How I Made Some New Friends
My search for meaningful connection
It’s been a while since I’ve felt brave enough to walk into a bar not knowing the person I was there to meet. I’ve been on countless blind dates in the past but have always found the whole experience awkward and uncomfortable which I put down to the introvert in me. I’ve never been good at making small talk. I envy others who have this skill and who make it look so easy. But after I use up my standard three questions – what do you enjoy doing in your spare time, and….well ok, my one standard question, the conversation usually stalls. Certainly from my side anyway.
But last week I once again found myself in the nerve-wracking position of entering a bar and not knowing who I was meeting.
Except this wasn’t a blind date. And it wasn’t a person that I would be meeting with. It was a group of people. A group of women who find themselves in a similar position as myself and are looking for the same things that I am – friendship, connection and great conversation.
As I get older I find I’m starting to lose the peer group that I used to rely on for friendship. I never had a big group of friends but those who were there were valued. Now most of them have met their partners and settled down. Many have gone on to have children. Their priorities have changed and I often find myself not really knowing what to do with myself or where I fit in.
Recently I’ve noticed a trend amongst people I know where the couples are hanging out more with each other. I also see the same thing with those who have become parents. When I think about it, it makes sense as people will naturally spend their social time with those who are similar to them.
Which leaves me trying to figure out my place in all of this.
So following the same line of thought, I decided to try and meet other women in a similar situation as myself using Meetup. I have read about the benefits of social interaction and wanted to bring more of this into my life.
So that’s how I found myself in the position of being in a bar and not knowing any (except one) of the women I was with.
Was I nervous? Yes. Throughout the whole day I was creating various different scenarios in my head of what it might be like, with the same questions going around in my head.
What if no one likes me?
What if no one turns up?
What if everyone thinks I’m odd?
What if I think everyone else is odd?
But as I sat down and one-by-one each of the women arrived, I realised that none of those worries were going to materialise. What actually happened was that I spent the evening with a small group of lovely, warm and funny women. We laughed and spoke about a whole range of topics. Topics that I knew something about and could contribute to, and those that were new and which I was able to learn from.
But the biggest lesson from the whole experience was understanding that I would occasionally need to push myself out of my comfort zone if I want to find the meaningful connections that I’m looking for. It may not always work out but in this occasion it was definitely worth doing and I felt a real sense of gratitude towards the experience and to the women who had each shown up themselves.