If the worst conditions under which to make new friends were ranked, I’m confident that being childless in your 30s and being a transplant to Michigan would battle for the top slot.
I moved to Michigan two years ago for a boy and a job and was struck immediately by the fact that it felt like everyone in Michigan was from Michigan. Thank goodness this was actually proven true with data which, incidentally, is often my hope but rarely the case. The problem with this is that no one here needs to make new friends — if you are still living near your elementary school friends, high school friends & college friends, you don’t need to make new grown up friends. That said, I really have tried!
Here’s an exciting list of things I’ve done to try to make friends:
- CrossFit — I thought I’d get in shape & make friends simultaneously so I emailed for more information and never heard back. It’s unclear if they were disorganized or if they found out that I never passed a Presidential Physical Fitness Test in my entire life. I actually couldn’t even reach 0 on the “V Sit & Reach.” I like to think of it as the way that my mental inflexibility manifests itself physically.
- Pure Barre — I heard this was “cultish” which seemed like a decent possibility but after 14 classes, I had a 24 year old former MSU Dance Team Captain tell me it was nice I kept trying. #notsomuch
- Junior League — yeah, this was a swing and a miss. Signed up for more information and learned the first meeting involved a “crazy hat contest” and a scavenger hunt. Neither activity seemed ironic.
- Host work friends over for dinner — had a 33% success rate with this and found out another 33% deemed me “not cool enough for weekend activities.”
- Yell at my husband for not having more friends of his own — I felt better after this but didn’t actually make any friends.
- Wine tastings — met a lovely 72 year old recent widower who told me about a restaurant that’s now my favorite, but I am, again, in need of more friends and probably fewer carbs.
- Cooking classes — went solo and ended up having some aggressive housewives take all the good macarons and talk about a trip to France while mispronouncing words.
- Volunteering — just kidding, never did this. Until there are volunteer opportunities for people to make sarcastic asides, I’d rather be lonely.
Me. At Pure Barre. (Source: Disney.Wikia.Com)
What’s worse, I’d really like to cut some existing friends loose since I’m trying to reduce the crazy and drama in my life, but if I don’t have a healthy farm system, I feel like that’s not the wisest move. [If you’re reading this, it’s definitely not you].
In the meantime, I’ll be grateful for the wonderful friends I do have (albeit spread across the country) and try to be better about staying in touch with them.
I totally want to join them for coffee. (Source: Hello Giggles)
I consume an insane amount of media — here are some of my favorite recent picks:
- Gilmore Girls & Gilmore Guys: I’ve been in search of a TV show to mindlessly binge watch that Jeff WON’T want to watch too. While I’d like to revisit Friday Night Lights, I’m still hoping that Jeff will actually agree to watch that with me so I landed on Gilmore Girls. And THEN I discovered the Gilmore Guys podcast (which, incidentally, I discovered before the New York Times but after the Atlantic). I would be in support of any podcast that ends in a Carole King singalong but have really been enjoying revisiting a nostalgic TV show with amusing episode by episode comedic commentary — that’s my favorite way to watch TV this decade so it makes sense that it would work well for a past favorite too.. And did I mention every episode ends with a singalong? [Gilmore Girls is currently streaming on Netflix while Gilmore Guys is available on iTunes with the link above].
- Undefeated: I recently watched this 2011 Best Documentary Academy Award Winner and it was better than I ever thought possible. It follows a North Memphis football team with a coach who gives up time with his family to bring together and improve the lives of these young men — many of whom don’t have fathers themselves. It’s like a less attractive Coach Taylor volunteering an insane amount of his own time and resources to totally change the lives of young men in a poverty stricken area. Jeff doesn’t want me to tell you that he cried more than I did but… that happened. [Undefeated is currently streaming on Netflix and you need to watch it immediately].
- All Involved: I could barely put down this book about gang life during the LA riots. I ended up hearing the author, Ryan Gattis, on a Grantland podcast with Andy Greenwald and was really intrigued by his approach — to tell the full story in the first person through 17 different narrators. In addition, Ryan spent a fair amount of time on a graffiti crew in some of the affected neighborhoods and while the novel is fiction, many of the stories are based on people he met. I am often annoyed by narrative approaches like this but he truly wove all the stories together masterfully. A number of people have drawn comparisons to it being like a book form of “The Wire” which is a pretty fair presentation — although the whole thing is lacking the perspective of the police… not that you miss that by the end.
I have two toy poodles: Sam and Pepper. No, I didn’t rescue them. I know that’s admirable and gets you a bumper sticker that says “who rescued who?” but I like purebreds and lack of dander and no emotional baggage from past owners. I post frequent photos of them on social media because I think they’re cute and they make me laugh. I spend a healthy amount of money keeping them healthy, walked, well fed and buying them toys that are mildly ironic… only to have them prefer to play with pens or batteries or other items that could kill them.
Samuel Seaborn Doak (L) and Peppermint Patty Untereker Doak (R)
The thing is, people like to assume that because I love my dogs, I love all dogs. This is not the case; I probably don’t love your dogs. I don’t like big dogs or dogs that slobber or ugly dogs. I definitely don’t like dogs I haven’t met and you describing your dog’s antics is less amusing than you think it is. In fact, human impressions of dog faces make me uncomfortable in an “I pity you but don’t want to bond with you so I’m trying to hide my emotions” kind of way.
Poodle sculpture I bought that does not help my “not a dog person” rep
Today I was trapped in a 25 minute conversation with my dog walker learning about the differences between her two dogs and listening to her compare her dogs (who I haven’t met/will never meet) to my dogs (who I pay her to take care of) and couldn’t for the life of me extricate myself early. I found myself, about 10 minutes in, wondering why this doesn’t happen to Jeff. How does he get out of these conversations? How does he avoid learning about Toby the Goldendoodle’s asthma medication ($300+ for three months and insurance doesn’t cover it)? Until I crack the code, my plan is to park down the street and hide in my car until I see she’s gone. That’s the grown up and mature thing to do, right?