Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Failure to lunch {A plea to those who know how to make plans stick}

       Too often it seems I met someone and we really get along, but then nothing happens. No I am not talking about anything sleazy, not even anything romantic. What I am talking about is friendship.

       At only 21 it’d be quite tragic to write myself off as un-friendable. In fact, as I’m told countless times by existing friends, family and strangers, my twenties are to be  the “time of my life” in which I’ll met people I’ll “never forget”; people of the “best friends forever” variety. And yet convincingly, I am finding the alternative.
        Sure I do have friends. Most certainly I have a few wonderful people who I adore and who I know love me too, and we have amazing times together. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes wish for a few more.

       It’s not that I don’t meet people that I don’t get along with. Nor is it that they don’t like me (or at least I hope not). What seems to happen most is a chance meeting at uni, a party or even a vintage fair. There’ll be chatting and laughter and much promise, but where do you go from there?

        I’m constantly worried that I am the over-keen person at the party who announces to the group of strangers that they should become facebook “friends” immediately, exchange phone numbers and start planning their trip to Mexico, where they can all buy and exchange their own “friends-forever” bracelets, which they will never, ever, ever take off!

        For a while, in my early uni years, I really think I could have been this person. (Okay, maybe not to such an extent, but I was definitely leaning in that direction)

         So, in fear of being a despererado, I’ve learnt to back off. Yet, this brings it a disappointing silence on the new friend front. Because really, at a large university campus or an annual vintage fair, how often do you bump into the same people? How often do you chance-meet potential friends; enough to establish a nice to-and-fro which takes the urgency and awkwardness out of the can-I-have-your-phone-number conundrum?

         Even when you pass that hurdle, then there’s the first “friend-date” which I have never seemed to master. I always flail around in elaborate planning stages; tip-toeing delicately between obsessed stalker and anti-social hermit. I’m eager for them to know I like them, but equally aware (and afraid) that maybe they don’t feel the same way.

         And if I’ve tackled all these obstacles, saw a friendly face, made contact, established a mutual desire to be in the same room on the same day at the same time in close-ish proximity to talk about whatever it is that bonds us (most likely cheese, pie and vintage apparel), then how to secure the date? AND ensure it all follows through??

        Because in my world, there’s always horribly mundane things like illness, assignments or sick pets to obscure plans. Always. Without a doubt. And they always occur when the plans I’ve made are those where cancelling has so much more significance attached to it than a simple movie night with a long-time friend who's seen you in ragged pyjamas with toothpaste smeared down your chin (please tell me you know what I mean).

So, this leaves me with my current dilemma.

In lieu of better phrasing, how do you move from acquaintance to friend?

How do you ensure your plans succeed?

How do you avoid failure to launch?

And how do you make and keep new friends?

(Note: I hope this post doesn't seem overly depressing or outrageously dramatic, as I assure you am a mostly upbeat person with  just a touch of sarcastic pessimism á la Bernard Black. However, I would appreciate any advice you can offer on the subject, as I am genuinely curious as to what to do. Or perhaps just some reassurance that I am not completely alone in these feelings.
I would also like to reassure you that I am not some kind of social pariah, but it seems awfullly narcisstic and fraudulent to say so myself, and my chap is currently preoccupied talking to my dog about rum and raisin brownies. *sigh* Oh well, rum and raisin brownie anyone?)



Melanie said...

I have the same problem, I've had it for years. I wish I knew how to rectify things too.

Anonymous said...

Miss Sarah,

You are definitely not alone! I have been told innumerable times that I am socially awkward and people have a tendency to hate me as soon as they see me or when I open my temperamental mouth. But I can honestly say that my most prized friendships, those people who have stuck with me despite all odds, took great time and nurture to develop into what they are. And I think we are secretly able to tell who's companionship is worth the struggle. Perhaps a difficult start is a sign of good things to come :)


Casey said...

Hello! I thought I'd delurk and add a few thoughts. ;) In my experience, my 20s has just been awkward and often messy in regards to friendships (er... relationships in general! :p). Often due to my own shyness/social anxiety--I get very shy about following up with someone I've met because I don't want to come off as desperate (in truth, I'm just very excited usually to have met someone who I hit it off with!). But in many ways, I've had to push past that to make friends. Even a simple text message to see how someone I met recently is doing, and would they like to get together for lunch or coffee? I've had to learn too that nine times out of ten the reason the person hasn't contacted me or initiated any further get-togethers, is because they are busy. Which is why I'm trying to get better about the "gentle reminders". Most often they are just as interested in cultivating a friendship as I am! It's tough most times though--I've been really frustrated at my attempts the past few months to meet and get to know people in my city more. And of course, the one time I saw another "vintage girl" out in public, was the one time I didn't have any of my contact cards on me, and I was too shy to say "let's exchange email!" because I didn't want to come off as some weird creep. lol. At least having that contact card has relieved some of the pressure in the past that people can feel if one suggests exchanging info, though of course that puts the ball squarely in their court as far as initiating any further contact.

Good gosh... Hope I didn't make things worse. ;) I'm still muddling through the whole thing myself. ;)

Miss Tallulah Porkchop said...

It is supposed to be easy, if it is right. One in a million people you meet will be a friend for life. Just keep being friendly until one of the folk crosses your path.

Although, I think they are all nuts and I would LOVE to shop/lunch etc with you if we were closer- that said, I'm probably going to be up there in early March - we should totally do lunch!

Brandy said...

Sadly I am no longer in my twenties and I never found a solution to that problem and actually I had the addition to the problem that I am married with children so I don't even get to meet these people. Right now, I am just going about starting to try to make friends online, but still have the same problem not wanting to be creepy.

annikavictoria said...

This was a really good post! I feel so exactly the same meeting new people, but it was nice to have you put it into words for me. Good to know I'm not the only one who has this social awkwardness, because you definitely can feel like you're the only one, especially in the context of being out and seeing other people acting all confident and getting along with other people. I try and remember that if everyone else appears confident to me, and everyone probably feels the same way as I do, then I probably seem just as confident to everyone else as well. Maybe! Just maybe! Or maybe it's all just in my head! ;)
xx Annika

Anonymous said...

Totally agree, I've often felt the same, but you put it into words so well.

P.S. I can totally imagine James and Amber having a deep & meaning about brownies.

Janice said...

My 20s were personally awful (especially my early 20s). I spent most of it depressed, being friends with the wrong people and being lonely. My late 20s have been much more productive.

I've learned that people are generally very busy, and if I haven't heard from someone friend-wise (for the most part) it's because they have a lot going on. Some of the best ways to keep in touch are text or email, and sometimes planning to hang out way in advance (like a week or more for the really busy people.) As you get older it gets more difficult as people get busier and busier and have their own families.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could help!!!! I'm the same way. I've always had 1 good friend wherever I've lived. I have no idea how to make friends. I moved 1000 miles away from home almost 5 years ago and I still haven't made any friends!!! I have plenty of acquaintances and I'm well liked, I think? But I don't have anyone I'd call a friend and I feel like I never have anyone to call up and ask to hang out on weekends. I'm usually quite content being by myself, but sometimes I want to go out with girlfriends! My boyfriend is pretty much my best friend and I love hanging out with him, but I don't have any girls to talk to. I'm not depressed or dramatic either! lol.

Mabel Time