Open Friendship positions: Apply within. — The Social Experience
It's hard to make friends. I'm a solitary person most of the time so it doesn't bother me too much that I can count my Portland friends on one hand. I married my best friend so when I tire of spending time by myself I simply walk into the next room and tap him on the shoulder and say, "hi" or I just throw my arms around him and say, "LOVE ME!" That works, too. And I have my cats who provide me with endless entertainment and affection. So when we left our 20+ friends behind in NYC and moved to Portland, Oregon where we knew exactly no one, I wasn't worried. Adam and I are both socially outgoing and it wouldn't be long before we were bound to meet all kinds of awesome people in our awesome new city. Right? Right....
In the beginning Adam met some people through the band he joined shortly after we moved here. I too met some people through my new job at Pier One. And while all of these people were (and still are!) cool, and I occasionally went to a party or out to dinner with one or a few of them, I hadn't yet met anyone that I connected on many levels with. And then about a year after we'd moved here I got a new job and met my beautiful blond (soon to be) BFF. After Adam and I went to dinner with her and her boyfriend one night, the four of us formed a friendship that has continued to grow and blossom over the years, seeing each other almost on a weekly basis and spending every major holiday together. And so my social life here in Portland consists of mainly two people. It is occasionally peppered with one or a few of Adam's "Transformer" friends that he met through an online forum, or with one or a few of Adam's band mates. But I have yet to meet anyone else. Back in NYC Adam and I would throw parties at least once a month. These parties would consist of about 10 to 20 people and our freezer was never in want of alcohol because it was always stocked, always. So being in Portland and wanting to throw a party is rather depressing. Sure we've had the occasional "get together" but the attendees are mismatched and barely know each other.
So what do you do? How do you meet people? I never got to experience dating, I just ended up in one monogamous relationship after the next, and as far as making friends was concerned well, before I moved to NYC and was essentially adopted by all of Adam's friends, I didn't really "make friends". I didn't have many friends in high school and after graduation my "not many" friends turned into just one. Of course there was always a boyfriend but they don't really count as "friends" usually. Hell, my best friends when growing up were my cousins. I enjoyed the company of my parents. And I played alone, a lot. So now that I'm this 30 something woman who is dynamic and fun and interesting (if not satisfied money back guaranteed!) how do I meet potential friends?
I see people on the bus all the time that I want to talk to. This one girl has the best style, this other girl always stares out the window in deep thought, this other girl rocks out to her iPod with no worries, this other girl has a shaved head and always does Sudoku. There's a guy who wears skin tight black pants every day and lots of silver jewelry. There's this other guy who has those really big earrings that make his lobes sag. I want to say hi to all of these people but then what? Be my friend? Please hang out with me? Want to see my awesome collection of dead bodies? It's just not easy. A lot of people aren't actually in the market for more friends. They've filled their quota and aren't accepting new applicants. It sounds stupid but once you have a large group of friends, with some casual and others very close, your need or desire for more people in your life has lessened because you're too busy maintaining what you already have.
When I first moved to Portland I decided to create a Craigslist posting under the Platonic Women Seeking Women section. In those first few months of having just moved here I met about four women who responded to my posting. All of those women were perfectly lovely people. We may not have had the instant connection that you hope for but in all honesty I have never in my life had that with a woman so "working at it" is something I'm very familiar with. All of these encounters were pleasant, food and drink were had, conversation spilled, laughter, smiles, and then after polite departures and the promise of being in touch I never heard from any of them again. After the first and the second I felt a little insecure, what didn't they like about me? I was on my BEST behavior! I was chatty and I listened and I inquired and I offered, what the hell did I do wrong? But after the third and the fourth failed to ever contact me again, I just threw my hands up and said, no more. I mean, I know I don't make the best first impressions. Some of my best friends have admitted to not liking me at first. No matter how charming or engaging I think I'm being I've been told that I'm intimidating, cold, standoffish, and recently, cagey. So in other words, I'm a total catch! I'm generally not too bothered by other people's impressions of me because they're not entirely wrong, I'm not made of sugar and spice and all that is nice, I'm prickly and overcast, inappropriate and sarcastic. But once you get past the thorns those qualities are part of what makes me so damn charming. That's right, I'm an absolute Doll. So I guess what bothers me the most is when people just don't give me the chance. The simple opportunity to show them that I'm also dedicated, loyal, funny, and giving. I'm an excellent listener, I'm not flaky, and most of all I am capital F Fun. I suppose a lot of people simply want an easy friend. Something that I certainly am, but at the price of working at it to get there. Oh well.
Recently I've had the desire again to try to meet more people. I created another post on Craigslist, being a little more specific this time and trying to seek out other female horror movie lovers. I've received a handful of responses and have drink plans later this week with one of them. I will try my best not to be disappointed with a lackluster outcome, I've never had a problem with meeting men so I guess my penalty is having a problem meeting women. I suppose after my encounter later this week I will change my method from Craigslist posting to something a little broader. Ideally I'd like to meet a group of people with similar interests, some kind of writing group perhaps or a movie club? I guess I'm more eager for a large group interaction rather than more one on one relationships. I'm certainly open to suggestions so if any of you care to share your thoughts on the matter please leave a comment below.
So until then, I will continue to lurk in your closet.
Wait, no. I mean, happy sunshine yay! I like rainbows! Please love me! I am not creepy! I lick kittens! I mean, I like kittens! Weeeee! dolphins.
Sarah Corp wrote:
I wish I lived in Portland - we'd surely be friends.
Debbie Squillets wrote:
Same Heather I met 15 years ago...dont change, I will always think of you as uniquely Heather Corp. Some people just don't get it...you are lovely.
Eh, their loss.
i like you, and i am already standing in your closet! look for me behind the coats...
Replies are closed for this post.