I knew this day would come sooner or later: the recognition that I am lonely and wishing for friends and a deeper sense of connection to this place.
The first month of any move is an adrenalin rush. There’s the excitement of moving into a new house and making it a home. There’s the novelty of discovering the unique places each new area has to offer. There are the numerous details to attend to like registering your car, getting your driver’s license, and figuring out where to buy dog food and necessary items like that. And finally about a month and a half to two months later, you realize that all those to-dos are done and you wish you had a lunch date with a friend.
That’s where I find myself these days—a little lonely and ready for some friendship in this place. I have definitely felt welcomed, and I sense the potential for several good friendships. But I am ready to go to the next level. I wonder, “Who will be the friend that is easy to chat with over a cup of coffee? Who will be the friend that is fun to go shopping with or out to lunch with? Who will be the friend that I can share deeply with?”
I am reminded of a conversation I had with two different women about friendship during our “graduate student years.” Both of these women knew that they would be moving on from their current location once their husbands finished school. What surprised me about both of these conversations was that each woman had this “gut-it-out” mentality. She didn’t seem to care about making friends or putting down roots because “we’re only going to be here for such and such amount of time.” I can’t live that way. I need friends even if I only live in a place for six months. It sounds cliché, but life is too short to “gut-it-out.” Some of my most treasured memories are conversations I had with a person, knowing I may not have another opportunity this side of heaven to connect with that person.
The other reality in this process is fear. What if no one likes me? What if I reach out to someone and it is not reciprocated? This fear can land me right back in grade school all over again. On a bad day, I can feel sorry for myself and wonder why I am always the one to initiate. It takes courage to invite someone out for coffee or to do something together. It is also easy to have a pity party for myself and wish for my old friends. Yes, it’s great to have friends all over the world, but right now none of them live in New York.
I know this settling in process will take time. I know that eventually I will have good friends here. But in the meantime, does anyone want to go get a pastry at the French bakery?