Making friends is something that has always been a struggle for me. I’m shy to begin with, and a history of lousy friends has created a lot of self-esteem and trust issues for me. I tend to question people’s motives and whether they really want to be friend or if they’re just being polite. I wonder about my “value” as a friend and whether or not I’m a “good” friend. Over the years, I’ve dealt with most of my issues so they don’t usually interfere with my friendships, but they still make it harder for me to develop new friendships. I find myself uncomfortable around strangers. I think I’m terrible at small talk, and I tend to feel really insecure when making new friends.
This is even true when it comes to making blog friends. It’s not like I don’t have things to talk about, like we don’t have things in common, but I have just as much trouble approaching people and engaging strangers in the blogophere as I do in the real world. It’s not that I don’t want to make friends with my fellow bloggers; I just pretty much always feel like a creepy lame-ass emailing a blogger saying something like “Oh hi, I really like your blog; can we be friends?” I know I shouldn’t worry about stuff like that, but sometimes insecurities get the best of me especially when there isn’t a face to face or immediate interaction involved.
I have a very close knit group of friend that I’ve been friends with since high school. Over the years we’ve gone our separate ways and come back together in time. To me these people are just as much family as they are friends. I didn’t make many new friends in college. When you combined my struggles to makes friends with the fact that I already had a great group of friends my logic became, I already have great friends so why do I need to make new ones. While I was dating my ex, I sort of fall out with the group. I was still invited to (and attended) the major events, but I was all but nonexistent in the day-to-day. After my breakup with my ex and my breakup with my best friend shortly thereafter, I realized I truly needed to work on re-developing and nurturing these relationships as well as forming new ones.
Over the last two years, I’ve been working really hard to build new friendships and develop closer relationships with friends I already have. One of my Mission 101 goals was to make a new friend. I’ve been trying to put myself out there more, open up to old friends, and take risks that the “old me” might not have taken.
Last Friday my friend Val and I had our first one-on-one “friends date.” Val and I have known each other and run in the same circles since high school, but we’ve never been particularly close. (Heck, I thought she actively disliked me for many years!) We’ve been getting closer and building a stronger friendship over the last year or so – bonding over things like wine and getting healthier and not being pregnant. I’ve helped peel price stickers off vases and make tiny gum paste leaves for her wedding. A couple weeks ago she asked me if I would be interested in going to see Of Monsters and Men with her. She had two tickets and no one to go with her.
Of Monsters and Men is a new band (Their album just released in the US two days ago.) I’d only heard one of their songs prior to the concert, but it sounded like fun so I said yes! Truthfully, the me from two or three years ago probably would have turned her down. Even though we’ve gotten closer over the last year, I don’t know that the “old me” would have been comfortable having one on one plans with her.
Before the concert we went and grabbed dinner at Cafe Babareeba. I haven’t been there in years, and I had totally forgotten how much I love that restaurant. We had spinach and manchego stuffed mushrooms, goat cheese baked in tomato sauce, roasted dates with bacon and apple vinaigrette, butternut squash and cheese toast with kale and apple salad, scallops, spaghetti squash and cranberry vinaigrette, and of course a pitchers of the white peach sangria. Everything was delicious although we both decided the scallops left something to be desired. I will definitely be making a return trip sooner rather than later! After dinner we walked the mile to the concert venue and arrived just after the opening band finished. It was a short show (it’s a new band afterall), but it was fantastic. I have absolutely fallen in love with the band, and I bought their CD (er, well, the mp3s since CDs are sooooo 90s) on Amazon on Tuesday. I’d be listening to it non-stop if I’d bothered to replace my headphones after slamming them in my car door.
Ultimately I had a great time, and I can’t wait for our next concert (Anyone remember Out Lady Peace?!) on Sunday. It makes me so happy to be building friendships and putting myself out there more. I still feel insecure sometimes, but ultimately, positive experiences only boost my confidence.