Trying to remember how to make friends

Hello, all. I was thinking today about how difficult it has been to try to change myself “one petal at a time.” I’ve been successful in some areas, such as this blog, dieting and exercise. But there is this urge to crawl back into my own little world and stay there. I am trying to focus a bit on how it felt the first time I really came out of my shell more than 20 years ago.

I was definitely a quiet and shy kid, who was just terrified of others judging me, and I always just assumed that no one liked me. Well, I now know that isn’t true, but it left me with few friends in middle school and high school. I never really had any social interaction outside of school. Finally, my junior year of high school I started to come out of my shell a little bit. Then in my senior year, I talked a lot more. I still didn’t do anything outside of school, but I was much better at talking to people and joking around.

The came college, and with it, a clean slate. I went to a college where no one knew me. No one knew my history. No one knew that I was shy. And wow, did that open a lot of doors. I had a roommate, and we got along fairly well. I had suite mates, and we all got along well. I had friends, and I actually did social things. It was SO FUN. And I really need to remember the fun I had then to help me stay on track now.

I became really good friends with my resident assistant (RA), and because of that, she encouraged me to apply to be an RA. So I did. And, wow, what a just fantastic decision that was. I was an RA for my sophomore through senior year. First off, RAs don’t have to have a roommate, so I had no roommate for those three years. Second, RAs get paid! So, my parents decided that because I had a job during the school year, I didn’t have to have a summer job. Score! Third, it’s a heck of a great thing to put on a resume. I know it helped me land my first job for sure.

And, just to toot my own horn, I was voted by my fellow RAs as most creative and most reliable in my junior year and as RA of the Year in my senior year. And, so, I had tons and tons of social interactions in college and made a ton of friends. Sadly, though, Facebook and the like didn’t exist then, and I am straight up terrible at maintaining contact with people, so I haven’t heard from anyone from college since then. And names escape me, because I am terrible at remembering names. Remembering names and keeping up with friends are definitely other things I need to improve on.

I miss that part of college. I miss having friends to hang out with. And even without a pandemic, making friends at my age can be rather difficult. I never really know where to start. Before the pandemic, I was trying a bit. I thought that I would go somewhere I enjoyed, and that I’d talk to others who were there. I chose a pinball arcade. I was the only person there over age 20. So, yeah, that did not work out.

I really need to get back out of my shell again so that I can make new, local friends to hang out with. This blog has helped me reconnect with friends via Facebook, and we’ve chatted online. That is totally wonderful, and I really love that I am doing that. I really love that I am talking to people again, and I’ve talked to more people in the last couple months than I probably did in the entire year before that.

Honestly, I make really bad first impressions. People have told me that I come off as scary. I try not to, but I’ve been a single female living alone for most of my adult life, so I had to learn not to be too friendly. People take being friendly the wrong way, sometimes, and I have to be super careful about that. More than once for me, my friendliness was taken as flirting, and it made for some awkward — and scary — encounters.

So, it takes a while for me to open up to people, as I have to assess them first. I have to know how they will react to sarcasm, for example. Sometimes, my mouth gets sassy before my brain can stop it, so I tend to be quiet for fear of saying something to a person who may not understand that I’m joking. (Example: When I was in college, I said something sarcastic to this one dude, and he got all offended and walked off in a huff and never spoke to me again. Others witnessed this and told me I didn’t do anything wrong. But after that, I learned I had to get to know someone a bit before being myself.)

Anyway, I am hoping, though, that I can meet new people in my area and maybe not make a terrible first impression. I did find a group on Meetup that I am working up the nerve to message. But even if I do, it’s not like I can hang out with anyone right now in person. I picked a heck of a time to change myself.

Until next time!

The Frazzled Daisy

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