11.01.2012

Better late than never, right?

I have a friend whose young daughter sounds like a broken record at social gatherings:
Her:  "The other kids don't want to play with me."
Us:  "How do you know?  Did you try playing with them?"
Her:  "They don't want to play what I want to play."
Us:  "Why don't you play whatever they're playing?"
Her:  "I triiiied.  They won't let me play with them. :( :( :("

Now, considering one of the kids that she's talking about is one of my nieces, who will play with just about anybody, I kind of doubt the accuracy of this little girl's story.  My niece is still human, and little kids can be mean, but I'm doubting the story because this conversation occurs every.  single.  time.  It even happened when there was a babysitter for the kids during the party, and this babysitter was literally having them all play in a group:  she was either telling a story to all of them at once, or she was saying "let's all play this," etc.  I'm saying absolutely no kid was left out, but this little girl left herself out.

The adults try the best they can to encourage her to go play with the other kids, but nothing ever seems to suit her.  So what ends up happening is she plays by herself with a pouty face on, the other kids do their thang in a group together, and now the adults have to keep an eye on both her and the kid-group in different places because the little girl asks the adults to play with her instead.  And the adults don't want to play with her.  The adults want to drink.

Over the last several days, I have realized that I am that little girl.  A whiny, pouty 28-year-old that complains about no one ever inviting her out, no one sitting with her at lunch, no one ever doing what she wants to do; when that's not happening, she's shitting all over everyone else's plans and acts better than everybody.  I used to think that it's because I don't have anything in common with people my age.  But now I just think that I'm not trying hard enough.  I actually haven't been trying at all -- my attitude was like, "Why should I have to try to make friends?  I'm awesome.  They're just dumb.  I wouldn't want to be friends with them anyway.  We're nothing alike."

Plus, I'm kind of a misanthropic bitch while I'm at work.  So even if they were like me, I wouldn't want to be around them anyway.

So I'm turning over a new leaf.  I'm going to put more effort into making friends.  I'm going to be.../cringe...nicer.  More outgoing. 

I'd start by going to my co-workers' weekly Happy Hour tonight for the first time, but I don't think they're having one this week.  Kate's going away party is tomorrow night, so I'll have to begin there. 

I'm still a little stuck, though.  I haven't tried to make friends in 20 years -- you know, when the prerequisite for friendship was, "Do you like vanilla pudding?  I like vanilla pudding!"  What is your advice for making friends as an adult?

12 comments:

  1. I just wrote a similar kind of post asking the same thing - it's so difficult to make friends once you're out of school! You should try the book MWF seeks BFF - it's hilarious if nothing else!

    Threetimesf.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have this conversation with my best friend (only close friend) all the time. We try to meet people, but it's so hard because people have their cliques, their significant others and families, and completely different interests. Then when I do try to hang out with people, I rarely enjoy myself. I'm sure my pity party attitude is not helping, but it's hard. Hopefully someone is able to offer some good advice.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're very brave to admit this, and I am so relieved. I have been thinking and worrying about this since you were a child. ~ Mammy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, I wish I knew what to tell you. I am a people person, I like being around people of all ages. My favorites are the young and the very old. I have to say very old because very old would be older than me! I think you just need to be yourself,try not to be to judgemental until you know more about the person, then make the decision if YOU want to persue the relationship, be plesent, smile yours is beautiful,I still think you need to be your self you are kind, sweet, cute,and very likeable. I think that someone we both know and do not like has made you put this big high fence around yourself to keep yourself from getting hurt either by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Honey, I so wish I knew the answer to that question. The truth is...I just don't make friends! I'm at a similar point where I would like to try...but I don't know how. Keep us updated, maybe you'll figure out the secret!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think at this point, it requires energy that we don't think we have. But it's like blogging -- the love you take is equal to the love you make.

      Delete
  6. Two words that helped me make new friends....Stretch & Volunteer. When I left my Park Avenue Pub for California I knew nobody. I thought playing golf might be fun...took a couple of lessons and joined the men's club. I became the tournament director and newsletter editor for Newport Beach Men's Club for 9 years...made 105 good friends....about 20 close friends....moved to Half Moon Bay in 1999...knew nobody. Went to a cold reading audition at the Pacific Coast Theatre group...scored a good acting rols in "one flew over the cuckoo's nest"..made a dozen close friends..moved to Bakersfield in 2001..knew nobody...went to a local "skeptics" meeting and an the treasurer/board member...went to a Community Concert Association concert and volunteered to be an usher...now a board member and next year assume full duties as Entertainment Director bookin all the entertainment for 8 yearly concerts....joined the California Writers Club and now on board plus in a lccal twice montly writing critique group and have made dozens of close friends.....Stretch and Volunteer...cousin dan

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think Cousin Dan is right about volunteering. I met one of my closest girlfriends when we decided to do a fundraiser together. Having a common cause is common ground.
    However, I struggle with this, too. I don't have heaps of idle time to go to all the rallies, lectures and gatherings I used to. I think when we become adults, we somehow fall in with whomever is at the same stage of life with us. The marrieds go with the marrieds, the mommies hang with the mommies. It's what happens, but I'm not sure anyone actually likes this arrangement. I especially do not. I'm married, but my spouse is both too busy to participate, and disinterested in most "couples" activities. I'm a mom, but I find I have very little in common with the other moms I meet on the playground. For a while now, I've felt very alone, so I really need to take the following advice I'm about to give: Maybe it's just about putting ourselves out there? I've made a couple of friends by simply offering the other chair at my table at Starbucks. They're not close friends - yet - but they're a friendly, familiar face on a cold Monday morning. Maybe I just take shots in the dark? I have 512 friends on Facebook - all people I know personally either from past or present relationships - but whenever I want to do something I can "never find someone else to go/come over/invite me out." Why? It's because I never ask. I assume singles don't want to deal with my kid, or abide by my "I need to be in my 10" rule for bedtime, or wait until she's in bed. I assume so-and-so is too busy and I don't want to bother her. I assume my relationship with this or that person is too superficial, so it would be awkward to invite them for coffee. However, I'm sure there are lots of people who'd like hang out and feel just as lonely as I do, and the situation would be remedied if I'd just ask.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm awful at making friends as an adult. I just feel like I don't have anything in common with people so I don't even try in the first place.

    I think I'm getting better, though - this past week I went to a book club where I didn't know anyone. And they were all really nice and welcoming. So maybe find something like that? A new social group where you can start fresh - where no one knows you as that closed off girl. It's worth a try, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm thinking you're right. Your first paragraph hit the nail on the head -- I just assume that we won't get along most of the time. I've been hearing suggestions about joining a club, volunteering, etc.... I think that might be the way to go.

      Delete
  9. Oh man, this is SO me. I have always felt this way, but it has intensified the older I get. As ridiculous as it might be, I feel like a total grump for someone in her early 20s. I don't think I let that show when I meet anyone new, though-- I always give it an effort when meeting new people. But if I detect what I consider to be incompatibility, I'm just not interested in forging a fake friendship. Unfortunately, that leads to NO new friendships. Something's gotta give, I guess. But eh! I'm lazy!

    ReplyDelete