After college I moved to the place where I got a job – the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I love it. Because of casinos and the proximity to New Orleans, there are big city perks without having to be in a big city. For example, we have an ample amount of good radio stations. Most towns have maybe one or two good stations and a few mediocre stations, so I like this part about living here. My new apartment is less than a 5 minute drive and less than a 10 minute bike ride to work, 10 minutes to the grocery store, 10-15 minutes from a nice movie theater, pool hall, laser tag, and bowling ally, and 15 minutes from the ocean (all driving times). However, the distance to friends is much further.
As it turned out, I had two friends living in the area who are dating (and have been for about 3 years now) and who badly wanted to move out of the guy’s parents’ cottage. I met them in college and didn’t know them very well, but I liked them a lot and had us all fill out a roommate survey and liked the responses. So, we found this two bedroom apartment and moved in together. I could rant on and on about problems with the guy, but I’m just going to leave it at things are not working out well. I love living with the girl, but not her boyfriend. I’m not even sure they’re going to last too much longer. If they do, he is going to have to change.
Anyway, back to the topic of friends. I’m not a church-goer, which seems to be the main way people make friends in the Bible Belt. I don’t like meeting people at bars, because it seems like most people that go to bars, go to bars a lot and want to party a lot. Granted, my main bar experiences were in a college town, so what do I know. Still. So making friends has been though. Specifically making friends that have enough extra cash to go to the bar or pool hall or casino with me. Yes, I like hanging out at the pool or going for a walk on the beach or playing games at the apartment – which are all free things to do – but I also like to drink beer and play pool. I like to go out and do stuff, but not usually by myself. I have tried meetup.com, but haven’t found a whole lot of groups that really catch my interest there. It doesn’t help that I’m totally socially awkward and have no idea how to turn an acquaintance into a friend unless they instigate it. I did figure out how to volunteer to be a GED tutor (something I have enjoyed doing in the past) and once I hear back from them I’m hoping that will be a way to get out of the apartment twice a week or so and help give back to the community. I love helping people who want to help themselves. I don’t think I could ever be a teacher, but I love tutoring because then you get the students who are really trying and willing to work and study and just really want to learn.
Turns out, one of college friends has a group of gamer friends in my area and he posted on facebook for them to contact me, so I’ve had three new people begin to enter my life. I’m very excited about that and hope to actually hang out with some of them soon. I’m still trying to find ways to meet new people aside from in bars or church and looking for more ways to volunteer. A friend of mine suggested a take a night class in something that interests me from the community college or find a place that offers zumba classes or other aerobics classes that I would be interested in. Not a bad idea.
I did force myself out of my shell and went to a book store and bought a cup of coffee and sat down with some people I had never met and started talking to them. They had a calculus book out so I thought they were students at the local community college. Turns out they were high school students. So, that was kinda sucky because I don’t think it’s socially acceptable for someone in their early 20’s to make friends with high schoolers. Not that I would want friends with high schoolers, I remember high school and I hated most of my peers haha. But, I did get to do something that I enjoy and that was to advice them about college, scholarships, job market for the majors they were interested in, and what I had recently learned about finances. In addition to tutoring, I like mentoring in general. Which is my friend friend also suggested that I look into joining a big brother/ big sister program.
So, I guess one of the things I will do with this blog is share success and failure stories on my journey to find friends, because it’s not always the easiest thing to do – especially when not in school and no a church goer.
Please feel free to share thoughts, observations, ideas, personal stories, etc. I’d love to hear them 🙂