So…since moving to Raleigh, I’ve learned something huge. Making friends as an adult isn’t quite as easy as one might think. In San Diego, I had friends from church, high school, college, work, and doing shows. I am a pretty social person, so the culture shock of moving to Raleigh and being stripped of a social life in the physical world was a big overwhelming at first.
Luckily, I actually had a few friends from college who lived in Raleigh so I had some social time with them. But I still had the life of a loner and I was (and still am) very homesick.
I did a few things to cope with the loneliness:
I called my friends.
I can’t tell you the last time I actually picked up the phone and called a friend. With the world of texting, it’s turned into a cop-out when it comes to communication. I can’t tell you the feeling of hearing familiar voices and actually talking, and using verbal communication. For the first time ever, I’m living alone in my own place and I never actually thought about whether I opened my mouth to talk or not. I live in my head and don’t talk to myself out loud, I think I unintentionally took a vow of silence one day.
I wrote letters and postcards.
I took a piece of paper or a postcard and I wrote to some friends. With the world of email, texting, and messaging, this is a practice that’s on its way to becoming lost. There’s something about sitting and writing with a pen or pencil a letter to a friend. It was rather pleasant really.
I didn’t forget the friends I have already
It wasn’t until now that I fully appreciate the social networking ease that is Facebook. I think I chatted more in the last three months than I ever have in the time that I’ve been on Facebook. If you’re feeling lonely or need some interaction, a quick hello on Facebook can do wonders.
But what did I do to start making new friends?
I started auditioning.
Even if I wasn’t right for the show, I went and auditioned for any play, film, or musical I could find. I needed to start making my face known in the theatre
community anyway, and if I booked a show, I’d be spending a substantial amount of time with these individuals. I did get cast in a show (yay!) and I’m having a blast.
Get involved in areas that are familiar to you. Whether it’s wine, gardening, working out, etc. go out and get involved.
I joined a social networking site for friends and dating.
Okay, it’s a step above Craigslist (I haven’t been able to cross that line yet), butI’ve actually met some
pretty cool people through a few websites. If anything, having a beer with a stranger makes you learn about others and yourself. Of course, I was guarded and had to use a fly swatter to get away from the creeps, but that’s real life anyway. 😉 But crazy thing: There are websites for friendships now. No longer do people have to go through dating websites just to make new friends.
Meetup.com is a pretty cool website where you search for meetup groups based on hobbies, interest, and lifestyle. I’ve actually made some acquaintances who I socialize and spend time with outside of the Meetup group. Do I dare call them friends? I think so.
Probably the place where you’ll spend most of your time and where you’ll interact with people on a regular basis. I’m blessed in the fact that the people I work with are awesome, along with being very loving and welcoming.
I became the neighbor Mr. Rogers would be proud of
Living on the second floor and working odd hours, I happen to run into my neighbors often. Instead of my usual keeping my head down and just walking by, I keep my head up now, smile, and say hello. One of my neighbors helped me with my groceries the other day, and he also happens to be a cop. The community I live in also has social events, and while I skipped the last one, I’ll go to the next one.
Enjoy the downtime
This was probably the most difficult one for me to swallow. Getting the chance to sit back and enjoy the quiet and enjoy the downtime has turned into something very special. Going out or talking to someone every day and evening was something I’ve done for years, and the only downtime I really had was sleeping. Rarely did I ever put time aside for my own spiritual well-being and took time for myself.
Okay, maybe this isn’t the best how-to on making friends, but it’s a start. If you just moved to a new city where you don’t know anyone, you’re not going to make much progress just sitting at home and doing nothing. Don’t be afraid of going out by yourself. Making new friends in a new town is all about getting out there and reaching out.
Making new friends and putting yourself out there all over again is scary. It reveals a vulnerable part about yourself, and if you were a social butterfly in your old element, it’s even scarier to have to start over. I miss my friends back home dearly. But I’m also very grateful for the people I’ve met here in Raleigh and look forward to seeing what new adventures await.