Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Making Friends in Real Life is HARD, Yo.

Thank you to P&G’s Have You Tried This Yet? program and Kroger for sponsoring my writing about trying new things and breaking out of my everyday routine. Click here to find great savings on high-performing P&G products at a Kroger store near you. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

In case I forgot to mention it, I moved. To New Hampshire. I know, I know, WHAT? I'd been waiting to move back to the Buckeye State, for-ev-er! (Spoken in a Sandlot voice, if you please) So what happened? Well, life happened - I got an awesome job that requires me to live in New England, & it just so happens that my boyfriend (pictured to the left, just for fun) lives in New England, so I made a logical leap: I moved in with him.

So here I am, in New Hampshire, where I know exactly one person. And did I mention that I work from home? Waking up every morning & wandering into my living room isn't the best way to meet new people. My daily routine goes something like this: Wake up, shower, work, eat lunch, work, make dinner, watch TV, go to bed, rinse & repeat.

Needless to say, I'm desperate for a break from my regularly scheduled program, preferably in a way that helps me make real-life friends instead of just the online kind (oh, I'm creepy). I hate sports & I can't knit, which most of the activities I've found in the area seem centered around, so I'm trying to get creative. Currently, my List of Possible Ways to Break From the Routine looks like this:
  • Take guitar lessons. I've had a guitar for five years now, & I can't play a single note. My 101 in 1,001 List challenges me to learn at least one song, no matter how simple, on my acoustic Fender, & maybe now is the perfect time! But... well, this won't help me meet anyone, will it? Just a guitar teacher. And then I'll spend all my time holed up in my apartment trying to get the notes right, & I'll never go outside again, & maybe guitar-playing will actually make me more of a hermit, after all.

  • Join Weight Watchers. I like to eat. I also like having friends. I thought that by joining WW, I could make friends with people who also like to eat but who, like me, are trying to eat less. Then, I'll have killed two birds with one stone by befriending folks who can also serve as a support system. Is that selfish of me? Or just super-savvy? You be the judge.

  • Try yoga. I am not particularly flexible, due in part to the fact that I have two stainless steel rods along my spine. It follows, then, that yoga is probably a stupid idea. But after reading about Julie's Bikram adventure, I'm tempted to give it a shot. I found this Yoga By Donation studio nearby, which means I could afford a class or two or 10, but I'm wary of being the sweaty, farty, totally unbendy kid in the class. I don't know that that's the best way to make new friends.

  • Join a book club. I found one in the area via Meetup.com, & as I followed along with their monthly picks before moving into the area, I grew more & more excited to join them. Until the month I actually moved here, when their book of choice was"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." This month? "Ireland: A Novel." Now, I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I can't help judging books by their titles & descriptions & the general boredom & apathy I feel toward them. Should I try anyway, if the pay-out may be book-loving friends? What a novel idea!

  • Attend a Unitarian church. This is also on 101 in 1,001 List. And yes, I'm still Jewish - so Jewish, in fact, that I work for a Jewish non-profit. But my grandmother, who is also quite Jewish, attends a Unitarian church; she & her Unitarian friends call themselves the Jewnitarians. If my family matriarch can get away with this, so can I. There's a Unitarian church down the road from my new home, but there's no indication that anyone under the age of 50 attends it, so perhaps this isn't my best bet, either... Sigh.

  • Volunteer. Somewhere. Clearly, I've not thought this one through, but I like the idea of making friends while doing good. Now if only I could figure out how to go about it. Or where. Or doing what. Who knew making friends involved making so many gosh-darn decisions?

There you have it, my not-all-that-comprehensive list of ways to try new things while meeting new people. Basically, it comes down to this: Much as I love him, I'm tired of only ever talking to my boyfriend. And the jerk across the hall. And the occasional WalMart employee. I took a huge leap in moving here, & now it's time to take some smaller leaps that will help make this one all the better.

So how do you make friends when you're not sitting next to them in sociology class or one cubicle apart? I'm ready to try (more) new things. As soon as I figure out how.

    31 comments:

    Amy --- Just A Titch said...

    We have freakishly similar goals (Universalist church, book club, guitar lessons, volunteer). If only CA and NH weren't so far, we'd basically be built-in BFF's.

    Lexa said...

    I totally support the WW idea. I met some awesome people in my meetings.

    Michelle said...

    Meeting people through your boyfriend's friends? Hooking up with other bloggers in the area? Maybe just go hang out at a coffee shop and work from there so you can strike up conversations?

    Meghan said...

    Just had to say that I love a good Sandlot "forever" reference. But have no real advice for you. Making friends post-college is the pits.

    Suburban Sweetheart said...

    All good ideas! My boyfriend is in the military & doesn't know a ton of
    people here, either, because he's gone so often, though the other guys on
    his boat surely have friends & wives & girlfriends. And I can't work from
    coffee shops because I'm basically video-chatting all day, & who wants to be
    the girl talking to her computer in a Starbucks? Ha! But maybe I should work
    on finding some bloggers in the area & meeting those military girlfriends!

    theTsaritsa said...

    Welcome to my world! I moved here knowing only my boyfriend, but I did manage to meet some cool people thanks to social networks like Yelp. I think finding an activity that you like is the first step, then you'll find some cool people. Also, just going out and exploring, taking pictures, is a good way to clear your mind and get a better feel for the place. You'll make NH your home in no time!

    Brenna said...

    You could work on your psychic abilities- then you'll know everything you need to do to make friends! http://www.meetup.com/Seacoast-Psychic-Development-Spiritual-Expansion-Group/events/past/#initialized (took a guess as to where you live).

    I also agree that making friends is hard, and unfortunately I think it's harder when you're in a relationship and new to the area, b/c if you befriend a single person, it's awkward when the three of you hang out, and finding couple friends is doubly hard.

    Mel said...

    I work from home, just like you. Moved to a new city where I knew nobody (OK, one person who ended up making me stabby), just like you.

    And I've made friends!

    Check out Young Professional Groups. I found a "once a month" downtown lunch group AND a dinner club (I just KNOW I'll get along with fellow foodies). Beer events, I met like-minded peeps too (I also located a woman's only happy hour group on Meetup). I also made friends training for roller derby, so perhaps (if you're athletic or sports-minded), you could find a rec league to play in (not saying you HAVE to do derby, but flag football or kickball or something). Just some ideas. :)

    Also: twitter has been an amazing way to meet unique, interesting people -- seriously, it sounds cheesy, but I met a wide variety of friends here this way! Also, Pittsburgh PodCamp was so amazing and where I first met a lot of "tweeps" and bloggers who shared a lot of the same geeky passions.

    suki said...

    I've met a lot of people through volunteering or groups that have a philanthropic focus/goal in mind. One I'm looking into these days is Rotaract. It's a young version of the Rotary Club. :) I also have met people through the internet, and we've turned those online introductions into actual real life interactions and friendships.

    suki said...

    Hi Yelp friend! :P

    theTsaritsa said...

    LOL :-D

    See?

    Leanna said...

    I went through a very similar situation when I moved to NYC in May. I only knew 2 people when I first arrived but I've made a ton of new friends. A lot of the people I hang out with are from my office or friends of my roommates. BUT I've also had good luck meeting people at the gym and I've been to a few Twitter meet ups. Does your college have a young alumni association? GW has an awesome group with lots of happy hours and events. It's definitely helped me meet people with similar interests!

    Nadine-Adele said...

    I love the WW idea :) but I agree with Mel's idea about Twitter they always have meetups :)x

    Arielle said...

    Yoga is not a particularly great way to meet people but as someone who has been doing bikram for all of 2 weeks, I highly recommend it for exercise purposes.

    susan said...

    I couldn't agree more (that meeting people in real life is hard). I moved to Akron for a job, and work WITH people and have been there 4 years. While I've formed one or two solid friendships with people I could call on the weekend, the older we get - the more set we are with our own individual lives, and frankly I don't always want to have to spend my time with coworkers, but I don't have any one else really. I have a friend and her husband I actually met online before moving here, years before, that once I moved here we managed to become close - but that's it.

    I thin a bookclub or volunteering would be great. Since I'm off all summer, I might steal the volunteering idea and give that a whirl :)

    mrsashcake said...

    I am with you... need to make some friends! lol

    are their any bloggers in that area that you can get to know through blogging and then meet in real life??

    meeting people in real life IS hard, especially once you get to be an adult. seems like everyone already has their friends and they aren't totally willing or open to you worming your way in. makes it hard.

    May said...

    Volunteering is a great idea! Also, there has to be some sort of young professional group in your town. That's how I met a few of my friends in (not so) lovely Texas.

    omstastic

    Grace D. said...

    Joining a Meetup group was how I first met people in my city when I moved here! That being said, that book group sounds awful! I think you should start your own book group -- put an ad up on Craigslist and/or Facebook for your own! I love to read, but I've never joined a book group because the selections are generally not aligned with my interests/tastes. I think it'd be fun to start a book group on a theme, though. Like "Books We Loved in Junior High" (dust off all your Babysitters Club books!!) or "Craftacular Books" (learning new tricks!).

    Laura said...

    I used to attend a Unitarian church...there is a whole population of Jews out there that attend Unitarian churches, in fact...they are called "Jewnitarians"

    Stefanie said...

    Believe it or not but I found my friends here through Facebook. Duh! There was a page for German wives in Fort Hood, I joined, hung out with some of the girls, we introduced the husbands and hung out some more. I have also been lurking around on MeetUp but have never been to one of the meetings. I think yoga would be a great way to meet people - or any sort of gym class for that matter. Good luck and yay for moving in with the boyfriend! :)

    Stephany said...

    There's a really great book club through Meet-Up by me, but I've never gone because I NEVER like their book selections! Sometimes, they can be good. But mostly? Horrible. Not my thing. Plus, I suck at joining groups like that. My anxiety always gets the best of me! Blah.

    skinny_dip said...

    I like the idea of the book club but not THAT book club. Actually, their recent reads are the reason I fear book clubs in general. I've read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (except, it was the original French version "Vingt Mille Lieues sous les Mers") and it really is as bad as it sounds. Have you thought of maybe forming your own book club?

    The Church thing could work. When my family originally moved to Canada they were Russian Orthodox but, joined the Catholic Church in their town to make friends.

    Vicki said...

    Try Meetup groups. And maybe there are some Tweeps in your vicinity?

    Kristin & Megan said...

    I've been meaning to hit up yoga class too. Let's do it! Congrats on the move!

    graceelena said...

    Yay UU church! My church is mainly elderly people and it's glorious. In fact, I rarely went to church in DC because it just didn't have the same feel, read: too many young people. The old people will end up being great resources and friends and will probably introduce you to their millions of children and grandchildren. Fact.

    Andy Jones said...

    I am actually quite impressed with your list. You could also try taking language classes, or sign-language classes, or try some kind of team sport? I doubt it is easy making new friends. A while ago I got a bit demoralised with my friendship group, so I moved into a shared house that is in a community of graduates. That helped me meet a lot of people.

    Nora_L said...

    Sounds like a great jumping off point, for sure! I'm all about volunteering + book clubs + library things. Do you guys have a pet? If so, dog parks or something similar might be kind of fun too, if nothing else to have someone to walk the dogs with =) I'm sure we'll talk more about this soon! <3

    steph anne said...

    Where in NH? I have a really cool & fun friend that lives in NH. Let me know! :)

    Allison Blass said...

    I've also found it really challenging to make friends as an adult. I've made some through work, through my fiance, and through different activities like church, support groups (for diabetes), and through meetup.com. I've also made a lot of friends on Twitter and through blogging. So I think all your ideas are really good ones. I wish I had more friends or at least a *group* since most of my friends are just one-off people I've met randomly over the last 4 years. And now that I work at home too, it's even harder! But you'll get there, it just takes time. And if I'm ever in NH, I will look you up!

    terra said...

    I have no idea how to make friends as a grown up. When I smoked, I met people that way at my old apartment, but then I quit smoking and now I'm totally clueless as to how adults make friends. I love the idea of volunteering as a means of meeting other like-minded folks.

    April Blake said...

    It really is a bitch to make friends after college, the last frontier of ready made social networks. I have joined a gym that caters to the younger professional crowd, but haven't made any real friends through it (not that I've reaaally tried though).

    Definitely try something more conducive to conversation, rather than to grunting and wiping off sweat.

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
    Real Time Web Analytics