Friday, February 7, 2014

Wanna Be Friends?

Making friends is hard. 

Oh, how I long for the days of walking across the playground and up to another child pronouncing, "We're friends now," and skipping off to the swings hand-in-hand. 

I grew up in a small town and, with the exception of the years I spent in college, lived in that same small town until I was 31 years old. Since then I've lived in two different states. Fortunately, I've made friends in both, but it hasn't always been easy. I've had to step out of my comfort zone. I've had to put myself out there. It's hard, you guys. 

When was the last time you heard a man talk about another man as he walked away. "Oh. My. God. Did you seeeee his pants? Way too tight. Hideous." It just doesn't happen. Women, on the other hand, are horrible. I'm sorry ladies, but we are. I don't know how many times I've been in a situation where one woman has had something negative to say about another woman in the room. Whether it's her clothes or her hair or her size, it's always something. It irritates the shit out of me and it makes me want to punch kittens. As I stand there I can't help but think, "Well, hells bells. I wonder what she's going to say about me when I leave?!" And then I consider never walking away ever. Think about that if you're someone who does this. And knock that shit off. Seriously. It's awful and it makes everyone feel bad and you JUST SHOULDN'T DO IT. 

Knowing women are this way makes it hard to be confident (read: ballsy) enough to lend yourself to the vulnerability of meeting new people. However, after all this time of living in a city of strangers, I've learned that it's pretty much a necessity unless I want to live a life of friendless solitude (believe me, there have been times when I've considered that option). 

Yesterday I got a pedicure. Not something I do often, but I'm going to an event next week where I'll be wearing open-toed shoes and it had to happen. Anyway, I'm sitting in the pedicure chair when a woman comes in and sits down in the chair next to me. The employee asks her what kind of pedicure she wants and she answers, "Whichever one takes the longest. I want to be here as many minutes as possible." I kind of laughed to myself and we gave each other the familiar look that says, "I feel ya, sistah." As we sat there, we started visiting. We talked about kids and jobs and husbands and travel and lots of other "small talk" subjects, but it was pleasant. Neither of us had any reason to be anything but ourselves. We'd never met before and would likely never see each other again. It was great because I am a huge fan of bullshit-free zones. When you enter a friendship with me, what you see is what you get. No bullshit allowed. 

We both finished our pedicures at the same time and were standing at the checkout counter still chatting. She started to walk out the door when I stopped her and said, "Wait. I hope this isn't weird, but here's my number. I've learned that sometimes you just have to tell someone that you want to be friends. Call me if you want to go to lunch or something sometime." Surprised, she took the piece of paper and looked at it. Then she looked at me and said, "Thank you. Thank you for this. It's not weird at all. I'd love to go to lunch." 

Whether or not we'll actually go to lunch one day remains to be seen. Maybe. Maybe not. She may never call. But I put myself out there and gave a big fat middle finger to any fear of rejection I had, and it was awesome and refreshing and a little bit liberating.

I don't know why we've made adulthood so hard. Be nice. Be a friend. Revisit the playground sometime. 


13 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this. I totally just vented on my blog about the fact that I don't have any local friends right now, and that making friends is super hard. I think it's hard because of all the insecurities and fear of judgement like you mentioned. I've been putting myself out there, but with two little kids, it's tough to find the time to be meet people and be a good friend. Love how you put yourself out there, and you've inspired me to do the same! Looks like a good excuse for a pedicure to me!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a relevant post, God it's awesome to read someone who really "gets" the horror of being a woman. I have very few friends, not because I don't want them, but because I never learned how to nurture a friendship. I have had a friend for years, we don't even have to see each other except in a years time,, ya know, we aren't clingy. I think I muffed up our friendship. I could slam myself into a brick wall for being a selfish bitch. I can't get into the particulars, lets just say I muffed it. Dammit. I really loved that woman...in a friend way. I will miss that so much.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so inspiring! I've let this type of opportunity go by too many times. Thank you for sharing this, maybe I'll remember it next time. Or maybe I'll get lucky and the women I meet will have read this post too! 'Cause I struggle with social anxiety and this honestly sounds slightly terrifying.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So cool! I hope she calls you for lunch!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is hard to make those friends that are really easy and enjoyable to be around, I think that's why I hate the thought of moving each time it comes up, "Crap I have to do this again?!" Fortunately there are those people out there who really are fun and genuine and easy to be friends with-too bad it often takes awhile to find them. Even worse when they move away from you! (Sniff, sniff, my friend!) I hope she takes the opportunity to spend more time with you, she'll be glad she did. Good job girl!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is how mom made friends with her very good friend Glenda. We just stopped over real fast since we are in Sochi competing in the Olympics. Make sure when you watch TV you look to see us!

    Your Olympic Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very awesome, I hope she calls and you guys get to go to lunch. I typically find that most people are on their phones and not even making eye contact. I'm all for chatting it up! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What I like so much about this is your willingness to be vulnerable and put yourself out there. Everytime we do that, we allow others to do the same. That gives us the opportunity for authentic connection rather than this song and dance we so often do in relationships. Go You.

    ReplyDelete
  9. True that!! Thanks for the reminder (kick in the ass) to be a friend.. take the first step.. and dont let insecurities stop you...

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have written about this so many times... Finding friends as a mother, especially, opens up the doors for not just you to be criticized, but your kids, too, and THAT's something I'm still struggling with. I do love your idea of just going for it and offering up your number. Something to strive towards.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'd call you. Hope lunch leads to trust and other good things.

    ReplyDelete
  12. So much braver than I would be! I was just talking about this the other night with my Almost-Mother-In-Law. My fiance and I have been talking about moving out of town (maybe even out of state) and one of the things holding me back is how terrified I am at the prospect of talking to new people, even here in the small town I've lived in since birth. This post will definitely stick in my mind as a reminder to be more open and put myself out there!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dude, I'd so hold hands with you on the playground. And I wouldn't even make fun of your pants.

    ReplyDelete

You know what makes me happy? Comments. Comments make me happy. So leave one, would ya?