Making friends as an adult is difficult. When you're young, you easily befriend the neighbors' children. When you're in school, you see the same kids every day, so it's easy to form friendships. In college, you live with your friends. As an adult, the only people you see everyday are your co-workers, who may or may not be compatible with you on a personal level. Why is it that we could almost always find someone in one of our classes to be our best friend, but at work, it's virtually unheard of? I think adults are more closed off to meeting new people. Sure, they will be polite, even kind, and chat at the water cooler. But when it comes to the real stuff of friendship, or even just taking a casual friendship outside the office, adults would rather stick with their current group, thank you very much. Which poses problems when you move to a new area.
Part of what made the Triangle appealing as a place to relocate was its reputation for being an area where everybody is from somewhere else. This makes you feel less like an outsider, and theoretically should facilitate making friends. Well, it's true, everyone here IS from someplace else, and everyone IS quite friendly. Why, at the mall on Saturday, an older lady engaged me in a conversation about modern fashion trends in denim, complete with supporting info she'd picked up from Oprah. And the lady at the calendar store went on and on about her golden retriever. People here can gab, let me tell you. And that's great, I'm all for gabbing. But then you go on your merry way, back to your empty apartment with only a TV and computer to keep you company. And a cat, if you're lucky! :)
So where can one turn in her moment of need? Craigslist, of course! I posted under “Activity Partners,” looking for someone with whom I could go to the movies, try a new restaurant, or go shopping. (Other posters seek jogging buddies, poker partners, etc.) Many people responded, but nothing really got off the ground right away. So I posted again, in the same category, but this time looking for partners for knitting, bridge, or bunco. This one got lots of responses too, and I actually have met some nice people. Even after the first wave, both posts continued to generate responses, because the Activity Partner boards for Raleigh are pretty sparse, so my posts were still close to the top.
Now, I'm not sure how my newfound friends would feel about appearing in my blog, so I'll use pseudonyms, and I won't write much about their backgrounds although they are so varied and unique! I find the diverse mix to be one of the most fascinating aspects of meeting people via CL. First there was “Alan,” from India by way of San Francisco. We went to see Walk the Line. (On the way home was when I hit the deer.) But the movie was really good, and the company was delightful. Of course, sitting in a dark theater didn't provide much time for chatting, but we got in some good talk time before and after. We met again last week to have dinner at an Indian restaurant, and we had a chance to get to know each other even more. We have a stunning amount in common, and he is accomplished in such a vast number of arenas, my jaw never left the floor. Yet he is very down to earth and normal.
Next was “Lucy”, who's originally from DC. We met for coffee. What piqued her interest in my posting was my reference to the New York Times (they'd recently run an article on bridge). She was pleasant as can be, and had a lot of advice to offer in regards to finding a job in the nonprofit sector here. We are going to get together next week and knit.
Then there's “Lawrence.” He runs a spades group on Yahoo, as well as a board games group. He invited me to join and there was a big get-together at his fiancée “Candy's” apartment on Friday. Beforehand, the three of us went out for Mexican food (I found a wire in my chicken--very puzzling--upon retrospect, I think it must have been from one of those twist-tie thingies they use to bundle vegetables). Later at the apartment five others joined us and we played Apples to Apples, Taboo, and Pictionary. Candy had baked a cake (she's opening a cake business soon) which was delicious and we all had a fabulous time. Among the players was “Lisa,” who wants to learn to knit, so hopefully we'll get together soon for that.
Saturday I met with “Michelle,” from Boston. We are probably the most similar in family background and upbringing, although she's in the science field and I, well, am not. We went shopping at the mall. I acquired several things for the kids, so at least their Xmas shopping is done. I found out from Michelle that you can't get your NC license or plates until you've lived here three months. Whew! Here I thought I was a major slacker having waited this long. Apparently you have to show them three utility bills that prove your middle name. Go figure. Anyway, Michelle and I are going to meet again to see Jim Carrey's Fun With Dick and Jane when it comes out.
I'm also slated to meet with “Linda,” originally from Atlanta. (See, no one IS from here!) We were going to go to the Apex Christmas Parade this past weekend, but decided against it because it most likely would have been a logistical nightmare to find parking and meet up. So we're going on a Christmas train ride this Saturday. Not sure what to expect, but it sounds relaxing.
I hope at least a couple of these new friendships “take,” and they aren't just short-lived distractions. It's hard, because even when people ARE open to making new friends, sometimes there just isn't enough in common for the relationship to endure. I think kids have it easier because their requirements for friendship are so lax, probably due to their lack of worldly experience, while adults have so much more criteria for what they want in a friend, and also they have so much baggage that gets in the way. (Come to think of it, all of this applies to romantic pursuits, as well!) But even if none of my fledgling friendships endure, it's been fun nevertheless to meet all these diverse people!