I wish that I could start this post with, “Oh, I had so much fun with my meetup.com cooking group, I met so many potential friends…” However, to my embarrassment and semi-regret I completely chickened out.
I was supposed to go to a pot luck cookout at a lady’s house. I should have gone; I could have gone; I didn’t go.
It’s easy to say that if I wasn’t sick I would have gone (spent 3 work days in bed this week), or if the gathering was at a public place I would have gone (what if the host was an ax murderer?), but to be honest I’m not sure that I would have gone even in ideal conditions.
To make matters worse, I dropped out of the club (and meetup.com) entirely. I just panicked. Catastrophic friendship failure.
I’ll just have to pick up the pieces and move on.
Friendship month is kind of a wash. I still have almost two weeks left, though, so maybe I’ll have some larger successes in the near future. For now, however, I’ll have to be content with my (very) minor successes so far:
- I joined meetup.com and will (hopefully, if I don’t lose my nerve) attend my first event this weekend. Nevermind that when I told my mom about it, she was sure I’d be murdered and basically made me regret ever joining.
- Joined a Zumba class. This, I think, will be key. Same time, same place, same people – I have to make a friend out of this eventually, right?
- Started a friendship log, so I can see what I’m doing (and where I’m lacking).
Small steps will get me somewhere, slowly but surely, I suppose… so long as I keep taking them!
I feel a bit guilty. Organization month was so much fun for me. All April, I had a great time getting my ducks in a row, making lists and plans, generally creating order. I enjoyed reading books on the topic, and even while each chore or task was not necessarily a joy, it gave me a sense of accomplishment. It was check-able.
Friendship month, on the other had, is drudgery. I feel just awful saying that. I should be excited to make new friends, and make better connections with those that I already have. I am just spent, though. It’s exhausting keeping up with other people – everyone’s schedules are different, and sometimes I wonder if I’m even benefiting from the project. I mean, if it’s a complete chore to maintain contact with someone, is the effort worth it? On the other hand, if I don’t start to be a little more active in this area, I’m going to end up friendless.
Is it possibly just that this point in my life isn’t necessarily conducive to friend making? I have a few co-workers and neighbors that I could become closer with, but I’m not sure that’s a line I want to cross. It seems like it’s easy enough to make friends when you have kids – I used to make temporary mom-friends without trying when I’d take my babysitting charges to the playground. Not that I’d pursue those friendships – I felt like a fraud in that situation – but I can see how those types of friendships could easily and naturally evolve. In my current situation, I feel like I’m forcing friendships.
So which is better – forced friendships, or none at all?
I wish I just felt a little more comfortable socializing. That would make this month quite a bit easier! But… again… “easy” is not why I’m doing the Happiness Project! It seems strange that being happy should be work, or that happiness can be unpleasant. I suppose this month I just need to remind myself that I’m working toward long-term happiness and not just temporary pleasure. Forcing myself to communicate and get out into the social scene WILL eventually make things better — and hopefully it will get easier with practice!
I don’t have a knack for remembering dates (or names, or faces…), so I’m working on a way to track and celebrate birthdays. I have a few ideas, so far, but haven’t settled on one. Maybe you have something to add to my list.
- Gift Elephant, which I’ve posted about before, will e-mail you a week before a birthday. I added my closest friends’ and family members’ names in, but haven’t taken the time (yet?) to enter cousins, acquaintances, etc.
- I use Google Calendar, in which you can repeat an event so it shows up every year. I think you can have it remind you, as well. Again, I have immediate family members’ birthdays entered, but that’s it.
- Facebook does a fantastic job of reminding people of acquaintances’ (and in my case, some cousins’) birthdays; however, in order to use this feature I’d need to actually log in once in a while. I know that I’m not committed enough to Facebook to log in daily just to see if it’s anyone’s birthday, but I could do a better job of checking birthdays the times I do sign on.
- During my organization month in April, I set up a tickler file – a system of 12 file folders labeled by month and 31 slots (for days of the month) in a bill organizer. This would be handy to keep cards in – for example, I could make an anniversary card whenever I have the time, and stick it in the August folder to plan ahead for my parents’ anniversary. I could even attach a list of important dates in each folder, and on the first of the month plan ahead accordingly.
- I love the idea of having a hanging paper calendar on the fridge. I could fill in birthdays at the beginning of the year.
- My grandma buys cards in advance, and as soon as she purchases them, addresses the envelope and puts the delivery date in the top right corner. When the date approaches, she sticks a stamp over the date and drops it in the mailbox. Maybe I could somehow combine this with my tickler system.
I have two birthdays to remember in May, so hopefully I’ll have my system worked out in the next week or so. Any ideas would be appreciated!
I wasn’t specifically trying to make friends, but I think I may have found a way that’ll be easier than many of my other endeavors. Also, even if I don’t make a friend or two out of it, maybe I’ll get my tushie into better shape!
I’m talking about Zumba here, folks. With a tagline, “Ditch the workout, join the party,” who could resist? We’re YMCA members, and I’m trying to take better advantage of the many classes they offer. I dropped in on a Zumba class today, purely for the exercise, but when I saw dozens of ladies milling about, waiting for class to begin, I felt hope – potential friends! I struck up a short conversation with one of the girls who looked about my age, and she seemed really nice. It was a short conversation, and aside from my initial comment (Do you come to this class every week?), it wasn’t forced. I didn’t go over and stand by the girl during the class, or even ask her name. I don’t want to be stalkerish, or needy, or pushy, so becoming a regular Zumba-er may be the thing for me. If I continue to go to the same class weekly, maybe I’ll continue bumping into the same people weekly, and eventually develop a friendship. Perhaps this is how the real world works, and I just need to stop trying so hard.
It’s completely out of my comfort zone, but I’ve decided to go for it – I’ve joined a cooking club where I know absolutely no one. It’ll be an experience, though whether it’s one I’ll continue or limit to once will be seen in a few weeks.
I found out about the cooking club on Meetup.com. I followed a link from a blog I follow(MWF Seeking BFF) with low expectations. I live in a small city, and typically the closest clubs and events that I see advertised on various websites take place at least four hours away from my house. This site was different, though – it had dozens of groups in my city, from backpacking to socializing to the John Birch Society (no, thank you). Their mission is “to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.”
I’m looking forward to the first event I’ll attend – a potluck picnic. I’m not bringing a friend or the husband, and that makes me nervous – no security blanket. At the same time, though, I think that’ll be my saving grace – it will force me to talk to people I don’t know. Hopefully I’ll keep a good attitude about the whole thing for a few weeks – at least through the first meeting, and then I can see how I feel from there.
Last month when I tried to gather organization resources, I found that I had tagged about two dozen links as “organization” on my Google reader. When I pulled up links tagged as “friendship” yesterday, I expected at least a good handful. It’s sad to say, but I must be more interested in keeping my household in order than in keeping my friendships in order, because I had saved only two (two!) links on this subject.
Determined not to let past failures get the best of me, I started to search for at least a few more resources, and was delighted to find entire blogs dedicated to the subject. I haven’t really dug my teeth into any yet, but here are some I’ll be exploring. I’ll update as I read more.
Posts and Internet Articles: