Arranging my life in Calgary has required me to dust off some skill sets that I don’t use often. For instance, I have to make myself a group of friends from scratch. After our move, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I can’t rely on my husband to fulfill all of my social needs (want to hang around with groups of dudes all the time? No? In that case, you’re on your own). I also can’t rely on the strategies I’ve used to make friends in the past. When I was a child, my friends were whoever was around me – kids in my neighborhood, kids at church, kids in my class at school. Easy! Friends made. My first experience in making friends as a full-blown adult was when I moved to Boise. I moved there by myself and I didn’t know anyone. I was intensely lonely for about a week. Then I met a group of women who had also just moved to Boise after attending law school together. They came to me as a perfect little package of friendship that fulfilled all my social needs. So… I didn’t bump into a group of charming attorneys within a week of moving to Calgary. What now?
Making new friends as an adult is much more difficult than I expected. First, there is the issue of where to meet people. Meetup is quite popular in Calgary. It takes persistence to weed through the bad Meetup groups (groups where everyone already knows each other or where the attendees are painfully shy, for example), but eventually I found myself at some very promising Meetups. But what then? I never really thought about how incredibly awkward it is to approach a near-stranger and inform them that you want to be friends. How to play it cool when one person could make the difference between slogging through more Meetups and social bliss? Is there a cool way to do it? Not that I’m aware of. It always feels like you’re a middle-school kid asking someone to go steady with you. Ugh. I get rejected somewhat regularly. Not open rejection, but the kind with a few encouraging text replies followed by complete radio silence. I can never quite put my finger on who wants to be friends with me and who doesn’t without go through the whole song and dance of inviting them for coffee.
Lest you all walk away from this post riddled with pity for me, I’m happy to inform you that I have some friends. I have enough good friends, in fact, that I can enjoy the process of making new friends. It takes the pressure off. And I’m more aware of the people who are trying to become friends with me – people who invite me for coffee. Now when I spend time with someone new, I notice the deficiencies they fill in my social life. New friends push me to be more outdoorsy, more social and more ambitious in my career goals. Bring on the new friends! I want them all.