The risk you run of moving to a new city is sometimes feeling very lonely.
Most things that I do, I don’t mind doing alone. I don’t mind seeing movies alone, or going to the farmers market, or even going on hikes alone… I truly don’t mind it. And honestly, sometimes I even prefer it. (Doddling shoppers and chatty movie-goers make me bonkers!) But there are also times when I wish I had someone to share time and interests with. Just a lunch, or a walk, or a show.
In last 12 months I’ve met literally hundreds of new people. I’ve seen hundreds of new places. But in my time living here, I haven’t had what felt like a real connection with anyone. Of course, I thought I’d felt the connection with a handful of people, but they quickly disappeared from my life or dropped off interest. The thing is that wherever you go, whether it’s San Diego or Madison or Seattle, people already have their friends. They aren’t looking for more.
I can honestly say that I was never the type of person who left others out intentionally. I started high school by beginning a “Picnic Club” where anyone who wanted to eat on the lawn could join us. As a freshman in college, I tried my best to be friendly to everyone and felt that I had a good group of friends throughout that first year. Of course, when they all (well, almost all) moved away the next year I was devastated. I’m not embarrassed to say that it might’ve scarred me. In many ways I’ve always considered myself to be an outcast, an oddball and “the new girl” (even if I wasn’t) and I always wanted to welcome others in rather than have them feel the same way.
I wrote the post The Thing I’m Most Afraid Of… back in August, when I had first moved into my apartment in a city where I knew a handful of family members and few people from back home. For a while, I even confused dating with friendship, but quickly realized that they weren’t my friend OR my boyfriend. I know these things come with time and I’m not going to meet lifelong chums in my very first months, especially when I’m shy and incredibly skittish about getting hurt or embarrassed! The only thing that I can do is stick out my hand and introduce myself. To be open to meeting anyone at anytime. To try new things until something clicks. Some people have suggested joining a church or club, but I haven’t come across anything that doesn’t seem cheesy or forced.
I hope you don’t think I’m terribly pathetic. And while I’m sure that some of my coworkers and family members think I am, I don’t feel pathetic. I’ve surrounded myself with hundreds of inspirational books and movies and beautiful experiences in the past year and they’ve all been by myself! I’ve changed the tricky light bulb, took the ferry to an island, adopted pets and moved into an apartment entirely alone. I’m actually more proud of myself for doing those things alone, rather than asking (or expecting) for someone to help me.
That being said, if you have any ideas, or know or anyone with a good sense of humor in the Seattle area, I’m welcome to suggestions!