Thursday, April 26, 2012

i forget how to make friends

As much as I hate to admit it, I'll be living at my parents' house for the foreseeable future. I'm sure I'll figure something out soon and be able to get back to being a grown-up, but without a paycheck, I don't currently have a lot of other options. Since it's been nearly eight years since I've called this city home, I was fairly certain that no one I knew back then would still be around now to be friends. Therefore, I decided to look at Springfield as a new adventure and did what I'd do in any other city: I googled churches and set out to meet new people.

It turns out that I kind of suck at it.

Before I left Korea, I used to daydream about how I'd introduce myself to new people in America:

Potential new friend: "Hi, are you new here?"
Me: "Why, yes I am."
Potential new friend: "Where did you live before?"
Me: "Only the most awesome place in the whole entire world: SOUTH KOREA!"
Potential new friend: "I'm so jealous that I need to immediately become your best friend and maybe quit my job to move there myself!"

But last night was my first attempt at making new friends, and it looked a little more like this:

Potential new friend: "Hey! We went to the same high school! What have you been up to?"
Me: "I live with my parents and don't have a job."
Potential new friend: "Well, you haven't been around for a while. Where were you?"
Me: "You know... here... there... Cincinnati... Asia..."
Potential new friend: "I didn't catch that last one...?"
Me: "I don't have a job."

I have no idea what's wrong with me. In the weeks leading up to Korea, I messaged strangers on facebook asking them to be my friend; yet now I'm confronted with talking to people I used to know a few years back and I can't manage to form coherent sentences.

It's really easy to make friends overseas. All of my non-Korean friends in Korea had, at some point, packed up bags and moved to a new place where they knew few (if any) people. Everyone remembered what it was like to be new and therefore went out of her way to help new people acclimate as quickly as possible. It wasn't out of the ordinary to invite people to do all the same things you did while they figured out exactly what their place would be.

Here, everyone already has a life established. They have people they see on a regular basis and activities they've been doing for years. I have to figure out where I fit all on my own. What makes it even worse is that I know this is temporary. Whether I move to Columbus, San Francisco, or Shanghai in the fall, I know I'm not staying here. I don't have a long-term supportive friendship to offer; basically I'm just begging people to keep me from being lonely until I move again, and that feels all kinds of selfish. How do you make friends when you feel like you have nothing to offer the other person except incessant babbling about how exciting your life used to be? I suppose I'll just continue my valiant effort towards single-handedly doubling the library's circulation while I'm here.

1 comment:

  1. nick... just because you're planning on moving soon doesn't mean you don't have anything to offer! your original plan in korea was to stay for a year, but you still made friends there, and I bet you still talk to them!
    and being one of the people who has re-established themselves in the city they grew up in, I love seeing people from high school. these are people that I saw every day for up to thirteen years... just because our lives diverged doesn't mean I stopped caring that their lives would turn out okay! when I find out that someone has come back or is in town briefly, I try to find a time to get together with them, basically just to kind of check-in that they're happy.