When I was younger I was painfully shy and had 3 friends my whole life (which was very difficult when you are placed in different homerooms and separated from your network, I might add)… which continued until I was in my last year of high school and I said:
“Why? What am I afraid of?”
After that, I was never shy again although I am still a little nervous around crowds of people who know each other intimately and I am the odd one out.
You know. Family gatherings, old school reunions (not from my school)… that sort of thing.
I don’t know anyone, and particularly in France, they don’t feel the need to make any stranger welcome. They just do their own thing, and if you happen to be there.. Okay. But they won’t reach out to try and connect and find common ground with you.
It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way they are and the way they were raised. The good news with the French is once you are friends, you are friends, and treated like a sibling. It just takes them a longgggggg time to reach that point with you.
Heck, I don’t even know his extended family’s last names or anything about them (siblings, background, etc), and they are not inclined to offer that info.
I only find out things by prodding my partner.
During college, I made some friends, not many fake friendships, but a few very good, strong lasting ones. I am not the type to hold a big circle of friends to call upon and go out with constantly, and I’d rather have quality in my few, strong friendships than quantity.
..not that there is anything wrong with having LOTS of friends and wide social network, but as someone who is slightly introverted, I find it draining and exhausting.
I need to recharge and you can’t recharge if you are constantly out, expending energy on social situations.
I cannot be always out doing social things. I need to be ON. I need my game face, and I need to be the Outside Sherry, which takes more work and censoring than Inside Sherry… so I tend to limit my social engagements with others to 2 times a week or to not have any at all.
When Baby Bun came along, it became even easier to make friends with other parents of toddlers because we could just give each other a Wearied Nod and an Exhausted Smile and we knew what each other was feeling, mostly: When is this exhausting stage over, even though every older, wistful, rose-coloured glasses parent tells me to cherish these fleeting moments?
Now I find it easy to make friends because I have a cute, clean toddler to break the ice… but before I had Baby Bun, I had no actual friends in the city to speak of, and frankly, the ones I have, are all mothers or fathers who have toddlers.
Is that really a true basis of a friendship?
What’s a friendship anyway? I get along with them, and as long as we have a few things in common, who am I to nitpick?
I have been friends with people on the basis of the fact that we worked at the same place!!! Of course, then we kept in touch and got along in other areas, but… still!
Workplaces are even less of a common ground in terms of values than toddlers.
Still, even without whom I’d call a cherished friend, I had my own wonderful network I would regularly talk to and so on, but I didn’t have… girlfriends to call and hang out with.
Sometimes, you just want to see and be with another adult in person, and phone calls or Skype just makes you all the more wistful for their company.
It made me wonder how hard it is for people to make friends at different stages of their life, and if anyone has felt the same way I have.