Monday, December 3, 2012

Why do we even need other people?

I'm not very good at the socializing thing.

Surprise surprise, right? I know you guys understand. We writers generally aren't known for being the party scene type people. 

As I'm sure you know, it makes moving away from your home town...interesting. I haven't felt this type of self-consciousness about making friends since seventh grade. I mean, its different, obviously, but I guess its just that I haven't had to try at all for a long time. I graduated from high school in a class of 21 students. Everybody was friends with everybody, there wasn't really any other option. And in college the perfectness of perfect kinda fell into my lap slash my dorm roommates. I never had new roommates after that, really.

Until now. Now my close close friends and close-ish friends and even the random acquaintances I've had pretty much my whole life up till now are gone. I have my immediate family, which I think is why I'm not in a mental institution at this point, but its been different. Imagine me saying all this in an analytical voice, not a whiny emotional voice, because that's how I feel right now. So anyway. 

I definitely see how this has been...well, I hesitate to say "good for me" because I can't tell if I am a better person because of this move, but a learning experience, as any experience is really a "learning experience." And I have thought a lot while I've been here and I think have learned things about myself and my weaknesses and what I want and hopefully that will translate into me becoming a better person in the future. So maybe in that sense, yes, it has been good for me.

Obviously I believe we need other people. Desperately, in fact. Other people are The Point Of Life, in my mind. We need them to help us learn. I read/heard somewhere recently the expression that you will never meet someone who doesn't know something you don't know. I love that. We need people to take us out of ourselves and give us perspective. We need people to help us. And to give us a chance to help them. I think we should try to be the best part of other peoples day.

But like I said, I'm not good at this socializing thing. I don't think I'm being wussy on this, because even when I put forth a serious effort, its not like I'm terribly awkward or anything (I hope?) and I mostly enjoy chatting with people, but I really just don't have the making-friends-wherever-you-go skill like my mom and sisters and a lot of other people. I am becoming okay with this, but I have a question and a worry.

My question is this: what is the correct amount of pretending? I think at the superficial/beginning levels of socialization, 99% percent of the population is pretending to be comfortable and happy, and the remaining 1% have a capital G Gift. I definitely don't think avoiding something only because its uncomfortable is the right answer, but I also don't think that the close friendships and relationships that we look for necessarily come from forcing yourself at every situation, if that makes sense. Basically, how far does "trying" actually get those special friendships, or do they always just happen how they're going to happen, regardless of any planning or conscious effort on our part?

And my worry. I did kind of follow my family to the east coast. I'm living in my own apartment and like I said, there have been some great learning things for me personally. But now I'm applying to grad schools. I know most people have probably lived far far away from family by this point in their lives, and I'm trying not to feel ashamed. I love living near my family, and I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with that, but I'm also trying really hard to not let terror restrict me. Like I said, grad school. Its not like they're going to come to Texas or Nashville or Baton Rouge with me. (According to my grad school applications I really want to experience the South.) I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't worth it, but the first bit is going to be the most miserable 2-4 weeks of my life and that is not an easy prospect. Worth it. I'm figuring out how I'm going to survive, that I will survive, and that I might even be okay. But still, terrifying.

Because really, there are people wherever you go. And that is a terrifying, wonderful, lonely, comforting thing.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sarah, great post as always. I used to chew on this a lot. I don't so much anymore. I finally realized and accepted I'm not a person with high-socializing needs. I'm good with a couple close friends, and a lot of friends I would call shallow-fun relationships. I try to enjoy people at face value and if something deeper develops then I count myself blessed. Best to you as you travel this journey. You're right, we all need that friendship connection at some level.

  3. I ran into this last year when I went to college. The people I went to elementary/middle school with ended up at my high school too, so making friends was not so tough then.

    A lot of those same kids went to college with me, but obviously there are far more people at a college and I didn't have a single class with anyone I knew. It took me joining a group in my comfort zone (The Catholic Student Center) before I was really able to make friends. And that wasn't even until the spring semester.

    You'll get there :)

  4. There are so many sides to it- like you said it is a learning experience, you have the potential to make new and dear relationships- who knows an entire world could open to you, but on the other hand it can be so painful and worrisome. But I think the key is that you're aware of those intracies. Going back to school is a great start ( a big one!) but on a small scale, taking a yoga class, visiting a new church (if that is your thing) or even trying something totally new (like a cooking class, photography, etc can be a great start. I also like to get aquainted with the local library when I've moved. Best wishes-


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