Thursday, January 15, 2015

HOW TO AWKWARDLY MAKE FRIENDS

As we widows know, it is hard to be a third wheel when it used to be a foursome.  Most of us don't have employment so we can't develop friends from the workplace.  I, for one, enjoy friendly neighbors but I don't want to be too close to the people who live beside me or over me ... in case I need to remind them of our rules and bylaws.

Luckily for me, I have two couples who still include me, myself and I ... on a regular basis.  Thanks Bob and Paula ... and Eli and Rae.  Love you!  I also have a couple of great married lady friends who are great about leaving their hubby behind for some girl talk.


Believe it or not, it takes some effort to find new people you might want to befriend.  The first step, just like AA, is to admit you want more (some)(one) friends.  It's not a character flaw! It's just so ... human.

Remember you will need to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a congenial person.  It's hard to NOT take it personally if you invite someone for coffee and they say no.  I've learned to not say "want to get together for coffee?"  Now I say would you have time for coffee next Weds?  If I make the effort three or four times with no success, I step back from that person.  Believe it or not ... sometimes they will eventually call back!  And sometimes they don't.

After a get together, one on one or small group, determine if you are compatible.  Does this person listen as much as talk?  Are they too upbeat or too whiny?  What topics do they bring up ... bad health, potty habits, family trouble ... or something new happening in your area or an activity they think you should try or politics on a non argumentative level.  Another important aspect for me ... similar physical ability.  I can't join them in a half marathon but maybe I could do a 5K walk!!

Another thing that is important to me is having the same standard of living.  I can't afford to (or choose not to afford) go to $200 dinners at new restaurants or take a cruise or whatever.  When I do meet up with wealthier people, I just admit that I can't join that particular activity due to financial constraints but would like to go to see the movie XXXXX if they'd like to go.


Initiate a more intimate event.  Yep.  Invite them to your house.  Dust off your recipe box.  Or make it a potluck.  Or it could be mugs and muffins one morning.  Or a dessert bar.  Or wine and cheese.

Really, making the first move is probably the most important.  It's a palm sweating experience.  Every time.  Kinda like being in an elevator.  Do you start a conversation?  Or sitting next to someone on a crowded bus or plane.  I chat for a few minutes, then casually say how much I enjoy the peace and quiet of a 5 hour plane ride so I can crawl inside my book (or magazine).  Because I really do enjoy being unavailable for a bit!

Last and most important.  Just say yes.  Many times I think I'd rather NOT do that but accept the invitation and climb out of my comfort zone.  Just now.  Leslie invited me to an Island Art Party.  AAAAAHHHHH!  I'm embarrassed by my lack of talent and already I'm sweating.  Since I'm in the middle of writing this .... it was an omen to say yes.

               

Oh. My. Goodness.









7 comments:

  1. Those one night "art" parties are all the rage where I live. I was going to say I have not been to one but then I remembered I took a pastel class last year that was one step closer to real art than those parties. Everyone I know who goes to them does have fun and they proudly post their paintings on FaceBook.

    I'm tired of trying to make friends. And I realized I've spent my whole life following two strong personalities around for a social life. In grade and high school it was my best friend and it doesn't surprise me that she turned out married to a Washington DC guy and she entertains monthly. Entertaining is her whole life. She even took me to a party at the French Embassy once when I was in town, Ten years after she left MI I was following my husband around and making all my friends through him and I have very little experience making friends on my own.

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    1. I talked myself out of art party. No place to put anything!! I will use that money for a pedicure!

      It is WORK to make friends. I need maybe one more in my first "circle" and quite a few more in my second circle. So far, everyone seems excited if I invite them over for food!

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  2. Useful tips! I see how proactive you are taking care of your social needs.

    "Remember you will need to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a congenial person." That line is golden.

    I adore the opportunity widowhood has given me to grow. As I have come out of my shell, my pattern of playing wingman to a Technicolor Personality is losing its appeal. I tried for a while to be the Technicolor Personality myself, but it's just not me.

    I am now putting my sincerity and gentleness out there for now people to see. My goofiness, too. The connections I make, though few, are authentic. And authentic feels good! Next, dear Awkward Widow, I need to do some invites!

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    1. As I mentioned, making new friends is WORK. Takes both time and effort. I don't want to be a Technicolor Personality (Great term, by the way!!). Authentic is what I want in my life as well.

      My sister is a good example ... she convenes different kinds of events at her house ... this weekend is healthy CLEAN eating potluck. She often has a few over for a PRE event nibble and drink ... or post event. As she ages, she sometimes BUYS prepared food for an event! So smart!

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  3. Now--if I had neighbor's like youse guys--just maybe I'd want to socialize. Yes--I need to go where the action is to meet people, but...I guess I'm just too tired.

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    1. I enjoy my alone time as well! I love just moving slowly in the morning. It would make my sister CRAZY but I love having coffee and computer time for two hours ... and I know I need to get up and move around more .... next week, maybe?

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  4. All good advice. I used to be much more proactive about making more friends. Of course, I used to live in a neighborhood that had so many people my age, and I had a lot in common with them. Not the case in this neighborhood. Hope you enjoy your Island Art Party. I have absolutely no talent in that area. I'm crafty and can copy others, but I'm not original.

    I like that graphic, "Get Comfortable with Uncomfortable." Boy, that's advice I need. Hope you enjoy your art

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