Making new friends as an adult is a very strange thing (for me, at least). I meet a lot of people, both at work and socially, and some of them I hit it off with right away. The trick is then how do I convert these newfound acquaintances into friends?
As someone that considers herself occasionally socially inept, it’s tricky. I’m very paranoid about coming on too strong or too needy. How many texts is too many? Is organising a dinner too intimate or should we just plan to meet at a bar or for lunch or coffee (or herbal tea, in my case)? My partner and me do a lot of dinners with couples. Who is appropriate for this type of invitation? Is it enough to know just one member of the couple and then meet the other at our chosen social adventure?
And then, of course, there’s my insane level of sensitivity to rejection. If I invite someone to something and they can’t make it and don’t suggest an alternate date, I feel slighted. Do they not want to hang out with me, like ever, or is it just that particular day that doesn’t work and they didn’t think to suggest another one? Because maybe they’re not a compulsive planner like me (outrageous, I know). I have people that I invite to things all the time and they never make it. Should I take that as a sign?
I remember when my partner started working really long hours at his previous employer and could rarely do anything of an evening. So, if I wanted to go out, I had to go ‘alone’, sans partner, that is. For a while there, I chose to do nothing. I would stay at home and people would message me on many occasions and I would say no, not this time, sorry. I appreciated their messages and that they were thinking of me but I never actually got myself up and out of the house.
Eventually, they stopped asking me and I felt even more isolated. It took a long time and a D&M with my partner for me to realise that, yes, in fact, I did need to interact with other people, even if it meant doing it on my own. Hell, these people were my friends. What was the big deal? (It was social awkwardness and a perceived lack of money but that’s a story for another day.) Is that what’s happening here? Well, maybe not that exactly but the same general concept; that I should not give up on people because they say no a few times.
Writing this blog makes me realise the ridiculousness of what goes through my head sometimes. It can be so easy to overthink things and convince yourself that people don’t like you when, in fact, they’re just busy. If you’re meant to hang out with someone, persevere and you will eventually. And, in the meantime, you have other – confirmed – friends you can hang out with. Presumably.