I Suck at Making Friends

Most people who know me assume that I am an extrovert.

  • I do a ton of Theatre, which therefore must mean I like attention
  • I teach, so I must love to talk
  • I am very good at improvisation, obviously I can converse
  • I love being around people

Except, I am totally not.

  • Many people who do Theatre are actually doing it to as socialize; having lines written out for your socialization does make it easier to have someone else speak with you
  • While teaching is a form of interaction (not socialization), I teach a subject that actually lets them do most of the talking
  • When I perform in improv scenes, I consider that a character based on the audience energy/I don’t feel it is actually me; furthermore, I do not do that as frequently because my past improv troupes were people I had known for years and I no longer have a troupe
  • I love being around people… THAT I KNOW

That being said, I am not a complete introvert. I love time to read and cozy nights in, but I hate being alone with just me too much. I get stir crazy with only myself.

When I am around extroverts, I am always the quietest. I get overwhelmed. I feel like I have to put on a show just to appear slightly interesting. It is exhausting to constantly be trying to be the shiniest version of yourself.

When I am around other introverts, I am always the most talkative. I start conversations. I feel like it is my job to get to know all of these interesting people before they realize what a fraud I am. It is exhausting to try to be the ring leader.

I am an omnivert. I have traits from both sides, but do not lean more to one side or the other. I guess it depends on my mood. Was I extremely introverted and shut in this past week? I probably am craving being at a restaurant for some people-watching. Closing weekend of a big show with lots of parties? Time to recharge with a binge movie staycation at home.

This makes me horrible at making friends, though. I don’t have the initiative to “latch onto” a group going out that I don’t know and I don’t like the feeling that I am pulling teeth by “making” someone spend time with me.

At my conference a few weeks ago, I thought it would be easy to meet people. After all, I was staying in a dorm. Surely, I would get to know the other three people staying with me!

Nope.

I think I saw one of my dorm mates once on the first night as she was arriving? Another I spoke with for about 5 minutes each morning as we were each getting ready. I never even saw the third. They each already had a group of friends that they went off and did fun things with. I was too shy to ask if I could come along, so I holed it up in my room and watched movies on my DVR with my laptop. There must have been other people doing the same as me, but I wouldn’t know. So I wasn’t able to try to at least talk to them.

One night, there was a group playing Cards Against Humanity in the lobby. I really love games as a way to get to know people. And this game is all about reading people. I am great at reading people to figure out what I can say that keeps them talking to me. I really wanted to be part of their game. I didn’t know a single person who was playing, but they were in the dorm lobby and not out drinking. I wanted in.

But I had no idea how to get in. I couldn’t simply ask “Hey, can I play? I love CAH!” I didn’t know (even vaguely) anyone in the group. I came up with a lot of small things I “needed” to do in the lobby that, hopefully, would lead to them asking if I wanted to join.

They did not.

I eventually gave up. They were having fun, they never even noticed me. I forlornly went back to my room and curled up to watch a movie.

In high school and college, I had a ton of friends. I still talk with quite a few of them. But moving across the country doesn’t make it easy to keep hanging out with them.

I was treating myself to a pedicure this morning and a group of three girls in their mid-twenties came in to get mani/pedis. They all sat together and talked and laughed and helped each other figure out which dress they should wear to some beach wedding party thing they were all talking about.

I don’t have anyone to do that with.

And I want to change that.

Now that I will be teaching at a whole new school, I really need to make it a point to get to know the other teachers.

Now that my daughter is a toddler and about to start doing more activities, I really need to make it a point to get to know other parents.

I want friends.

But I am so bad at making them. It scares me even just thinking about it. But I need to do it.

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