Jul 14, 2014

Starting Over


Every 3 years it's the same old song and dance. We pack up everything we own and move to a new city and a new Air Force base. The typical things happen...D starts a new job, we find a new place to live, we learn new neighborhoods, shop at new stores, and find new doctors, dentists, and hair stylists. But the one part of the moving process that never ever gets easier (and people tend to forget about)? Making new friends. It's my least favorite thing in the world to do. I know that's probably a loaded statement, but finding myself as a complete stranger (knowing absolutely no one) in a new place makes me feel 30 different kinds of weird and vulnerable. Starting from "friendship scratch" will forever be a daunting endeavor. 

D and I have never really had problems making friends. In fact, I think we're quite good at it. I've got the gift of gab and D is cool as a cucumber in almost every social situation. A dynamic duo, if you will. But even with glowing social skills and lots to talk about, we still find the tasks of finding friends, all the way to building friendships, something of a beast to tackle (at least in its beginning stages). Some may think it to be "old hat" to have to start over making new friends every few years, but we still get nervous, we still feel awkward, and we still hate breaking the ice (and not every friend we meet is a friend we necessarily want to keep...but that's another post for another day!). I think it's human nature to want to retreat into a hole whenever the thought of having to put yourself out there becomes something of necessity more than it is a luxury. Having friends and acquaintances outside of just your significant other, old friends, and family members is an integral part of adapting to a new place, in my opinion at least. I know for D and myself, it's one of the first things we try to do when moving to a new city or state...or foreign country, for that matter. Even though we know we have to do it, friend making can take a toll on me emotionally, sending my nerves into overdrive until that first friend meet-up is over and done with. After the first initial social ice-breaker, we build confidence and momentum in the whole process. The nerves dissipate a bit and we remember that building new relationships is also fun and exciting! It may take time, but we know it's worth it. Friendships are good for our minds, but essential for our hearts.

That's where we find ourselves just 3 weeks into our Florida relocation. Now that we've secured the house, the jobs (for D, at least), the familiarizing ourselves with our new surroundings...it's time to venture out and make ourselves some friends! Thankfully, D's new squadron is chock-full of new faces to meet. In fact, we've already broken the ice and had our first two social experiences here in the Sunshine State! Praise the Lord! We spent Saturday night mingling with 5 super sweet couples at a backyard BBQ and then had dinner last night with D's squadron sponsor and his lovely wife. It's interesting how both D and I can be so out of our minds with nervousness before these meet-ups, but after, so pumped and hopeful as we download our experiences at home with each other that night. So far, our friend-making attempts have been positive and far from scary. Granted, as the years pass by, we find ourselves more selective with who we build friendships with (you live and you learn, am I right?), but one thing remains the same...the need to find friends who build you up, are supportive through the tough times, and who are just plain 'ol fun to be around. I've got to say, it's so nice being back in the South! Southern sweetness abounds in this city! While the art of making friends is something I might never find easy, it's definitely an exciting and rewarding part of life. As the saying goes...

"Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other, gold!"

Is friend-making something that makes you nervous, too?
How do you cope with being a stranger in a new city?
Any tips or words of the wise for those of us navigating making new friendships? 
I'd love to hear your thoughts!

31 comments:

  1. Although I haven't moved every 3 years, I've definitely become selective when choosing new friends as I've gotten older (& weeding out the ones that aren't the best for me any more). It's not always easy but, I think that selection process makes for better, long-term friends!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Making friends is really low on the scale of things I am good at and seeing as we are two years on in Sundsvall and I have none attests to that!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wish I was better in making friends when we move. Luckily, I scoured the internet a little more this time, and have chatted up a few ladies on our new base's FB page (Kadena). I did pretty well when we lived in Germany, but it took a little while to make good friends here at Scott AFB. Hopefully Kadena goes a little better.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's always a nerve-wracking experience meeting new people, even online. But I think you're so right in being hesitant about getting close to everyone. That's the one thing I try my best when I make new friends. When I started college everyone was in a rush to make friends because you're in a new place all by yourself, but I was reluctant to make friends just because. I want to know that those that will be around me will help me grow as a person and not have them around to keep me company. Quality over quantity! As for you, I know you'll make many friends with that wonderful personality of yours. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's interesting, but sometimes I think friendships with military families tend to happen pretty quickly...mostly because there aren't other friends and family anywhere close by (in most cases) and the fast friends thing just kind of happens with you have no one else to rely on for certain things. Although, even then it's wise to be selective of who you trust and let into your life. You're so right about finding friends that help you grow instead of being just placeholders...or worse, TOXIC! You just never know this day and age! (And now I sound like my grandmother!)

      Thank you for your perspective, Isabel! And your kind words!! :)

      Delete
  5. ah you'll be ok and in 6 months you'll look back and laugh :) good luck
    thewanderlusthasgotme.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's hoping you're right, Gina! Thanks!

      Delete
  6. Making friends in a new place is always tough.

    ReplyDelete
  7. When I was single, I found it super easy to make friends- mostly because I hung out at bars with my other single girl-friends and partied every weekend. Now that I'm living with Kevin, I'm finding it harder to make friends -- because our lifestyles have changed so much. We barely go party anymore. Our friend group has rapidly declined because not many of our friends are interested in doing things other than partying too hard and acting like fools. But that is to be expected. People always grow apart, especially if the interests are drastically different.

    Now we just don't know how to make friends. We go to bars for casual happy hours, and we try to talk to other people, but it never sticks. It's just like an hour conversation and then we never see the people again. BUT... we did make one friend at our apartment pool. So I'm super excited about that! haha

    ReplyDelete
  8. That's the hardest thing about moving around I think. I don't worry about meeting people, especially if you go to a new job for example but to make really good friends is hard and then having to leave them, if you do get really close to them, it's worse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Making really good, life-long friendships is so hard to do these days! I totally agree with you, too...leaving them is much worse. One great thing about this military lifestyle is that we tend to end up running into those friends again at some point or another (if they stay in the military world, of course). Goodbyes are something we've become quite accustom to, but they never get easier! I'm looking forward to the day when those become less and less. :)

      Delete
  9. I'm moving out to Washington (Joint Base Lewis McChord) in January when my fiance and I get married. I'm all kinds of anxious/excited/nervous about making new friends out there. Mostly excited but sometimes the nerves creep in. At least with the military I know I wont be the new person for long. And I think my first goal is to find a church to plug in to. This is a great, encouraging post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shannon, I'm currently at JBLM also, although I'm flying out tomorrow to our new duty station in Germany. If you have any questions or need advice about the area, feel free to ask me, even though I won't be at JBLM anymore. WA is a cool state (despite all the rain!) :)

      Delete
  10. Friend-making can be really hard, but you just have to bite the bullet and jump in head first! It sounds like you two won't have too much trouble making friends, it's good that D has an "in"! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've not really had first hand experience in moving, a part from when I went to university but a lot of other people were in this new situation with me. I think it's only natural to be nervous in that environment though, friendships are important especially when you're new to somewhere. I'm sure you will have no troubling settling in, I've always found people in Florida to be very lovely! x

    ReplyDelete
  12. That would probably be my last favorite part. I'm super shy if I don't know; but watch out once I do! ;) I think it would be interesting to meet new people and make new friends with lots of different people though, after the initial meet up! I hope you guys make lots of great new friends! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ahh! I'm about to embark on this myself. I'm about to leave our duty station and head to Germany. It's the downside of the military life. I'm a pretty social person so having to start over and make new friends is a bit scary but I think I will be ok. And I bet you will make new friends in no time!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh, I feel it was easy - or at least easier - before I turned 20. I'm doing an international master's now, I've been studying and spending my days with the same batch of people for 10 months now, and they're all nice, but I don't feel I could call any of them a true friend. Something just got stuck. Maybe everyone feels mid-twenties or late-twenties aren't really the age for making new friends, but I look at other people - my friends who moved abroad for work, for example - and it's working with them! Sometimes this would just frustrate me, but I think (or hope haha) that things have been improving lately - at least now I know who I prefer to spend time with outside the campus, because it just feels nice. I've got one year with them ahead of me, maybe things need to go slowly...
    I wish you all the best of luck. I can imagine you as a person who makes others feel comfortable, and that's quite important. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Truly the worst part of military (or any kind of) moving. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think it is certainly a bit harder to find people you have common interests with as you get older, there is not that automatic associations you have when you are in school or starting out as a new graduate. Sounds like you are off to a good start!

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is beautiful and inspirational, we haven't settled anywhere after leaving london, Australia is calling soon, will make lots n lots of friends

    ReplyDelete
  18. Making friends is something I am not good at which may be the reason I don't have any

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the saying at the end! Copied it and twittered, facebooked and saved it in my little book of beautiful sayings. What helped me a lot was/is the blogging. You will find other women through that who live in your area. I am sure there are a lot. You just have to browse the internet. Good luck in Florida!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha awesome! Had you never heard that saying before? My grandma used to tell me that all the time. Guess it's stuck for all these years...and come in handy, too. I'm totally going to have to look up more FL bloggers...great idea!

      Delete
  20. Gosh, it's like dating again, every few years!

    ReplyDelete
  21. even if you're good at making new friends, it's exhausting to do it over and over again! worth it, but it does take a lot of energy. you got it, girl!

    ReplyDelete
  22. oof. this one. hopefully by the time i'm commenting (terribly delayed), this isn't even an issue anymore. looking forward and simultaneously anxious about this part. but isnt it fun moving with a blog......weirdly, it feels less intimidating that i will find my tribe sooner than the last move (sans blogfriends)?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, it'll probably be a small issue for a while, but that's to be expected. It always takes time to make friends. Don't want to rush any new relationships. Moving with a blog is SO much better than moving without one! Built in friends almost everywhere you go! And you'll totally be a friend-making rock star in your new city. I'm still sad panda it's not closer to me, though! Thank goodness for airplanes, right? ;)

      Delete
  23. Add to that my thinking of, "do I really need more friends" that sometimes hits. LOL As I get (dare I say!) older I think wow, I really love my girlfriends, and I'm not sure I have the energy to commit to making another. We are like you and D, easy to visit with others and my husband is usually a good judge of character when it comes to finding new people. But I still have that "hhmmm" moment a few times a year. I usually end up with one or two really good girlfriends from every place we live, and that's enough for me considering how often we move! Good luck finding your people. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Seriously, i just started reading your blog not long ago, but i'm falling in love with your story! Sometimes i can't wait to read these! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so sweet of you to say! I'm excited that you're excited! Thanks for following along! :)

      Delete

I appreciate your feedback, friends! I read every comment and try my hardest to respond to each one, but if your email address isn't attached to your blogger profile, you might find my response in the comment thread instead. As always, thanks for reading!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...