Sometimes you find yourself suddenly sobbing into the mirror while brushing your teeth at noon on a Tuesday & listening to a Top 40 song by, oh, God, Train. Now, I know that's not quite what they call "rock bottom," but it sure doesn't feel like the top, either.
I've been hesitant to write about my struggles to make friends because the last time I did, I got half a dozen anonymous comments lambasting me for being a whiner, for not trying hard enough, for not taking hold of my own destiny, or whatever. Since then, I've kept it to myself, because I'm smart enough not to invite people to kick me while I'm down. But the truth is that I'm still struggling, hard, & if I can't talk about it here, where can I?
Here's my truth right now: I've lived in Red Bank for 14 months now. In that time, I've made exactly zero friends - & it's taking its toll on me.
I've tried, of course, but I'm just not sure how to find people. Friends have told me that to find like-minded people, I should "do what [I] love" (I think they mean things like volunteering, yoga, etc.), but with all due respect to those people, I loathe this advice because what I love to do is blog & watch TV - two activities that don't exactly lend themselves to fun after-school activities. What else do I love? Being in cities, spending time with friends. And oh, wait, those don't really apply here, either.
Originally, I adopted a mindset that if I traveled all the time - to places where I do have friends - I'd never have to cultivate one. That worked for awhile, but now it's sort of backfired: I never want to be here because I have no life here.
And it's ruining everything. I've come to resent my boyfriend & my cat for all the time we spend together, for the total dearth of other human connection in my life. I'm picking fights, inventing drama. I'm extraordinarily, alarmingly sad, to the point that, apparently, Train songs make me cry. I feel like I'm on the verge of a mental/emotional breakdown all the damn time, & while some of it can be attributed to other issues, most of it, I suspect, is related to all this goddamn loneliness.
It's not like I'm not trying. I am! I am trying!
I joined Meetup.com before I even moved here, & I check it a few times a week for possibilities. So far I've been to exactly no events. Most of them haven't interested me, or I see that all the other attendees are much older than me, so I decide not to go. I even joined a lesbian book club meetup, for crying out loud.
I keep an eye out for things like classes at the library & community centers & stuff, but nothing has caught my eye. I don't want to learn to knit & I don't have kids & I don't run 5Ks.
I joined a gym, went to a couple of classes, even got a personal trainer. Who are you supposed to talk to at the gym, though? I can't work out & talk at the same time, & I don't want to. Nobody wants to be chatted up while they're getting their sweat on. This option is ludicrous.
I work from different locations a few days a week, & I try to make small talk with people when the time is right. I've had some good small talk chats with folks I've met there - like Raoul, who another regular referred to as "the mayor of Starbucks" - but nothing worth pursuing. I even looked into coworking space, but it's $20 a day, & if I wanted to spend that much, I'd commute into my office in the city .
I meet people at bars sometimes, set my sights on befriending somebody like I'm trying to take them home. I've exchanged numbers with two girls, Abby & Meredith, though neither went anywhere - presumably because once sober, they think it's weird to be "hit on" by a potential friend. I suspect I come out of these exchanges looking desperate &/or creepy.
I emailed the local roller derby about joining, thinking I could adopt a sweet name like KATEASTROPE & check bitches on the track & become really fierce, or something. They practice every Wednesday & Sunday; given my frequent travel schedule, though, I can't commit to Sundays, so that's out.
I made plans with two people I met on Twitter, & both were really nice but nothing came of them, no big friendship sparks or mutual interest in making future plans. And now? Now both of those women are pregnant, so all hope is basically lost on that front.
Maybe I'm not trying hard enough. Am I doing everything humanly possible to meet people & make friends of them? Well, no. But that's only because it's really hard, & not just to find people. It's hard in that it's emotionally exhausting, & there's so little pay-off, & it just... becomes really awful really quickly. It's embarrassing & awkward & consistently disheartening, & frankly, it sucks. Remember when you were a teenager & your mom would insist that you not use that word? Well, sorry, Mom, but this sucks. It sucks my energy & my motivation & my hopefulness out of me. It sucks my positivity away. It sucks. So if I'm not trying hard enough, it's only because it's really hard. Oh, I already said that? Because it's true.
So you tell me: What am I supposed to I do?* I'm thisclose to moving out of this town & back into a city, to someplace where I know people or at least know how to find people. I'm trying my damndest not to see that as my only option, but two & a half years into this no-friends-on-the-premises life & I don't know if I see any other solution.
Goddamn, I'm lonely.
*Disclaimer: I don't actually want you to tell me what to do unless you can do it without making me feel terrible, because I already feel terrible. If you want to tell me I'm not trying hard enough, please STFU.