Last week, as I sat there on the couch, restless and mildly irritated at my restlessness, my husband suggested a brilliant idea.
“Why don’t you ask R and E out to dinner or drinks or something?”
R and E are my new neighbor friends. Their kids play with our kids. We’ve volunteered at a school event together. We’ve walked to the frozen yogurt shop together. We’re getting to know each other–but it has always been kid-centric.
I spent about a half hour composing a text message. Yes. A half hour.
I call myself a writer, and I am in fact a very fast, very quick and decisive writer about issues that don’t affect my social life. This text message took a lot out of me. I had to be breezy, noncommittal, friendly, funny, all of that. In a text. Yes, I really did have to be all of that. (Don’t ask me why I didn’t just ask in person. You know very well nobody sets up social engagements in person anymore.)
“Hi there you two. Wondering if you’d want to have a “moms’ night out” (drinks/dinner whatever) when [our respective husbands] can all be home with respective kids? Not sure when this could happen given our schedules, but I figured I’d throw it out there. Would be cool too for the six of us to head out at some point for dinner, if you’re all game. I just reconnected with a sitter I last hired in June–miracle!”
I tapped “send” and put my phone under a couch cushion.
“I sent it.” My husband looked up from his laptop and said, “Good.”
“Now I have to wait.” This time he didn’t look up. “Yep.”
Within 15 minutes though, I heard two comforting “dings.”
“They said yes!” This time he laughed and looked up. “Of course they did.”
The three of us went out last night. We are all very different from one another, but we had some good laughs and made plans to go see a movie in a couple weeks.
It was all very familiar. About six and a half years ago I had the same angst in trying to connect with my new neighbors on a friend-let’s hang out-level. There was never any need for angst, ultimately, but I had it.
I do not change or learn from past experience when it comes to meeting new people. On the outside it may look like it’s all very easy, but on the inside? I am terribly insecure until I find my footing with people.
It helped that these two new friends seemed as hungry to go out and socialize as I was. Being a parent of elementary and preschool age children will do that to you.
I’m excited to get to know them better.
I’m also beyond excited that my two dear friends–the friends I made nearly seven years ago in our last hometown–are coming tomorrow for a weekend visit. I have this idea that we’ll go out here and there and eat and drink and be merry… but with these two we could just sit in my living room talking for 48 hours and we’d be perfectly fine. It’s so extraordinary to have friends like that.
Not sure what I did to earn them. Or these women: Talked the other night with a dear friend of mine from grad school. And the week before that, I talked with a newer friend from our last hometown. Knowing I was nervous about hosting Thanksgiving for 15 in our new home this year, (including my sister, sister-in-law and mother, all beyond-excellent cooks), she sent me a fabulous book on Thanksgiving. And a few weeks before that with I chatted with a friend I made during the 2008 presidential campaign–laughing ourselves to tears. And my new friend in town, made through a mutual friend I made two hometowns ago: in a few weeks I get to go out with her friends and see a musical. I’ve been to more restaurants than my husband thanks to her (and he goes out for work a lot!).
Not sure why I’m so insecure about making (and keeping) friends. I’m rather good at it.
Maybe it’s because I learned this song at a young age. Thanks, Girl Scouts.
“Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.
A circle is round,
it has no end.
That’s how long,
I will be your friend…”