Pushing

Way back when, I was a young and naive freshman at Baylor University. I was so excited to be out in the big wide world and to be away from my microscopic hometown. The one thing I was most excited about was expanding my circle of friends. An unfortunate break up during my junior year of high school resulted in the implosion of my social circle and I had too much wounded pride to attempt making new friends for the short time I had left in that town. Off I went to a university that’s student population was more than double my old hometowns. I just knew that I would be able to make friends.

At first, I was surprised by how easy it was. Study groups, test parties, and group projects seemed to abound. If all we ever did was study, that fit my personality. I was type-A to the max and wouldn’t stand for low grades or slacking behavior from myself. And then, slowly, but surely, I began to realize that the only things I was ever invited to were study sessions. That my own invitations often went unrequited. After the aforementioned loss of friends in high school, this ostracization had a negative impact on my view of myself.

Now, I’m not trying to paint college like a bleak, friendless wasteland. I made good friends and I eventually learned to only study with those friends (except when asked by the teacher’s to lead the study sessions, I never did learn to say no to that). And I enjoyed my experiences.

But. But, at the same time, I know that the fear of people only being friends with me because I push or because they want something from me lingers. And over here? On a small base with limited people to interact with? Not to mention having that limited pool limited further by complicated things such as rank?

Both my husband and I have found that if you want friends, you have to push for them. Invite, invite, invite is his motto. Make all the plans and you’ll always be included. He’s been pushing this philosophy at me for over two years now. It’s starting to rub off on me too. I’m starting to realize that sometimes people don’t know what to invite someone to do. That sometimes, they might have scars themselves, might be afraid of putting themselves out there.

I’ve started pushing. I’ve started sending out invites that I don’t expect to be accepted. I’m always surprised when they are. I’ve started recognizing when others are asking to hang out, in however abstract a manner. Over the last month and pushing into next month, for the sake of socialization I will have gone grocery shopping many times, gone to a hospital, and will be taking a CPR course. It might not sound like much. But it is.

I am celebrating, not just my new found friends. I am celebrating finding in myself the girl who likes to include others and reach out to others. I’m finding in myself the friend that I’ve always wanted to be. It may not come completely natural to me, but I’m getting there.

Does making friends come naturally or easily for you?

~The Countess~

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About texancountess

I find myself in the calming roar of the sea, floating gently on the foam of the breaking waves. Blue. Green. Gray. The colors of the sea mark the boundaries of my soul. The tumbled glass finds its polish under the relentless pounding of the waves upon the shore. Thus am I. Rough transitioning to polish, refinement ever a process, finding my niche in the storms of life.
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4 Responses to Pushing

  1. Army Amy says:

    My mom was just saying to me today, “It doesn’t seem like you have many friends in Germany.” Sad but true. I was attending ACS classes, extending invitations, putting myself out there when I first moved here, but once I found out we’d be moving so soon, I pretty much quit trying. Kind of lame on my part since a few months is still a long time to be friend-less.

    I think you (and your hubby) are so right that you have to keep pushing. If I want friends, I have to make more of an effort. Since making friends does not come naturally to me, I need to be proactive!*

    • I think it’s an easy trap to fall into as a military spouse. Thinking that you just have a few months left, so why bother trying anymore. But, then a mentor spouse told me once that she always seemed to make her closest friends right towards the end of a stationing. That she’d meet someone and either she or they would be moving within 3 months, but that would be the friendship that meant the most to her from her time there.

      Still, it’s hard to do. Hard to remember sometimes that there are other spouses, just as lonely, out there.

  2. AMargaretV says:

    I think this is especially true when you are a military spouse at a new base. It’s not like college where everyone is looking to make friends in the dorms and form study groups in classes. Many people already have their group of friends, they are leaving soon, or they just decide to hibernate with their husbands. There isn’t an easy venue to make firend, you really do have to push!

    Although one thing I have finally come to terms with that helps me a lot with being rejected or as you said, having those rejections imact how you view yourself, is to realize that your not going to be friend with everybody. And that’s OK! I don’t like everyone I meet, so how can I expect everyone to like me? Being rejected doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, it’s just not a good match.

    • You’re right. The military spouse community has been the hardest place to make friends. And yet, for me, the ones I have made have transcended friendship and become family. Maybe we’re an all or nothing lot. It’d explain why we have such a hard time starting friendships and why the ones we do make seem to last for a lifetime.

      I need to be reminded more often that people aren’t going to like me and that it’s okay when they don’t. Or that it’s okay when they like me as a casual friend but become bosom friends with another girl. I have to consciously choose to not feel rejected by that and I’m not always good at it.

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