Meeting Friends

Blog / Friday, December 20th, 2013

Recently, I met with a friend who I haven’t seen since I before I left for the Peace Corps. She’s now in the same situation. I was in a year ago. She just moved home with her parents due to life events. She has no job and no car. She isn’t really sure what she wants to do yet, but she knows she needs to get out of her home town. Who wants to get stuck where you grew up, once you’ve seen what else there is?

Part of the problem I had with living with my parents was that none of my friends still lived with theirs. They all had jobs and live on their own, usually away from home. I felt very, very isolated and lonely being at home. Isolated and lonely despite the fact that I spent all day at work with people and then I got home to my parents, with whom I spent my evenings. Maybe on the weekend I’d escape to visit some college friends, but that got old fast–the having to escape to see friends.

I became very aggravated that my friendships were less and less give and take to keep them going and more give give give. Only once was I able to entice a friend to come visit me at my parents place (I did have a friend who’d come by often on Fridays to hang out, but for some reason, my mind separates his generosity from that of my other friends). Every other time I went to see people, and I hated all that driving and working around their schedules and them changing their plans at the last-minute. I felt like I deserved better.

So, with my friend recently, we discussed how we’re supposed to make friends when we have absolutely none. It isn’t easy. Every other time in my life, I’ve made friends because other people needed to make friends too. Elementary school. College. Peace Corps. It’s easy to make friends when everyone else needs to make friends as well. She agreed with me, though she is a little better at making friends when she needs to because she’s more outgoing than I am in that respect.

Even after moving out of my parent’s house, I’m still lonely and isolated. I do have some friends who live ten minutes away and I enjoy spending time with them, but it would still be nice having a few more friends around.

I’ve looked into different ways of meeting people to spend time with outside of work. I could try to spend time with the people I work with, but it’s a small office and I spend 40 hours a week with them. More time out of the office would be unbearable because I can’t complain about them, to them.

I also looked into meeting people through a meet-up site. I browsed through a few of them, but it seemed like a lot of them were geared towards different activities and I didn’t really share an interest in those things. Also, when it came down to it, I was too nervous to even say I’d might show up.

The closest I came to meeting with people was for a game of D&D. I found a game on a meet-up site and I was ready to go because I want to learn how to play better. Before I agreed to anything, though, I swung by the game shop where the game would be played to scope it out. After spending five minutes browsing and listening to the customers, I got scared. They knew far more about it than I did and it discouraged me. Yet again, I was too nervous to follow through.

In short, making friends is hard because no one ever taught me how to make friends when other people aren’t certainly looking for friends.

How do you make friends? Any tips for me to get over my friendship crippling nervousness?

4 Replies to “Meeting Friends”

  1. Danny, I can totally relate to this post. I’ve felt similarly in London. While I still don’t have any close friends, I do now have a great social outlet in the form of my running club/the people I’ve ended up regularly training with. It has been hard in a big city, because everyone from my MA program, for example, lives in different places around the city so it takes quite a bit of effort to organize and do things. I’ve tried meeting people for coffee and such, but am not sure if that’ll turn into anything. Can’t say I’m much help, as I’m in a similar situation!

    1. Well then, I’ll add you to my ever increasing list of people who want to know what I determine is the best way to meet friends, if I ever figure it out. It looks like we’re all in the same boat, but none of us know what to do about it.

  2. Danny! It’s so hard, I know. A couple things to think about if/when you are in those situations: you should know that a lot of people at those meet up things, or any other social event where people are meeting for the first time, most if not all of the people there are probably just as nervous as you are. While some people certainly excel in social situations, it’s hard for a lot of people, so just acknowledge how awkward and difficult it is to meet new people and try to make new friends. Also, think about how long it took you to become close to the people that you already do consider friends. Awhile, right? It takes time. So if you do start to get to know someone, it will take awhile to figure out if you want to be friends/how to be friends. Honestly for me, having low expectations helped. The first time I went to a Boston RPCV event after having only been home about a month, I randomly started talking to a couple of RPCVs and we completely hit it off and have remained friends two years later. I was expecting to meet people at the event, but did not have expectations of making any friends/ connections, and it turned out to be great.

    Also, I know that this might not be so relevant as you are not in a big city, but are there any RPCV groups in the area? I haven’t attempted the meet ups, but I have one friend who has had really good luck– don’t get scared by the super nerds that know all about D&D– they’ll accept you. And if they don’t, then you don’t need them.

    That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll let you know if I have any other tips from a fellow not-always-so-great-at-making-friends, friend.

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