I’m going to have a mental breakdown on your bed, so you should probably learm my last name. It’s Sheppard.” Ah, future college roommate!
See? AWKWARD. I’m just glad that the above-friends managed to give me a chance despite myself.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about friends and friendships recently because it’s been a month since I left Florida, and I am beginning to genuinely miss people. It’s gone from “well, it’s like they’re on vacation” to “oh my god I am going to struggle to see these people again”, and it’s starting to hit me. I miss people. I miss getting to know people better. Texting and Facebook? Not the same.
I’m the new girl in town, here. I know about three people. And that’s not a problem; I’m not angsting about it or feeling lonely quite yet. But I can feel the old panic start to set in: Like me. Oh god, just like me. Please?