I am someone who needs to have a solid circle of friends.
My husband, however, seems to be perfectly happy with his friendship “circle” to be more of dot…me (slight exaggeration).
As an adult, however, it can be difficult to make friends.
Five years ago I moved to Texas without knowing anyone and it was incredibly difficult for me to make friends. I am generally a very outgoing person and am happy to reach out to people. Frustratingly, many of my attempts were met with radio silence.
As a result, I got pretty depressed and it was hard with my family being 1,500 miles away. My husband was working long hours and I was home alone with a nine-month-old and two-year-old.
I had no social outlet and would cry at random times, and was overall not a very good mother or partner at the time.
In Texas we lived in a neighborhood with a country club, and since I had played tennis back in high school, I decided that it would be a great time to revisit the sport. Especially since the club had childcare, which would give me time to focus on myself.
Although it can be a very frustrating sport, I quickly rediscovered my love of tennis. Not only did I start doing something for me, but I started to make friends as well. I would play with a group of ladies every Tuesday, and we would find time to play again during the week.
My mood began to lift and I felt like I found myself again.
As my kids started preschool, eventually my friendship circle expanded and I had made some wonderful friends in Texas by the time we moved back to California five years later. It was definitely sad saying goodbye.
Now living in California, I am geographically closer to my family, but we moved to a city where I didn’t know anyone.
This time my mental space was different. My kids are also older now so parenting is easier than it was.
It helped that a mom from one of my kid’s classes reached out to me and we set up playdates, and she has since become a really good friend.
Very recently I decided to start up tennis again. I signed up for a tennis clinic, met some ladies and had fun hitting with them. My tennis game is a bit rusty, but it was nice to interact and meet new people when the pandemic has made it all to easy not to socialize.
I know many people have a hard time going up and introducing themselves, but my thought process is, “What's the worst that can happen? They aren’t nice or ignore me? Well, if that's the case I know there won’t be a friendship so better to bite the bullet.”
Side note: In 10th grade my long-time friends and I were hanging out at recess one day and someone in our group came up to say that there was a new girl. I thought, “Oh gosh, it must be hard to start a new school in 10th grade and not know a soul!”
So my friends and I found her, introduced ourselves, and invited her to hang out with us. Funny enough, this was around the time when Beverly Hills 90210 was on TV and, as our new friend was from Texas, she had a fear that California girls were mean and was hesitant to trust my initial invite.
Thankfully she joined us and, 15 years later, she was the matron of honor at my wedding!
I know approaching people can be hard and intimidating and not everyone has an outgoing personality type. But as humans, good friends means good mental health.
So it's important to ask ourselves, “What's the worst that can happen?”