The idea of friendship and what it takes to make new friends is something that has been on my mind for the past several months. The concept of connecting with people is something that I feel like I am constantly thinking about and interested in, but the actual act of making new friends as an adult person has really been getting to me lately. I finally crossed this book off of my reading list and it gave me some new found encouragement in my pursuit of new friendship.
I knew that this past year would throw me for a loop in this area of life because I wouldn’t have my coworkers to lean on for my daily social interactions (with adult, non-baby people:). And, if I’m being completely honest with myself I didn’t realize just how MUCH I relied on my coworker friendships and my job for my identity in life (that could be an entire blog post alone). But really, before making the decision to stay home, I felt like I had a ton of friends outside of work that I could rely on. I wasn’t too worried about the transition I was about to make and figured I would just start tapping into some of my other social groups more often. But something I didn’t think about was… those people all have jobs of their own, families, other friends, and don’t necessarily have the time or freedom of schedule that I did in my new little SAHM world. So where did that leave me? It meant that I would need to get my butt in gear, pack up my baby and start getting involved in the world around me if I really wanted to get out and meet some people going through the same things I was going through.
And It was really hard. It was hard to pack up an 8 week old baby and get out the door in the mornings. It was hard to find groups of moms that were a) in my interest b) had similarly aged children and c) didn’t cost me an arm and a leg to join. But I learned something about myself and that’s always beneficial. I have always thought of myself an an extroverted person. I love being around people and soaking in everyones energy in social situations. But as I was going out to meet new people I was coming home exhausted. Now I realize this was also during a time where I was getting *maybe* 4 straight hours of sleep at night, so there were other reasons for my exhaustion. But I really felt so emotionally and socially expended at the end of the day. It was tough, and that’s when I realized that maybe I was not as extroverted as I originally thought I was.
In college I had to take a multitude of psychology classes for my major and inevitably during the course of the semester, no matter the class, we usually had to take a Myers-Briggs personality test. Without fail I always came back with the same personality type: ENFJ. We even had to take the same personality test for our marriage preparation and again: ENFJ. Extroverted, intuitive, feeling, judging. Essentially, I was typed as a person who likes to get out there. I like to interact with others and work with people and I do! For the most part. I love teaching and working with others…but it wasn’t until I was in this situation of making new friends that I realized…I only feel comfortable putting myself out there and getting to know other people when I am completely comfortable in my environment.
I joined a mommy bootcamp of sorts and always felt myself feeling shy. I was find working out with these other ladies but never felt myself being completely open and out there as I had in other situations. I also joined my church’s mom’s group and felt instantly warm and welcoming to the people around me. I tested the waters with a few other new social settings and found the same to be true: I was more extroverted in extremely comfortable settings, and more introverted in extremely new settings. Which would make sense because looking back on all of those personality tests I always towed the line between extrovert and introvert. But it wasn’t until I was put through the test of new-friend-making that I really figured this out about myself.
So anyway, moving on from my deep self discoveries. Back to the actual friend making. No matter the situation I felt myself seeing other mom’s that I would potentially want to be closer friends with and feeling like I was on the hunt. Almost like I was dating to find other mom friends that I and my child would be compatible with. I felt pretty crazy at first but the more moms I met the more I realized that they felt the same way too. I even had a few conversations like this with other moms about how you are taken completely out of your comfort zone and how it is a strange mix of dating and making friends like you would in elementary school. It has been a really interesting journey thus far and I have met some really wonderful people that I am so thankful I have had the opportunity to meet. I know that this is only the beginning of many seasons in life where I (and we as a family) will experience crazy amounts of transition, meet new people, and have to push myself in ways I never really thought I would have to, so I’m going to continue on with my new found knowledge and continue to put myself out there as best I know how.