Meaningless Self-Scrutiny and Complaining

I'm tired of trying to make friends. There are a lot of people here who I think could be friends, so I want to just go ahead and be friends, be intimate and unguarded and real. But I feel like I'm posturing, putting out feelers, trying to be funny (not my strong suit), trying to think of things to say. I keep getting flashbacks to junior high: for example, I wore a 3/4 sleeved shirt tonight, and all the folks I was with were wearing sleeveless shirts, and riding my bike home, I was thinking, "Oh, I should have worn a sleeveless shirt, too--they probably thought I was weird!"

Who is the person thinking these things? I have a Ph.D.! I am a grown-ass woman! I'm not the unpopular kid anymore, I'm not automatically less cool than all the folks around me, I'm not trying to cover lost ground.

It makes it harder that Walter's not here to debrief with. This must have been what it was like for him his first year in grad school, so it's probably good that I'm getting to experience my own version of that now.

What Walter would say in this situation is, "Why don't you assume that everything you did was just fine."


Cate Bush said...

You know, everything you did was just fine, but I can sure relate to *wanting* friends and being unsure of what to do with myself within that process. When pondering this phenomenon I realize that I've never been at ease in meeting new people and that I've been really lucky to have crossed paths with my closest friends. They are my kindred spirits and I'm not sure how many times that happens in life, especially as life becomes more grown up. My other thought about making friends is that it's probably always been an awkward process at some level (for me), but I've forgotten that there are those baby steps in building intimacy. I'm with you though ... these days I just wanna jump right in :). I think I'd still be disappointed though, when the person didn't react like my bestest girlfriends. Hehe. Whine whine whine. I'm right there with you :).

What a long entry. Love you!

The Mom said...

Alison, I agree with Catherine - everything you did is always just fine! I know I'm the Mom and you think I have to think you're wonderful, but you really are! :-)

On the other hand, you know that I can totally identify with your (and Catherine's) experiences. I, too, find it difficult to make new friends. And I, too, Catherine, feel wonderfully blessed to have "crossed paths with my closest friends". It is a blessing not to be taken for granted.

Alison, I know you will make other life-long friends in Charleston. Just take your time and let it grow organically. On the other hand, as you find people whose ideas and ways-of-being feel comfortable, it doesn't hurt to be the friend you want to be and see what grows out of it. (I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know!)

Love you, and see you soon!

The Mom said...

Rats! There should have been a comma after "blessing" and before "not to be taken for granted"!


Maig said...

You already have such wonderful supportive comments and I just have to try to add my support, too. Well, first of all...I was just thinking you like last night! And about this very trial of lingin a new place and wondering how you were getting along and all of that... Just so you know which you already know... inside, from Catherine, your Mom and now me! You are normal and wonderful and human and terrific...not because your Mom told me to tell you that (she didn't) but because you felt (unfortunatly) but perfectly! just they way you did. What a relief! I'm not the only one! That is something EVERYONE "normal" wonderful happy- human people feel- Ph.D, grown woman or no! I'm sure all the sleevless shirt wearing painstakingly potential friends you mingled with have felt like that LOTS of time are understanding and nonjudmental. Of course you know all this AND that as I might remind you again...you have a lovely chain of supportive caring kindred spirits across the U.S. only a phone call/blog/email away. Sometimes I feel the way you just described in my hometown trying to make friend with new people...and it does take time (I just read that very statement in a bookabout friendship which led me tothe thinking of how you were making off making friends (is this ramble coming together coherently at all?. Unfortunately and gratfully in the end because your truest friends are there forever..need not to be rushed. Low battery must publish now!!!!

Maig said...

Ok...let's see if I can finish...and try to ignore all the hastily typede typos! :) So where was I...I agree with your mom and catherine...so diiittttooo! :):):) Oh and Catherine...I LOOOVVVVE that you used the phrase kindred spirits!!!!! I just watched Anne of Green Gables for like the millionth time. I love that series! (That is where I have heard that phrase and I am guess you too-enlighten me if different.) Love to everyone reading and Alison. Now I'm going to read you latest post.

Maig said...

My point is even though it feels yucky...if you didn't feel that way I'd worry...not that I am glad that you do but to keep emphasizing the pointe that you aren't weird and no on thinks that...and that it does suck...ok I'm done. Please don't ban me from posting endless ramble on yer blog see you Tues I think...wait that's tomorrow. my busiest day. Okay or something. done now really. bye:)

Scout said...

I'm with you, girl. It's so hard to get to know the real people beneath the 'first date' facade that everyone puts on when you first meet them. I'm struggling with finding friends too. Part of it is that I tend to reveal that part of myself that is likely to have the most in common with the person with whom I speak. If I'm with stay-at-home moms, then my focus is on kids. If I'm with the folks I meet from the university, then my more intellectual side comes out, and so on. The result is that I have a variety of identities, none of which are false, but none of which fully expose all of me. Bleah. Enough about me. Here is your ego boost for the day: You are one of the coolest people of all time. People want to grow up to be like you. Everyone at that function is now thinking, "Oh, no, sleevless is out and 3/4 length is in. I feel like an idiot." :-)