I went out last night with some moms from the Down Syndrome support group. Once a month they have a mom's night out where we go to dinner or some such thing. I really enjoy them. Mostly it gets me out and meeting new people, which for some reason I have more trouble with than I want to admit.
As a follow up to that loaded comment, I am thinking today about friendships. I'm just bad at meeting people, and I tend to be even worse about keeping friends. It's not that I'm mean or anti-social or anything like that, I just have these weird hang ups that make it difficult. I don't think that a person my age should have these problems, but there you go. I hate calling people because I don't like talking on the phone. I worry about inviting people over to my house because I think it's always too messy (since I'm fairy anal retentive, this is rarely the case, but I can't seem to convince myself of it). I love to talk to people, but I hate small talk and I'm very very bad at it. I would rather just have a good conversation, and sometimes it's hard to start one. I enjoy Email, but I refuse to be one of those people whose entire social circle exists on the internet. I like to have a healthy balance of friends online and real people that I see.
I think that some of this was made worse by the end of my final year of teaching a year ago. I had a very large, very ugly falling out with someone who had been a dear friend of mine for a long time. It wasn't sudden, it had been coming for awhile, and when it comes right down to it, it was really no one's fault. We had just gotten on each other's last nerve for too long. But during the course of this disaster, she said some things that really preyed on some very deep insecurities I have about who I am and the kind of friend I am. So it sent me into a spiral during the time I really didn't need to be there: when I was leaving work and my main support group of friends. "Here...let me tell you what a bad friend you are, then you go off into the world and try to make friends outside of the workplace you've been at for nine years". It hasn't been pretty. I am very lucky that I have a few friends that have been in my life for years and years, some who will just always be there, and that has made the transition easier.
I think that on the whole, I've been doing well outside my comfort zone. I have meet new friends. I have managed, somewhat, to keep those friendships going. The hardest part is when I realize I haven't called someone in months, and I get all worried that they are going to think I"m a horrible person. I feel like I have to constantly apologize for not calling. Then I remind myself to calm down, because they haven't called me either. Then I wonder if I"m a pest. I'm very slowly working on getting over this, because it is really quite stupid. It feels like middle school all over again (and that was not a thrilling time in my life!)
I think that staying home has been very very good for me because I am meeting people and hanging out with them not because I am with them every day in a work environment and can tolerate them, but because I have things in common with them and we want to be around each other. It's helping me work through some of this social anxiety that resurfaced after having all of my insecurities thrown in my face. I never realized that adults had some of the same issues making friends as kids do. :)