Over the last two weeks I’ve had a range of friend-ish encounters. One baby shower where I knew some people, didn’t know some, had sort of met others but we’d mostly forgotten each other. The next day I went to a monthly meet-up I got invited to but I somewhat feel like I’m crashing a party every time I go. And then a birthday celebration where I knew only the birthday girl (and I brought along Tyler who knew no one).
Last week Tyler and I both randomly read the same article about making friends. It gave Tyler a great reason for his party behavior (although I’m not sure his IQ is that high). It made me think about my own ability to make and keep friends.
The summer I finished fifth grade we moved from Oregon, where I had spent my entire elementary school. I was sad to be moving from my friends, but excited that we’d be able to keep in touch and be the best of pen pals (internet wasn’t a thing, people, don’t judge). After I moved I found out that other fifth-graders aren’t that great at writing letters, and after a while they stopped. But I had also moved on to new friends, one even wore the other half of my “best friends” heart necklace.
Over my lifetime I guess this pattern has pretty much held true. New friends in college, when I got married, moved neighborhoods… And then I moved to New York and started completely from scratch (minus my roommate/sister).
And now we’re planning our first neighborhood move, which I know isn’t a huge distance. But when everyone’s time is limited, and the mode of getting around is public transportation, sometimes even small moves make it hard to hang out with certain people. Which now means more chances for making (and losing) new friends.
In June I will have lived in New York for five years, I am now into my early 30’s, and I still feel like making friends is a semi-stressful experience almost every time. I also feel like I have a hard time knowing if I should keep trying to stay friends with people or just let it go. Like, how do I know if the other person wants to be friends with me? Or when should I realize people have moved on and don’t want to be friends anymore? What if I talk too much or say something offensive? I don’t even know how to wear eyeshadow!!
Maybe I should just stick to what I know best: sitting on the couch with Tyler watching Netflix in my pajamas (using my high IQ to contemplate a long-term goal).