What gives one person the gift of making friends and another person the fear of making new acquaintances? No, I’m not about to deliver a lecture on the subject, I’m asking the question because I would love to know the answer. When you have stepped far beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone, stripped yourself of the comfortable and familiar, and placed yourself in a situation so far outside your sphere of experience that you can barely breathe, how do you create a new familiar and comfortable place for yourself?
Making friends in a whole new world.
I am a married woman living with her husband in a new home town, screw that, a new home country, and I realised that I have never been very good at making friends. You live your whole life in one place and your closest friends are ones you made in primary school and, even those, you don’t see all that often. I’ve made work friends (a phrase coined by one of those friends was “work-based convenience” i.e. someone to go for a drink with after work) but not more than a few made it past leaving the said workplace.
My two best friends are my sister and my husband. It doesn’t say much for my social skills that one is related by blood and the other by marriage. Admittedly I probably wouldn’t be married if my social skills were that bad. I have never allowed myself to be close enough to others and if I do allow it I tend to come off as ‘needy’, so I generally avoid that.
So here I am, in a new town, in a new country, in need of a new skill-set I hadn’t realised I was lacking (not counting the need to learn the language, I’m working on that).
I’ve always known that I am shy, introverted, and generally rather intolerant of people, a number of drawbacks in the stakes of making friends. That was when I was living in my home town, where I had coping mechanisms, an established social circle, and family. I had learned methods of faking it until I had either accepted someone or chased them away, sometimes deliberately.
Do I need to learn to fake it again, in a whole new environment? Probably.