Sunday, February 10

this is not my first confession

Facebook makes me feel social, but really nothing could be further from the truth.  I want to be the kind of person with a revolving front door and a smile and maybe even baked goods for every surprise visitor, but really, at least ninety percent of the time, I'd rather just curl up with my husband and kids and a book and shut the world out.

I love adventures; dream of worldwide travel; it's not that I hate new things, or change.  It's far worse.

I have never really learned how to make friends.  I grew up with them built-in, through the magic of my small parochial school, the one where I knew all my classmates from 4 years and on, my family and my one brother, and my church, with many of the same friends that I had at school.  I am just now realizing what a huge problem it is that I don't know how to make friends.

I am painful at it, really. 

I've run into people, as we all do; people with kids who are also playing on the same playground equipment as my kids, people who look very nice and far more normal than I.  And I sit with paralyzed tongue, waiting for who-knows-what.  I overcompensate by smiling too much, in silence, which I'm sure has an entirely-not-what-I-intended creepy effect.

College was different - being thrown into a new situation, knowing no one, and (eventually) I did fine and made friends, and it was great.  Since then, it's been different.  I have made a few *new* friends over the years, but all of them are SUPER at making friends. They smile, they come up with some topic of conversation that doesn't sound weird at all when it comes out of their mouths (as do my first attempts at conversations with strangers).  All of a sudden, we're talking normally and we're friends, and it's great. We really don't have to have much in common at all - it's easy once those first few conversations are started.

Seriously, what is the DEAL? I worked in customer service for years (admissions counselor, office assistant, receptionist, etc) and loved it!  I was a classroom teacher! I'm a Pampered Chef consultant!  All of those situations are fine - put me in front of people to do public speaking and I'm not really that nervous.  One on one for no specific reason?  I turn into a blob.

I think this problem is made 100% worse by the fact that I can't concentrate on anything when I have my kids with me - trying to make sure that the baby doesn't get into trouble and the boys don't take off or take their clothes off or anything in between takes every brain cell. 

I am trying to be better.  I joined a Bible Study a few years ago to try to meet people out of my comfort zone, and the study was great, and I did meet people!  I have also met some really nice people through our new home school group.  I still need some how-to-make-friends tips, or some lessons.  Play dates still give me a minor case of panic.  But I'll be fine, right??  Baby steps!  If that doesn't work, I'll just get some therapy like this.

SO.  Got any tips for me, or confessions of your own?


Tim and Richelle said...

no tips... but i often feel the same way. one of my good friends is so good at small talk and initial chatter, even though she's introverted. hubby and oldest daughters (2) are the same way. i can easily get jealous at their ease.

introverted me, on the other hand, prefers to watch and size up the situation for awhile, first. i don't like to risk jumping in until i feel i've got an idea of what i'm jumping in to. so as missos, traveling around to churches - the presenting to the church, question answers with the mission board, all the stuff that most people find harder - i breeze through that. it is the small talk before and after the service, visiting with people in their homes, etc., that totally wipes me out.

i'm still learning... and still have so much to learn.

Mom and Dad Muth said...

Jenny, you sure have a way to put your thoughts into words. That's amazing. Maybe we should all give ourselves permission to smile and not "have to" make friends with everyone we come into contact with.

Rachel said...

I'm pretty much thinking you should just STOP IT! That was hysterical, and I seriously need to take steps towards becoming a therapist ;)
I like Aunt Esther's comment above. Good, Godly, lasting friendships in my life take a lot of time and energy - I'm shooting to have lots of acquaintances (Who I pray see 'light' in me) and just a few 'friends' in which we each fervently invest the time it takes to point each other to JESUS!