Jill's blog: Stop the Presses I’ve Made a Friend!!
Why is this such a big deal in grown up age? I’m not going to lie, my social life took a hit during Covid. Everything changed. My community, my routine, my job, my personality… all of it shifted after both an imposed reality change and a chosen reality change, and it took me a while to realise the stress it put on my mental health. So, after some deep introspection, and a hefty therapy bill, I began putting myself out there to make connections with people I see every day, rather than pretend I’m answering a very important work email while standing in the queue at school pick up.
First, it was actually looking at people and smiling. Eye contact. Every New Yorkers favourite thing. Then it was trying to be a bit British and comment on the weather or the latest PTA email requesting volunteers to help organise the winter fair. And then finally taking the plunge and showing up at the after-curriculum-evening drinks and making small talk. Oh, the dreaded small talk…
But it worked! I have a new friend! Well, two new friends, actually.
Being the sort of person who if I see any sign of ‘not interested’ from another will run and hide and never talk to you again, I made my first move through text message. This way I couldn’t see if they hesitated or furrowed their brow. Then I played it cool and waited 24 hours to reply to their acceptance of my invitation and provided a few date options no sooner than two weeks away. I mean, I didn’t play these games in romantic relationships why is it such a big deal in a friendship?
I think it’s because the rules aren’t as clear. When you’re dating, or married to someone, the relationship is defined. You know who they are to you, what you can talk to them about, how often you will see them or can text or call them. But with friendships, it’s harder to know. Is this going to be the person I go for a drink with, go skydiving with, talk about philosophy and human nature with, unburden my soul to? Or are we just going to keep the chat surface level and talk about gas prices, the change in seasons and what you watched on Netflix this week? Both are valid and important friends to have, but which one is this? And how can I find out without divulging my inner most fears before I know the answer?
That’s sort of the point though. Figuring it out as you go, learning new things about life and other people. Perhaps being the first one to overshare is what takes a surface level friendship to a deeper one. We don’t always need that moment of a magical connection where it feels like you’ve known a person forever. Maybe if you feel like that inherently, you never actually get to know that person because you think you already do. I’m probably overthinking this.
All in all, I’m rubbish at friendships but I’m trying. And I’ve got a new one to practice with, so wish me luck…
Jill is an American ex-pat living her best English life on the border of London and Surrey. She spends her days pretending she knows what she’s doing, creating some fun things along the way. With a passion for storytelling and the gumption of a New Yorker she’s raising two cheeky, clever boys with deep imaginations and an annoyingly cunning use of language. With a husband, cat and hamster along for the ride life is never boring. Even if sometimes a bit too stressful!