Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On Friendship

tumblr_lohc5r0Per1qcng3jo1_500_largeI am totally a Spencer. (And addicted to this show.)

I have a hard time making friends.

It’s the plight of introverts, I would surmise. I’m incredibly shy and quiet and I tend to stay withdrawn in social situations. In school, I was always that quiet girl who didn’t say much. Unless I was involved in a group project or someone struck up a conversation with me, I would stay in my shy bubble. It took me a long time to break out of my shell at work and I must thank my work BFF for that. She is one of the most bubbly, extroverted people I know and just being around her makes me want to be extroverted like her. I still have the tendency to stay within myself (especially around especially loud and boisterous personalities), but I think it’s safe to say I am learning to be more vocal and outspoken in that arena.

I think one of the hardest things about building friendships is jumping from casual acquaintance to someone I connect with. I feel awkward requesting phone numbers or e-mailing them or even chatting with them online. I mean, even in the AIM era of middle and high school, I had a small list of friends on my list and almost never initiated conversations.

The lack of friendships in my life bugs me. I feel like I’m failing at this phase of my life. I mean, I’m 23! Where are my nights out with my girlfriends? Brunches, coffee dates, and trips? I do none of that. It doesn’t help that it seems that with the few of the close friendships I’ve had, I’m the one doing all the work - putting together the lunch dates and keeping in contact. One of my best friendships has fizzled because I got tired of being the only one who seemed to care. Those type of dying friendships can be awful on the heart, because you realize all along that the friendship wasn’t what you had built up in your head.

The thing is, I’ve met so many people through my blog, people I want to get to know better but have never made that leap. People I want to send long e-mails to when I need to vent or talk to on G-chat when I just want someone to talk to, but I’m always worried it will bug or irritate them. It’s silly, really, because I know I get incredibly happy when I receive e-mails from readers.

It’s hard to see so many blog friends who have transcended the line of just a casual blog reader to real friendships. I know they’ve put their own hearts on the line to make it happen so I really have nobody to blame but myself. It just seems to be the way with me.

But 2011 is the year I’m taking action for the areas of my life I’m unhappy with. The lack of true friendships in my life is a source of constant stress. I’ve never been good at making friends, because of my shyness and awkwardness. But I’m no longer hiding behind that excuse. If I want to make friends, if I want to have stronger blog friends, I need to put in the work.

40 comments:

  1. I have this same problem, except that at 31, married with two kids I feel like all my former friends think that I wouldn't be interested in hanging out anymore so I never get invited to anything. I had a rotten weekend last weekend because I was ditched twice by the same friend, and I'm sure she didn't mean anything by it but I hadn't seen her in awhile and I obviously wasn't a priority. Everyone else was a priority. I can't really figure out how to have a two-way friendship anymore. I don't have the type of friends that I feel comfortable calling on my drive home from work, or dropping in on at home. The relationship with my old best friend was pretty toxic and fell apart right after my wedding 4 years ago. My other best friend lives in Belgium, and has her own best friends there.

    I have no point to this except to say that I know how it feels, and if it's something you can change at 23, you should do it because it only gets harder.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It does get harder once you have kids. One of my closest friends just had a baby and she's confessed she's super lonely now. I had to look at myself and I do see I don't invite her out as much because it's so last minute and she'd have to find a babysitter, and coming over to hang out doesn't feel like it'd be breezy and fun as it was before baby. :( She means a lot to me and I should really try to come over more often.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I completely understand how you feel. I am going through something similar myself (post coming soon).

    ReplyDelete
  4. KJHartenstein7/19/11, 10:50 AM

    Well you know I pretty much lost all my friends shortly after my wedding.  Since then, the only people I really hang out with aside from Dustin are Dustin's sister and his cousin's wife.  It sucks.  Other people talk about their best friends and their close relationships and it makes me so sad.

    However, I can say that I have friends that I've met through blogging that I email and text and even though we can't physically hang out together I still consider them close friends.  Maybe some people don't understand that but those friendships are just as satisfying, ya know?

    ReplyDelete
  5. First of all, I think it's great. As a fellow introvert, I understand how hard it is.  I always had the hardest time making friends, and when I did it was still hard because it always seemed like they were better friends with someone else (my two closest friends are best friends, and I've always been the third wheel). I know I should allow myself to be more valued in the friendship, but it's hard. I probably hang on a little too much because I don't want to be without them at all.

    Just remember these things: 1) You're awesome just the way you are. Don't settle for anything less than the best. 2) It's okay to be an introvert—your friends should value that part of you as well.  3) If I lived close enough I'd be up to a lunch date, but I'm always up for an email!  

    ReplyDelete
  6. Making - and keeping - friends is, honestly, so, so difficult. It just is. I'm somewhere between an introvert & an extrovert, & it's something I've always struggled with. I guess there's no magic formula or solution, but... well, keep lookin', eh?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm just going to let you know that if you ever decided to chat via G-Chat with me, I'd be over the moon. I absolutely LOVE talking via technology (not on the phone because I'm just overly awkward on the phone... oh and via Skype... total awkwardness) But I'm all over G-Chat and texting and all that fun stuff. Haha.

    Most people consider me outgoing.... I just think of myself as the annoying blonde girl. Haha.

    Anyways. so. yeah. ok. yeah.

    (see awkward)

    xo,
    Christen

    ReplyDelete
  8. I heart all my bloggie friends! I would be BORED without them.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am so sorry you feel this way, Stephany, because you come off as a very sweet, approachable person.

    Most of my really close friends live thousands of miles away, and even though I can always talk with them on the phone or chat with them, I clearly miss having local close friends to hang out with, go to movies with, have lunch/dinner with and it bugs me to no end.

    I guess, we - you and I both - have to be more proactive and seek out those friendships, even if it feels awkward at first.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think I'm a mix between introverted and extroverted when it comes to making friends. Sometimes I can initiate conversations, but I never know how to take casual conversation to the next level of friendship. Also, if this helps you at all, I'm awful at remembering to make plans with people. I always want to see my friends (new and old) but I find myself forgetting to keep in contact with certain people. It bothers me when people do that to ME, but I know I do that too so I can't get too upset.

    I've also never made the leap at making blogger friends in real life, but I haven't had the opportunity to yet (haven't traveled near anyone and haven't had anyone come to Montreal) but I totally get you, it's so hard to take that leap, especially by chat and e-mail. I think my guest blogging thing has opened a lot of doors and I've gotten to contact some of my favorite bloggers which has been lots of fun, but I'd still love even more to meet some of you guys for real (Harry Potter World adventure WILL happen) 

    Anyway this comment is getting rambling-ish, but if you ever want to vent or rant my inbox is always open! I feel like we'd get along really well in real life, too :) 

    ReplyDelete
  11. girlwiththeredhair7/19/11, 1:06 PM

    I am a mix between introverted and extroverted. In some groups I am VERY outgoing and talkative and loud and in others I kind of keep quiet and to myself. I have a lot of girlfriends who I talk to/spend time with on a regular basis but I have very few SUPER CLOSE friends. I also have always wanted a tight-knit little group (like SATC) but I've NEVER had that. Most of my girlfriends are not also friends with each other.

    Anyways, I think the only thing you can really do is keep putting yourself out there. And just know you would NEVER be bugging me if you emailed me or g-chatted me.

    Oh, and email me r.e. meeting in Orlando! We are only there for 3 days and I know it's a little out of the way for you but I would seriously LOVE to meet you if we can make it happen :) 

    ReplyDelete
  12. There's been a lot of friend talk around the blogosphere lately I feel like.

    I don't really have trouble making friends; I have trouble keeping them. I have a very small group of close friends that I associate with on a daily basis and adding to that circle is a lot of work for me. I also have a hard time balancing friendships and making time for all of the groups. Plus, let's face it, the older you get the harder it is to find new friends.

    But I can be your friend! Especially since we're so close. We can start emailing and next time I'm in Tampa and have more time, we will do lunch. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Being an introvert in a new city is making it hard for me to meet new people as well.  I am too worried about people thinking I'm a creep to approach them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh honey, boy can I relate. I'm an introvert who has had the same (tiny) group of girlfriends since middle school. I get really upset sometimes because I haven't made a ton of girl friends along the way though I've been involved in so many job, school and internship related opportunities where I could have really connected with like minded people. I tend to get along better with men and I work in a male dominated office, so that doesn't really help the situation any. I have come to learn that creating friendships take effort, but they also can't be forced. As far as the internet goes, I haven't once regretted reaching out and emailing someone I admire or read. Your email/DM/text will almost always be well recived. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is why I need to move to Florida. So many of my blog friends are there!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sarahbc19837/19/11, 2:31 PM

    Hey girl:)
    I am totally feeling you! I am 28, and have always had a very small(2-3) close set of friends. I have always been shy...never taking the initiative because I have always thought that if someone didn't talk to me, they just weren't interested. I have come to learn over the years that by my not doing just that, some people view me as --excuse my language here-- a bitch haha! That's not(always:) the case, but I can see how that happens. Now that most of my friends have started families, and we are not planning to have kids, there are very few times when we get together anymore. That's hard. If you ever need to talk, please feel free to shoot me a message:) I also love emails!! 

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think that my early 20s were pretty lonely years, honestly...  Esp as I transitioned out of college and had friends get married, etc.  It has onlhy gotten better and I think that will be the case with you.  Esp as you become more and more comfortable in your skin (whihc will be the case as you approach 30, at least it was for me). 

    My dad always asks me how I got to be friends with my blogger friends and I just say that I really don't know and that it just sort of happened.  I mean, it took time and energy and a leap of faith and exchanging of phone numbers and saying, 'um maybe we should run a marathon together even though I barely know you'.  ;)  It's a leap of faith, but it's so worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think I suffer from similar problems, except that I'm not really that much of an introvert... I just expect people not to like me because a lot of the time I don't like myself.  I'm v awkward in social situations, and my anxiety has me cooped up in my house most of the time.  I find friendships, real life friendships, to be hard to maintain.  It takes a lot of effort, some leaving the house, and actually putting on something other than pajamas.  But blog friends?  They're so awesome because you can g-chat all day and never take your pajamas off (or put clothes on, if that's your thing).  I don't have many blog friends, but I've recently made the same decision as you: I'm going to put in the work, because the small amount of blog friends I DO have are already worth the effort I've put into them.  And if I put in the work, maybe new blog friends will as well.

    It's worth a shot!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm the same way. Most of my friendships came about from already knowing people -- I met one half of my college friends through the girls I already knew from my town and the other through my roommate. If it was up to me to go make friends on my own, I'd probably have a really tough time with it.

    Also, I'm completely the same way with G-Chat and stuff like that. It took me a long time to be brave enough to reply to someone on Twitter, and even that's still a little rough for me at times. I'm just so afraid of saying something stupid! It's so weird.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm addicted to that show too!! I love it! 

    I'm the same way as you probably can tell from my last post. You can absolutely bother me on gchat anytime!!! I'd love to talk to you! I hope I can meet you and some other bloggers some day.

    ReplyDelete
  21. please know that you can always, always, always email me. or gchat me. or if you want I'll even email you my phone number. Truth is that without my blog friends I'd be lost. So many of my "real life" friends live faraways as it is, so i rely on phone calls and gchats, skype dates and emails to get me through. It's not easy, but it can be done. Thinking of you.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I feel like I could have written this post myself. I'm 22, about to start my last year in college, and honestly have not made one friend at my school. I have tried to get involved, but I just naturally tend to enjoy being by myself. I too feel like I am missing out by not having "girls nights" or just going out for some coffee. My best friend is also the complete opposite of me- really outgoing and talkative. I've been following your blog for awhile and while I don't have a blog, I'll make sure to try out any tips for making friends that seem to work for you. Good luck from a fellow introvert!

    ReplyDelete
  23. People say making friends as an adult is like dating. You go on a few lunch "dates" with someone only to find out that they may not fit your lifestyle or interests. I think as we become older, we get more picky. Me? I am very very picky but on the other hand I believe I am pretty good at hanging out with all different kinds of people coming from all different kinds of backgrounds.

    I have a circle of friends here. We go to lunch dates every now and then or have a coffee. Sometimes we go to the gym together but I miss having a best friend in my life - one that I can rely on 24/7. It's tough to make those kind of friendships when you get older. At least I think so.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'll be waiting to read it! :) (Also read that you're doing VEDA again - YAY!)

    ReplyDelete
  25. The problem is, I don't even have those close friendships. I think seeing all these blog friendships crop up has fully made me realize how much I'm failing at making & keeping friends. I know those relationships are just as satisfying, but it's really hard to put yourself out there. But I just need to do it & see what happens! Better than what I'm feeling now.

    ReplyDelete
  26. You need to move to Florida. Very soon. OK? Let's make this happen.

    You'll be on my e-mail speed dial when I need an ear! :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I just need a dating site for friends. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Adding you on G-chat straightaway! :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love my blog friends, too, but I never have seemed to take the leap from "blog friends" to simply "friends", with texting and phone calls and meeting. It's a big step and it's really putting your heart on the line. Very hard!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Making and keeping friends is hard. There's no magic recipe. I will say though that I've met some of my closest friends through my blog and I cannot imagine my life without those people. There are gchats, phone calls, skype dates, and good old fashioned emails.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh, yes. Our big WWoHP vacation WILL happen. I can't wait! :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think that's what I need to just get over. Put myself out there & see what happens. :) And yes, we will meet in Orlando! Just keep me posted & I'll try to make it work. 

    ReplyDelete
  33. Exactly! It makes me feel awkward when I try to make connections with people, but I think it's just something I need to get over and cross the hurdle because I think there are some pretty amazing friendships waiting at the other side.

    Have you tried meetup.com? They might have some good ideas for getting involved. Then again, I haven't tried them either even though I know they have good groups for me so what can I say? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks so much for your comment! I think I need to get over my awkwardness because I don't think I will regret reaching out. I only regret NOT doing it.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I always wondered how you and Amber ended up running the marathon together! Sounds like such a neat experience. :)

    I'm learning that this is the case with a lot of people my age. It's hard to make friends and even harder to keep them, but I think the time has come for me to start reaching out and seeing what relationships can build from it.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I've gotten over the awkwardness of responding to people on Twitter and through blogs but it's moving from JUST using that to forming deeper connections with people. That's where it gets hard.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I hope we can meet someday, too! I'm quickly learning most people would love to be bothered by my e-mails or g-chat messages so I guess I just need to get over my own fears!

    ReplyDelete
  38. This comments means a lot, Nora. :) It's nice to know I do have many people to reach out to, I just need to start reaching more. <3

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm the exact same way! I just naturally enjoy being by myself so I've never really made large attempts to reach out more to people. But I think I need to, if only to have a support group and a soft place to fall when I need it. And I think we all crave companionship, even if we let fear detract from that.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I feel like I have that best friend type in my mom, but I don't have the circle of friends to go out for lunch dates or girls nights and the like. I guess I have it backwards. :) I'm grateful for the relationship I have with my mom, but I also know I need more friends my age, going through things I'm also dealing with.

    ReplyDelete

Comments make me all giddy with excitement.

 
Design by Designer Blogs