Friday, August 7, 2015

On Maintaining Friendships as an Adult After a Move

That's a wordy title. Sorry? And oft neglected blog blah blah. If anyone gets this still...some issues I'm dealing with: 

If you're an adult, you've learned that making friends in that post-college, real-world space is hard. HARD. Maybe not for everyone, but as more an introvert than an extrovert, it has been for me.
I tend to be fiercely loyal. I like a small, select group of bright, interesting, funny people. And I established and crafted that group over years of living in a metropolis. And then I moved, taking the only job I could find over a two year search. And it's a great (if  challenging and difficult) job. And I like where I live even if everyone who lives in the sexier parts of California is like, "You live where? Why?" There is something to be said about paying $1200 for 1600sf, a price impossible in SF. But the point is not defending here.
After moving here, I went through other major life changes. I got married. And I appreciated that small, tight knit group of friends support then (even if all the events took place back in the metropolis). But since then? *tumbleweeds*
I absolutely get that when it comes to friendships, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. It makes the heart forget. And I understand that everyone has their own lives and own issues and things that are more immediate to them. I get that I don't interact with my meat space friends in the web space where I interact with all these other wackos I love and have cultivated friendships with.
But even understanding that, the lack of being included can be a difficult thing to accept.
I've always considered relationships a two way street. Or requiring a bit of reciprocity.
And I tried to maintain them on my end. I have reached out. I have sent "Hey! What's up? How are you?!" emails. I understood when I didn't get responses. Someone had a baby. Someone else adopted kids. Others...I wasn't around. If it's not a day to day interaction, or even an every month interaction, of "let's meet up for drinks!" and the ability to go suddenly do that, it's easy to forget. And maybe there's an assumption that *I've* forgotten. That I don't wonder if they still hit up the same haunts. How their lives are going generally. What their work and love lives look like. But I haven't. I'm curious. I'd love to be included. I'd love the odd email update on how things. And I would respond with volumes that would probably make them wonder how I can write so much. I'd love to be invited to birthdays and bbqs. I know it's a trek for me. But I'd rather have the option to decline than for it to be assumed I won't want to travel.
Included in sporadic reaching out, for the Fourth of July weekend I invited everyone I like, which, ya know, is like ten people, and no one could make it. Which, again, I GET it. I live in the middle of nowhere. I live in heat. Even with over a months notice, people had plans. People were planning on coming and ran into snags. The enticement of a pool and A/C and some fun wasn't enough. Fair enough. I didn't really want to travel on the holiday weekend either, so I can hardly blame anyone else for not wanting to.

But all the logical understanding in the world didn't make it a bit gutting. A gut check on the fact that roughly 200 miles apart might as well have been a continent. That in a world so connected by technology, unless we were in each others faces all the time, the likelihood of maintaining friendships with those who didn't interact with me on the web or make an effort to see me in the real world were slim. That I could make all the moves to stay connected with those folks, but if that wasn't returned...where were we? It's no different than this here blog. Just a lot of shouting into the ether. 

I do want to applaud those who have come through. My guy bff has been surprisingly available and made more trips down to visit me than my own family (which is also a point of contention/isolation/sadness). The husband's parents have made trips down here and they are delightful, overly sweet, overly sincere people. Or in other words: Canadians, eh.

So...I guess this is partly a whine about how moving changes things, even with the best attempts to keep in touch, how difficult maintaining friendships is, how isolating it can feel to be left out or ignored or forgotten and partly a plea for suggestions. Do you keep trying? Do you stop trying? Do you find some middle ground? Do you move on and enter the fraught world of trying to find new adult friends? (And don't get me wrong, I've been here for almost 2 years, I've found some great people. I may complain about the coworkers but they are each great in their own ways. And they've led to others. And, ya know, I'm an introvert. I don't need a whole lot of interacting. Just some. And I miss the people who knew me...which is the problem.)

I ask because as another three day weekend looms again, do I bother asking for visitors? Rejection isn't fun no matter how old you are. And after the Fourth of July, I'm not really sure I can deal with the rejection again.

No comments:

Post a Comment