Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

DaenelI was never a Seinfeld fan until it went off the air and I started watching it in syndication.  I just didn’t get it, a show about nothing? Not funny.  I was wrong, it is.  But I digress.  Do you remember the episode where George says if you look angry people will think you’re busy and leave you alone?  Well, I used to do that so people wouldn’t talk to me.  Or I’d make phone calls just to avoid saying “hi”.  Not because I’m rude or anti~social but because small talk unnerves me.

Kid you not.  I know, I teach classes.  I work as a librarian.  I write a blog.  I live a lot of my life online.  But one~on~one conversations?  I get totally tongue tied.  I over analyze the entire evening.  I replay conversations to death and think of all the witty things I should have said.  I’m desperately trying to stop this annoying habit…

One of the cool things about moving to a place where no one knows you is that you get a chance to reinvent yourself.  You get to make yourself better.  Or different.  You get to fix the things you don’t like about yourself without the people who know you bringing up your past.  Moving is freedom.

For fifteen years, I lived in this bubble.  A bubble of my own creating, but a bubble nevertheless.  My bubble consisted of my husband, my children and my job.  Every few years, someone would work their way into my life and then they’d disappear (either by them moving, my inability to invest in the relationship or just the natural course of a friendship ending).  My bubble was very insular.  Very lonely.

So when we moved here, I knew I wanted things to be different. I told the hubs that I wanted to make friends.  Not just “friends” that I see on special occasions or at work, but friends I could call up and say “Hey, wanna meet for coffee?”  You know what I mean?  Honestly, I haven’t shifted that far out of my comfort zone, I’m not at the point where I can call people, but I am being more receptive to invitations and conversations.  I’m relying less on the hubs for social activities and more on my own, ummmm, charm.

Do you find it harder to make friends now that you’re an adult?

  • Mocha

    It’s not hard for me to meet people and consider them associates, but it may take a little longer to consider them a friend. Within the past 2 years, I’ve met a lot of people that I still speak with on a regular basis, but I consider about 3 of them friends.

    • I don’t have a hard time meeting either, it’s the follow thru and the maintenance that get me. I don’t want to bother, annoy or, um, stalk, ya know? LOL

  • Anonymous

    I’m the textbook introvert…totally shy, socially awkward, completely uncomfortable with large groups, crowds, etc.  Sadly, I’ve learned that people often mistake my shyness for being cold or snobby. I’m NOT!  I’m just terrible at making small talk!  Unfortunately, when we moved it didn’t help…now we’re out in the country with even fewer people and everyone around us is related to each other (how do you break into kind of grouping, I’ve yet to discover!) Most days, if it wasn’t for my husband and the internet, I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to at all.  

    • Somehow, I missed your comment… My sincerest apologies.

      Wendy, I’m so agreeing with you. I’ve found that moving hasn’t really changed me at my core. I am who I am. I can still go days without seeing another person accept my family. *sigh*

  • Mama Violet

    Absolutely but I’ve always been socially ackward. I’ve been trying to break free from that this year by putting myself in new situations and environments. I go to meet up groups, have parties, and make plans with acquaintances instead of waiting for someone else to make the first move. I think I was really motivated by how isolated I felt as a new mom during the winter months. 🙂

    • Oh, girl, I remember when my kids were little I was soooo lonely.  I loved being home with them but I missed seeing people. I think it’s great that there are so many mommy and me groups in existence now.  Although I wonder if I would have had the boldness to take advantage of them had I known about them back in the day.

  • Nope.  I’m that whacked out person who will just start randomly talking to you in the bookstore.  I’m on a first name basis with half the cashiers at my grocery store, and I know about the personal lives of all my baristas. (If you make me coffee, you are my Best Friend EVAH, until the coffee runs out, leastways.)  I know the guy who fixes my air conditioning and I give christmas presents to the librarians.  I work out with the girl who cashiers for me at the drug store.

    I go to meet up groups, I meet random strangers from the internet in coffee shops and cafes.  I LOVE people, I love talking, and I rarely am put off by people who don’t want to talk back (I accept that people are shy, but I sure as heck don’t understand it.) since that just gives me the opportunity to talk MORE.  

    I met my best friend in the whole world because I was bored, sat down next to her at the cafeteria and started running my mouth.  We’ve been best friends for 22 years now.

    Obnoxious?  Hell yes.  Annoying?  Sometimes.  But there aren’t many people who don’t like me, and even fewer that I dislike, once I get to know them.  (Cut me off in traffic and I’ll call you names.  Tell me your cat’s name is Mayhem and you’re speeding because he has to have emergency surgery and I’ll drive you to the vets’ myself and hold your hand the whole time you’re there.)

    • I totally envy you.  That’s how I met my best friend in high school.  Except she didn’t speak English and it wasn’t til her mother pointed it out (15 minutes later) that I noticed.  She and I were inseparable for the next 2 years (then we moved).  Somewhere along the way, I lost that boldness.

      Your entire reply just had me laughing…  Love it.

  • Chela Brito

    I think it’s definitely harder, for a few reasons. In general, you tend to meet less people as an adult out of school, and out of that smaller pool, I often just don’t feel that “click” with anyone. Or sometimes the potential relationship requires more than I can invest (eg, I’ve had a couple falter because the person wanted to do something almost every day and got mad when I couldn’t). Another reason is that many people I meet are very focused on their family to the exclusion of all else. I have no problem with kids, but I don’t have any, so sometimes it’s hard to make plans. And also, New Englanders are known to keep to themselves and I’m a NYC transplant… So there are challenges to overcome, but it’s not impossible. 🙂 Good luck to you!

    • So very true and people get caught up in their own lives and it becomes harder to start/maintain relationships.  You almost have to find someone who’s in the same life stage and then commit to the friendship almost as if it were a job.  And, girl, the regional differences between people ~ up north, people were so much more removed, whereas down here, people are friendlier but it’s still hard to start relationships.

  • I TOTALLY get it! I’m just so socially awkward… and quiet… and all of those things. I’ve joined a mommy group to give Phoenix the chance to play with kids his own age. And, I sorta talk to some of the moms there. They’re not people I could call up… well… maybe I could. I just know I won’t. But, at least going to playgroups is a HUGE step for me. 

    • Exactly.  You hit the nail on the head with me.  I have a hard time calling, I always feel like I’m imposing.  Then there’s that whole fear of rejection thing. I love that you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone and you’re attending the mommy groups. I’ve heard of women who create lifelong friendships from those play groups.

  • ellie

    Sometimes. 

    When I was single, I wasn’t looking to date much, so I didn’t like hanging out with other singles. 

    My friends all have big families with lots of commitments, so while I know they’d do anything for me, I don’t usually ask them.

    When I started going to church about six years ago, I met a woman whose husband was a workaholic, so she was almost single and we hung out a lot together…only we drank diet Cokes!

    She moved about two years ago, so that’s hard.  She’s not an online kind of person and I am NOT a phone person, but when we see each other we catch up.

    I’m glad I have my husband as a good friend now.  Corny, but true.

    • While I was always the same age as my classmates when I returned to school, I had a lot of commitments that they didn’t have ~ children, a husband, etc.  I always felt like I had nothing in common with them, so I mostly kept to myself.

      I think I continued that pattern even after I joined the workforce.

      Now I don’t want to be reliant on my husband for friendship because I think part of creating/maintaining a healthy relationship is having separate interests (while not growing so far apart that you become roommates, a very delicate balance).

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