Monday, 14 May 2012

The long process of friendship

As I was growing up my family moved towns a couple of times.  I also lived overseas for a year.  With each new location I got to (had to?) start the long process of developing friends.

I've realised a few things about me and making friends through these experiences:

  • Although I normally get along with people pretty much straight away, it generally takes me about 12 months to really feel at home with new friends, longer if we have infrequent contact
  • After about 3 to 6 months the previous town no longer feels like home and I tend to feel home-less
  • I can appear to be a bit of a snob initially.  I think this is because I tend to be a bit guarded until I get a feel for how new people or groups interact.  And I am a tiny bit shy in new situations (I know, some of you just won't believe that.  I've learned to override it a lot but it's still there making me uncertain to begin with).
  • I think I am a bit of a chameleon in that I change to look like the group I'm in until I feel comfortable enough to really be myself.  I love it when I just click with someone and can be myself straight away though.
I've been watching myself as I meet new people and then run into them around the place here.  (Go the over-analytical part of me!)  I've deliberately tried to talk to people and introduce myself.  I've tried really hard to remember names, which is okay if I meet one or two people at a time but a bit harder in a group.  I've tried to join in conversation rather than just observe.  And I've tried to remember to ask questions about others and their life, rather than just making them lead the conversation.

I got to hang out for a while this afternoon with one of the mums I met at the local park.  It was so good to just spend time and have the kids playing happily together (mostly).  I found out a bit more about the area and how things work and what's here and so on.  And I discovered someone who enjoys making things from scratch like yoghurt and butter and cheesecake :-D!!!  I got to begin the long process of friendship.

So now I think it must be my turn to start having people over for a cuppa and a playdate and a chat and the start or development of friendship.  Because I don't want to get a few years down the track and feel like I know people but have no friends.  I think I deserve better than that... and so do they! ;-)

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