How to win friends and influence people

Mr. D. is out of town for the next four days, leaving me at home alone for a weekend-plus. This has brought to the surface something that I have been trying not to deal with: our lack (or, even more specifically, my lack) of friends here.

OK, so that’s not totally fair. I have some friends here — old college friends, a few from law school, and even a friend from high school.  But none of them live anywhere near where we do and they all have settled and rich lives here, and I’m having trouble figuring out how I (or we) fit into their lives.

This also raises one of my own flaws. I am very bad at making friends. I am a good friend, but I seem to stumble into those friendships that I do have. I don’t really know how to affirmatively make friendships.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I am bad at making friendships and I think I’ve decided that, at the core of it, I am insecure, convinced that I am bothering people when I go to make plans with them, that they are only being nice, and that even if I manage to make plans with someone once, they won’t want to see me again, at least not soon. And when I do muster up the confidence to make plans a second time, I never know what plans to make.

Example: I ran into an old college acquaintance shortly after moving here. We swapped info and eventually made plans to have dinner. We had a good time. This college friend then invited us to a party at her house, with a group of her friends, which we went to — and which we enjoyed. And now I guess the ball is back in my court, but I don’t know what activity to suggest to this friend! Another intimate meal seems strange, I think, but I am pretty sure we also don’t know enough people here to successfully plan a party — not to mention that whole we-don’t-live-near-anyone-else thing.

So I find myself now facing four days — and more to the point, the weekend — without any plans to see anyone but myself in the mirror. Part of that was probably poor forethought on my part, but I admit that I forgot Mr. D. would be out of town this weekend until just a few days ago. I often think of myself as an introvert — after spending a lot of time socializing, I do need a chunk of time by myself to recharge. But I’m not totally an introvert, because after spending a lot of time alone or with Mr. D, I find myself really needing time with other people.

Therefore I put the question to you (if there are any of you out there): how do you meet people when you move to a new place? A few notes on that — my workplace is small and there are only two other associates at my firm who don’t have kids, and I had to give up the choir I joined right after I moved here because dealing with the commuting issues was making me hate singing. Given those conditions, what should I be doing? How much pestering people is too much pestering? What are good suggestions for things to suggest to people when making plans that aren’t dinner (either out or in).



Vacation with just your spouse or significant other is lovely, but vacation with your friends is even better.  Seriously.

We just got back from five-days-four-nights in Mexico, where we celebrated with two of our friends as they got married and blended a family, and it was fantastic.  We also watched as two more friends got engaged, and we’re all so happy for them.  We spent hours at the pool, in the ocean, at dinner — all with drinks, of course.  We stayed up until the wee hours the night of the wedding, DJing our own dance party on a pier in the Caribbean (with the aid of a portable iPod dock which has to be the best invention ever). We snorkeled with schools of hundreds of fish and swam through the most amazing reef. We made new friends. We enjoyed old friends. We are tan, rested, relaxed, and ready to go back to work.

Of course, the first thing I did this morning was move my arm in such a way as to (mysteriously) cause me copious amounts of pain. Welcome back.