Tuesday, February 21, 2012

socially handicapped

I have come to the conclusion that I am socially handicapped. I can’t make friends. I cannot do it. Something is wrong with me. From the age of 3 or so until I was 18, I was around the same people, the same friends. I became friends with my neighbor at 3 and we are still friends today. I met one of my best friends in kindergarten and that friendship withstood middle school awkwardness and high school drama. I was the Matron of Honor in her wedding last year. The rest of my friends I picked up along my way through the public educational system in small-town Iowa. So obviously I can make friends. At least once upon a time I had the ability. But I haven’t made a new friend in eons. Somewhere along the way I lost the ability. I kinda-sorta made some friends in college. But since I don’t keep in touch with a soul from my three and a half years at BYU, I guess you could hardly call those real friendships. And in the three years since I graduated I have struggled in the friendship department. I blame it on the fact that I never moved and I grew up in a small town where my graduating class was something like 85 people. I don’t think I ever really learned the art of making friends. And now I’m not going to school 5 days a week, 8 hours a day with the same 85 people so where can I make friends? Well I guess work would be the first answer. But my job mostly required me to interact with little people between the ages of 3 and 10. And I guess you could say I did make some friends at work. But really they were just friends I had at work. Not real friends that I would get together with outside of work. Now I’m home with Tatum full time, which I love, but I certainly wouldn’t mind having some adult interaction every now and then. But I can’t. Because I’m friendless. Sometimes that doesn’t bother me. There are days when I say to myself, “Self, you don’t really need new friends. You have siblings you are friends with. And great parents. And a husband and child. Plus a few old friends you see every now and again. Self, you don’t have time for friends.” But inevitably a day will come when I just really wish I had a friend to call up and say “Hey friend, let’s do something.”

So my question for you, all you non-existent or unknown readers out there, is how do you make friends? Because I’m pretty sure my old strategies won’t work anymore. For instance, I’m fairly confident I’m not going to meet someone whose speech only I find intelligible, making us fast friends. Or that having a birthday one day apart and enjoying playing together on the playground is going to be sufficient to form a friendship today. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’m going to form any friendships with a clarinet player by sitting on the border of the clarinet and trumpet sections. I don’t think that offering some intense games of Risk, Mystery Mansion, and Pit along with some yummy instant cookies on a daily basis is going to get anyone knocking on my door. Yeah, I need new strategies. Or maybe I don’t…do people just not make friends in adulthood? From what I’ve observed it seems like they do, but maybe I’m just fooling myself. Maybe I’ll never make friends again and I should just work on fostering the old friendships I still have. Or maybe I should just convince my sister to move closer so we can hang out. After all, she’s my sister. She has to be my friend even if I am socially handicapped. :)


  1. i'll be your friend. i feel like i'm loosing the ability to make new friends as well. fortunately a new baby is a great ice breaker bc you can talk to strangers about babies, and you can plan play dates. i know newborns can't play, but you know you'd do it in order to hang out with a adult. pimp out your baby's cute face.

  2. You are Not socially handicapped, just a little self conscious. You know that I have a lot of sisters of the blood and in-law variety and while I love them all, they can not replace my non-sister girlfriends. I am a big pusher of all women needing to have more friends lately. Turns out we live longer and healthier lives if we have friends in adulthood. My only advise is that it is worth the sometimes very awkward moments and it is actually all a lot of work to make and keep good women friends. The best part is that they can be of all ages and different stages of life and still you will never look back and wish that you had made less friends. You can do it. Just keep trying and keep calling up people and inviting them to hang out with you and Tatum or to go for a walk or whatever random thing you can think of. It will be hard the first 10 times, but after that it will be easier, and you won't even notice the ones that don't call you back. Good luck. Sending love and friendly vibes your way.

  3. We are friends :) And you better believe it!!!

  4. We're friends, Rachel, aren't we? Maybe we need to hang out outside visiting teaching to make it official :) I think a lot of times we assume that other people have tons of friends or never feel lonely, and that's so often not the case. Lots of people would love to be friends with you because you are so much cooler than you think! It's really nice to have church, too, because it puts you in a room full of people that already have several things in common with you.

  5. Eh ehhmmm. I think you left out an important couple of friends you made at a very young age because we were the only three girls our age at church. I'm very offended. ;)

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to being back closer to home so we can spend more time together again! We always end up giggling sooo much.

    Also, you're not alone! I think making friends after college is incredibly hard, especially for those of us who aren't frequenting the local pub...there aren't very many social atmospheres for people our age outside of the bar scene. But church and work are a good place to start! And I think Stacy is right, you kinda just have to awkwardly put yourself out there until you feel less awkward about it.

    And last but not least, you did SO make a friend in college. A very important, eternal companion sort of friend. ;) can't forget about that!

    :) Andrea

  6. And I do believe you have a sister that already lives close :) No convincing necessary. I'm home during the day and would welcome a visit anytime.
    I agree, making friends is a hard thing to do. But having that someone you can go to in a pinch is such a blessing. Too bad there isn't a book How to Make Friends for Idiots with a step by step guarantee of a new best friend!!
    By the list of comments on this blog, you already have a lot of friends who care about you ;)
    We love you and are grateful to have you guys close by!!

  7. I lost my ability to make friends when I got married. I don't know why. I think some of what other people have commented is very true, we assume everyone else has friends and they are always hanging out, and we are just not cool enough to be invited. That's not the case, pretty much you can assume any other woman with kids is sitting at home JUST as bored as you are. Trust me, I know I am. Come on over, I'm not very cool but my kids are, and I can entertain you well enough. Seriously, pick a day next week thats not Mon or Tues (we'll be out of town) and lets hang out. The first step is making plans. You are ALWAYS invited to hang out with me, unless you keep beating me at scramble with friends.

  8. Or maybe you should decide to move close to ME! We could have tons of fun! Too bad now you aren't even coming to visit. :(