Monday, March 15, 2010

no wonder my laundry pile is taller than Gabe

Our new town isn't that far from our old town, but it feels decidedly different. I joke that we are now in the middle of noooooowhere (picture me saying this in a pathetically moaning voice) because I can't walk to a mall, sushi, or an ice cream shop. The ice cream shop part was particularly devastating to me, but perhaps that'll be helpful to my waistline come summer.

The neighborhood definitely feels like the suburbs, with tons of kids playing hockey in the streets, moms out walking with strollers, and even sightings of random animals like rabbits, deer, and foxes. Josh left the garage door open to run to the grocery store and as he was pulling back in, a massive animal strolled out of the garage and he swears he initially thought it was a small bear but it turned out to be the mother of all raccoons! It caused so much excitement that Gabe hasn't stopped talking about animals in his garage for weeks. Any random noise in the house is cause for a resurgence of the talk about the gigantic raccoon.

Even though our move was just a few miles, my circle of stores has completely changed too. My old grocery store is too far away to be convenient, my old favorite mall is now farther away than another less liked mall, my coffee shops, drugstores, Target, well, you get the point. It all feels like a big change. And I'm farther away from some of my neighborhood friends. Not so far that we can't have lunch together, but too far to stop by within 5 minutes for a quick playdate.

All of this is to say, it has been a change. Far more of a change than I'd initially expected, that is for sure. After my initial freak out, things have been steadily improving. The folks at my local convenience store recognize me, which feels great, my neighbors say hello when I drive by, which feels even nicer, and I've decided that I won't sit and wallow in my unhappiness for one. more. minute.

I am a friendly person, but to tell you the truth, I also get very insecure about meeting new people. I don't seem to have a problem with the meeting part, but any subsequent get togethers or communications brings out the anxiety in me. If I call them and don't hear back quickly, I worry that maybe they've decided they don't like me anymore, or maybe I'm bothering them or whatever. It is totally annoying and sometimes ridiculously insane that I do this.

Take, for example, a newish friend I've made since moving. We have definitely clicked, and just a few days ago she asked whether I'd be interested in taking a girls trip together this summer. I take that to mean that (a) she likes me enough to want to spend a good amount of time together and (b) she plans to be friends at least until the summer. Well, yesterday I called her twice in a row, and then decided not to call even though I had something to tell her because I worried maybe she was starting to not want to be friends anymore. It's crazy, right?

I'm revealing all my neuroses now, hopefully you won't stop reading me because now you know the truth about the crazy.

Anyway, long story short, I've decided to move past the crazy and break out of my shell and try to make friends in the new neighborhood, even if it makes me uncomfortable. I've shown up to town events, I've been friendly, I've shared my phone number, been proactive about asking for playdates. As soon as we had a couple of good weather days, I've walked around my neighborhood to try to make friends with neighbors. I joined a playgroup. I asked around and started a book club, and our first meeting is this Sunday. This is our chosen book (love it love it love it), and I'm really excited and hopeful this will take off. I've gotten off the couch after Josh is home from work and the kids are in bed and gone to see a movie or grabbed coffee with a girlfriend.

For a homebody like me, this is seriously difficult, but I believe it will be worth it in the end. I have some really really REALLY fabulous friends, but most of my friends live far enough away that I can't see them on a regular basis, and I really need a few good local friends to spice up my life.

So do you have any tips? Have you had to break out of your shell and make friends too? Did anything bring you luck? I'll take all the advice I can get!


zeebah said...

I have those same thoughts... maybe they don't like me anymore? maybe it'll annoy them if I call back right away even though I definitely have something else I need to tell them. Apparently we are similarly neurotic and/or crazy.

We went to a playdate with some of the neighborhood parents this past Saturday... I felt tongue-tied a lot of the time. I'd appreciate some tips, myself! :)

Chatty Cricket said...

I love that you think this is The Crazy.

It's not the crazy. It's worry, it's fine. As long as it doesn't consume you and you can find ways to actively tell yourself that things are fine? then I don't think you're crossing into The Crazy.

I think it's harder to meet people when your kids are older. When people are in ESTABLISHED playgroups. When you all have newborns, and you're all out at the park or at classes looking for other people with newborns? You pick up enthusiastic friends in a snap. You're new in town, it's been WINTER and OMG CAN IT BE OVER YET?? It will be a totally different ballgame, I think, when the weather turns nicer. You'll be outside, playdates get super casual (a la, what are you doing? playing out back, want to come over? we'll be right there), and you meet new people and the flow just seems better.

No freaking out. I know you and I believe you to be a lovely person. I know other people see it too. :)

ps- DON'T YOU LOVE THAT BOOK?!?!?!?!? You must read all three in the series. LOVED!!

Chatty Cricket said...

ps- and by "older" I obviously mean NOT milliseconds old. Because 3 years old? Isn't OLD, but you know what I mean. People start playgroups and getting together when their kids are 4 months old.

Meika said...

Making new friends is so hard! I've been noticing that it takes me a really long time to get comfortable in a new spot, too - like a couple of years! Your The Crazy sounds like my The Normal, so maybe neither one of us is so weird after all. :)

Kristin said...

I love to socialize, but I'm also shy about meeting new people. Now that I work from home, I feel really frustrated and alone sometimes - especially lately, when the work has been slow - and yet, I can't motivate myself to pick up the phone and call the new couple in town who are just our age, seem very nice, and have a 2-year-old daughter. I met them once and thought we hit it off well, but then the talk turned to cooking and they found out I'm a total reject in that arena, and for some reason that has me paranoid they won't like me, so I'm afraid to even try. Which is crazy because almost every one of my friends knows more about cooking than I do, so why would that affect things? I'm totally over-thinking it. And yet I can look at your situation and say, "Of course, she likes you!" Crazy. I am crazy.

ccw said...

I can comfortably talk to anyone. I have never had trouble meeting people or making friends. Where my trouble comes is in sustaining the relationship. My crazy would definitely show if I went in to details about how I have avoided people. I swear it has nothing to do with them; I obviously have issues.