Monday, January 18, 2010

Make New Friends

Some people make friends easily.  I have rarely been one of those people.  An introverted nature combined a bit of anxiety at first meetings often means that I don't make a lasting impression.  There have been times where I wonder if I am not better of taking a children's book approach to friend making and as everyone "Will you be my friend?" until I get an affirmative.

Sometimes it seems when you get to a new point in your life you need new friends that understand it.  It isn't that you abandon your old friends, far from it, but rather you need friends that identify with what you are going through.  8 or 9 years ago was one of those times - the occasion: Mr. Goat and my upcoming wedding.

If you've ever planned a wedding or known a bride you know that weddings can lead even the most rational minds to a somewhat, er...focused...mind.  That is that brides-to-be can talk at length about flowers, dresses, halls, caterers, favors, centerpieces.  And the only one you can find to care - short of the mother of the Bride - are other brides.

Nine years ago found me on on a chat board swapping ideas for our weddings.  It lead to some real life friendships, a book club, an private online board, and eventually to blogging.  It gave me strong friendships, something that I really needed now that I was out of school and living in a city where I didn't grow up.

It lead to my friendship with Emilie, and Missy, and countless others.  And it lead to meeting new blogging friends as my circle of friends combines with their online circles.  In a way, it is through Emilie and her story that my circle of friends continues to grow, even in her passing.

On Saturday night several of us got together to celebrate Emilie's birthday.  Some of us were friends way back from theknot, and others I'd just met including Roxane and Marie who came all the way from ND! But we got together in mutual love of a fallen friend and as I told them, if they were friends with Emilie they are friends with me.

It amazes me how the online community has changed the way that adults (moms in particular) can come together.  Tomorrow I have another opportunity to meet some of the blogger community at Missy's Blogger Volunteer Event at Feed My Starving Children.  I couldn't be more excited.  Not only do I get to see some friends, meet some friends for the first time in real life and meet a whole host of others, but I get to do so while helping the world, especially Haiti. 

How has the internet made it easier for you to make and connect with friends?


Kate said...

I'm the same way about meeting new people, but I've learned that with those in an online community, you have a shared interest already that makes it easier to bridge the gap. Tonight's meet-up should be plenty of fun!

Becky B said...

That's actually a tough question. The internet and various online communities have done a lot to reconnect me with people from my past - one of my closest friends now is someone I went to high school with, and while we weren't close back then, the internet (via livejournal and Facebook) brought us together. In that and many other ways, online communities have enriched a lot of my friendships. But also, I know that without the internet, I'd be completely helpless when it comes to meeting men, and dating. Out of all the guys I've dated, I only met one of them in the "real world" first. Thanks to the internet, I can put myself out there without any of the shyness that usually comes along with meeting men.

Monkeymama said...

I'm so not comfortable meeting new people or making new friends. I went to a mom's group outing here last night and spent the drive over thinking of Emilie and how you guys would always give me a chance the few times I could make it to MN. It gave me a little boost to get in the door. :) I'm sorry I couldn't make it over this weekend.

In NY, I found a mom's group with a vibrant message board and it was wonderful for an introvert like me because we could chat and get to know each other on-line and it was a low pressure way to make plans instead of calling 1 new mom and inviting her to do something.

shadeflower said...

First, I must say in response to your initial paragraph, I also tend to be very shy when first meeting people. Lucky for me, it was you who initiated our friendship. I often wonder how I could have stayed sane those first three weeks of Siena's life had it not been for your reaching out. I realized the importance of having "mommy" friends.

I am not a blogger and don't use chat rooms, but still the internet has helped me reconnect with people I might not have done otherwise. In particular, Facebook. I have several moms and dads that I communicate with frequently, which really is invaluable. The older you get, I find the harder it is to make new friends. So it's been nice to reconnect with those from my past (i.e., high school) who are now entering a similar life phase as me.

Plus being a stay-at-home mom and entrepreneur (and a bit of a home-body at heart), having the online community of FB really helps me stay social and involved.

Recovering Procrastinator said...

I'm also an anxious introvert who doesn't leave much of an impression on first meeting.

I met an amazing group of friend on ivillage when Grace was born 5 years ago. I have met many of them in person and most of us still talk every day by e-mail, FB, etc. But none of them live nearby, with the closest being in Illinois and ND.

So that's why I'm super excited about tomorrow's event and hope to continue meeting up with some of the women, as several live right here in my own county :)

A side note: Do you know that I found you and Missy through Sarah's blog? So in a way, I have to thank for you guys too!

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Liz, what a thrill to see that photo and realize, again, I actually met you in person. It's almost surreal, now that I'm back here in ND surrounded by kids and dirty dishes again (i.e., my real life). It was a beautiful weekend and I loved the way you expressed your version of it. I am taking the whole week, day by day, to unpack my weekend in the cities. But today's post starts with the song, "Make new friends, but keep the old." We're on a similar wavelength, and I'm not a bit surprised. What does surprise me is that you say you have a hard time, initially, making friends, because Marie and I found you so easy to like and enjoy. Still, we both fessed up to our nerves, and I think to some extent most people feel some anxiety in new situations. Thankfully, those anxious feelings disappeared quickly as Emilie's spirit flowed through our group and put us at ease. It was great, Liz. Thanks so much for putting it together, and again, for welcoming us. (I sort of answered the question, in a roundabout way...)

happygal said...

I am a raging extrovert most of the time, but have to admit that I feel this way often myself. It's not my forte, which is why I make myself do it.

Looking forward to meeting you tonight!

dayfullofgrace said...

Great picture! I wish I could have been there!

I don’t think the internet makes it easier for me necessarily – I tend to be fairly on the extroverted side – but it definitely has a way of helping you find what you need at any given time. No matter how outgoing you are, it’s much harder to make friends at this point in life when you’re not all in school together or something, so the self-selection of the internet is great. The Knot is a prime example – finding like-minded friends to share my bridal frenzy was so nice, and it wasn’t like I was going to hang out at bridal fairs and pass out my phone number. :) And, Liz, it was awesome to get to know you better too – we technically met in college but I didn’t know you well at all, so I’m really grateful that the internet has let us do that!

The Marketing Mama said...

Liz, it was a great night in honor of Emilie, thank you so much for pulling it together. Both last year and this. I never really thought of you as an introvert before - you always have seemed so open and chatty at all of our different events!!!

The internet has changed my life in MANY ways. The MN Ladies are one major way - another was a relationship I had for many years with a man I met online in a chat room, way back when chat was a new thing. :)

Looking forward to seeing you in a few hours.

Ann's Rants said...

I've met such fascinating people through blogging. It is such a powerful tool.

Happy 9 months to Little Goat. That was a very sweet post.


trishatfox said...

I love your writing. I can relate totally. Sometimes I think I do what I do because my camera and notebook forces me to get to know people...or rather invites them to get to know me.
I 'll be back to your blog.
Take care.