Friday, April 25, 2008

Making Friends

When I was very young, I made friends easily. I remember once, my step-sister at the time, Amber, and I went door to door in our neighborhood asking the adults that answered if they had any kids for us to play with. Soon though, my mom began dating a different guy, this one worked in oil fields, and we never lived in one spot for very long. I learned to make friends, but never had to worry about keeping them, because soon enough we would be leaving.

Once junior high came, we sort of settled back in my home town. There I didn't have to make my own friends. I had cousins. Not just any cousins either. We were close, we helped take care of each other, (at least, they helped take care of me). Of course, we had to work a little to take care of our friendships, but in the long run, I always knew that they loved me and I loved them and that was that.

I am your cousin,
and you are mine,
I guess that makes us...
My cousins, two in particular, we good at making friends. Every friend I had I met through one of them. Some people accused us of being connected at the hip. And maybe we were. We relied on each other.
Unfortunately, this didn't help me when I went to college. Things were different there, even for a junior college. I didn't know many people, and kept to myself. Actually, it wasn't until my last year (I was there for *sigh* four years before going to University) when I changed my major to engineering that I met people (my future husband for one) on my own. In that case, they met me, not the other way around. Being the only girl in a class full of guys will do that.
When I moved "over the hill" to go to University, I didn't know anyone, save my future husband. I didn't really know how to meet people. I was the quiet one in my classes, I did my work and left. Group projects were very hard for me. I never knew what to say, and the kids in my classes seemed so serious and unfriendly. Actually, now that I think about it, that's probably what they thought of me. Eventually, fall came and some of our friends from the junior college came with it. We had some very good friends by the time graduation came.
And now, here we are in Arizona. Far away from any friends or family. Our family is young, we are just starting out. But we've been here a year, and there are still no friends in sight. Every other Wednesday, I facilitate a Familia class for our church. I really enjoy it, as it is one of the very few times I get a chance to talk to other people besides my husband. And women at that.
Last Wednesday, because it is the end of the year, and people are starting to get busy with summer (at least here) only one lady showed up, and we had to reschedule the class. As I was driving away, I thought that it would be nice to take someone to lunch and just chat. I had no one to call.
I'm not down and depressed about this. I'm busy at home, and right now pretty sick. But it did get me thinking that if we don't put ourselves out there and start trying to make friends, we won't have any. But now I'm stuck. Where do we begin? My husband thinks that we could meet a couple at church, but how does that work? Do we just saunter up to a couple as they are getting in their car after Mass and ask them to lunch? Thankfully my husband is more well versed in the social aspect of things.
What do you do? Have you ever been in a position like this? How do you go about meeting new people?


Michelle said...

In 6 or 7 weeks, I will be moving for the 4th time in 4 years. Having local friends is quite a challenge!

When my oldest son was born, I knew people at work, but they weren't really friends. My husband was my social life. I knew I needed friends. First I joined a MOMS Club, and then I happened to get involved in the Elizabeth Ministry at my parish. Eventually, the secular group proved to not be my cup of tea, and God gave me great relationships with the women from church.

PRAY! Ask God to please send you good, Catholic friends. I went a full year with this as my daily prayer before I found one friend (who is now a friend for life no matter where the military takes us).

Get out of the house (if you're not too sick). Library story time? Rosary group? Daytime Bible study group? I didn't think the rosary was for me, but I was guilted into attending one. I grew to love it. And don't shy away from secular groups if your church doesn't have anything. I found the answer to that year-long prayer at a secular homeschool group.

I also recommend you look for moms with children under school age. Moms like me (6 kids) make great mentors (and yes, you should look for those too), but you'll need someone at your stage in life. She might be ten years older, but if she only has tots, you'll have plenty in common.

I'll pray for you, too, as I begin to pray (again) for friends in my new neighborhood and church.

And, yes, you can corner people in the parking lot. But perhaps sitting near another family in church and then turning to the mom after Mass and asking if she knows of any playgroups with Catholic moms in it would be a good opener...she might be looking too.

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur said...

My best friend lives 2 hrs away, and I am a quiet person, too. When my kids were younger, playgroup and library story times were my "outs" and I looked forward to them so much - just for the reason you said - being able to talk to other adult women who understand what you are going through.

Cmerie said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement ladies. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who has a hard time with this. Once I'm feeling better, I think I'm going to look into other groups. I am in one church group, but most of the ladies are older, and besides our faith, we don't share much more in common. I'm sticking with this group also though. It's a great group, and I do learn a lot from them.

Michelle, I'll be praying for you as you and your family make your move.

God bless!