Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Trials and Tribulations of Making New Friends

My high school posse then.
Making new friends has always been difficult for me. I’ve long suffered from a crippling social anxiety that makes it difficult for me to enter into unfamiliar social situations. Close friends say that once I relax I’m bubbly and enthusiastic, but getting there is like pulling teeth – especially when it comes to meeting men. Going to parties can be hell for me. All that small talk is torture. I really want to launch into discussions of philosophy, art, literature and anthropology, but I am forced to feign interest in what you do or where you grew up. And I’m sure that people can see through the mask. I mean, no one is that enthusiastic about presidential airplane pilots, or Bavaria. That’s why I drink!

Over the last few years I’ve been through a series of personal misfortunes: I lost my job, moved to a new country, my income fell (drastically) and I went through a painful break-up. The resulting depression was awful, and I used it as an excuse to simply stay home. Not only was I socially awkward, I was socially awkward and mildly suicidal – not a good combination for lively conversation.

My high school posse now.
Recently I’ve been feeling good enough to try and get back in the game. Had some lunches, met for a few drinks and attended a few parties. I’ve met a couple of interesting people, but I haven’t really found the connection I’ve been looking for. Until recently I thought I had some sort of social deficiency – and don’t get me wrong I’m awkward as hell. I laugh inappropriately, I often drop the ball in conversations because I can never think of the next “small talk” topic quickly enough, and I often forget what’s just been said (partly because I’m too busy worrying about how awkward I am) – but thankfully, I’m not the only one having problems making friends.