“It just feels a little… raw”
A new friend had just asked me why I wasn’t writing about my struggles to make connections in Maine. The only answer I could come up with was that — despite proclaiming that I write what I want to write, and tell the truth as it is, and try to keep it real — it was feeling a little too real to talk about.
But then I’ve been sitting on it, and pondering it, and turning it around in my mind a little more.
And I started to wonder: Is it possible that someone else out there has struggled to make meaningful connections in a new place? Is it possible that other people find it hard to make friends? Is it possible that you feel lonely, sometimes, too?
So. Here’s the deal: Sometimes, I feel lonely. I’m afraid to talk about this too much because I don’t want people to think I’m just desperate, but truthfully? Sometimes, I feel desperately alone.
I go to Whole Foods and peruse the deli counter just because I know the deli man is extra gregarious and will probably swap a few sassy lines with me, giving me the most social interaction I’ve had all day.
I go to networking events and try to stand up straight and smile big and explain that yes, I’m an e-learning developer but really I’m a sailor and I’m not looking to sell them anything I just want a friend which seems to be much harder to find than a new opportunity!
I go to Starbucks and smile at the girls in line, trying to send a “let’s be friends!” message without crossing the line into creepy (which is actually really hard to do).
I run the popular (and beautiful!) Eastern Prom route, smiling and offering a cheery “good morning!” to anyone who makes eye contact and secretly wondering if I could trip them and start a life-long friendship over skinned knees.
I listen to podcasts non-stop, just to have SOME form of company during the day.
I LOOK FORWARD to weekly work phone meetings. ‘Nuf said.
Heck, I’ve even started buying and selling stuff on Craigslist as a way to just GET IN FRONT of people, on the phone, via email, in sketchy parking lots, etc. (Aside: if you need a new dinghy, I’m your girl. Leah Kruger, Boat Broker 😉 )
In short, I’m smiling my face off in as many random locations as I can come up with, and it’s not quite working.
Dear Internet, my name is Leah Kruger, I’m 27 years old and I have completely forgotten how to make friends. I love my husband, our boat, our new life in the city, my work, my new metalsmithing hobby, my family and my friends who are far away… but I so crave a local connection, someone to call up at 1:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and say “hey, I can’t stare at my computer screen for another minute, let’s have coffee”.
My mom suggested I need to let it go. Stop trying so hard. Find things I enjoy doing and let connections happen naturally.
But gosh-darnit, dear internet, that is a hard thing for a control-loving, step-oriented being like me to do.
(So I’m whining to you instead)
I don’t have an answer yet. But I haven’t (quite) given up, and my smiling face hasn’t (quite) fallen off yet, so I’ll keep trying.
In the meantime, friendly Mainers who like Tuesday-afternoon-coffees, please get in touch 🙂