I lived in FL for nine years, almost to the day. When I moved there from NH I worked from home for a company in Santa Clara, CA. As a result of being a remote worker, I found it very hard to make friends in my new state. Houses around me were owned by mostly retirees. There were few kids.
After three years in the state, I finally made my first friend. By then I had a five year old and a nearly two year old. And I met C because her house was in front of the school bus stop, so every morning, with my younger in a stroller or walking, and my older son packed for school, we walked to meet the bus. She had a controversial political sign in her front lawn. And I agreed with it. I got up enough introvert courage to say something to her about it and I was delighted to find out we had a lot in common. After a few weeks she invited me to join her monthly women’s group called the YaYas and it was the best thing I ever did. This group saw me through childrearing, and a very difficult divorce, and some major surgery. I’ve kept them even with the distance now (I am on the West Coast). I miss them terribly: the chance to just be me and laugh with a group that’s accepting and fun.
So here I am. With friends mostly out of state. And I’m finding it so hard to make friends here. I work from home, again, which certainly does not help. And now I have new physical limitations that prevent me from volunteering, exercising, and meeting new friends.
I spoke with a friend today on the phone. She and I met in Michigan in our early twenties and sporadically found each other when we both lived in the DC area and then lost touch. I found her last year on LinkedIn first, I think, and then Facebook. She, like many of my friends, is an extrovert. She’s living in NH (funny, as she moved there when I was leaving to move to FL). She spoke about living there and finding it hard to make friends. She’s very active in local politics. “I KNOW people,” she said, “but all my friends are out of state.” I was struck by this: I had another friend, who lives in Virginia say to me on the phone, “Thanks for talking today. I actually feel like I have friends!”
What is this about? I am not alone, after all, in this “lack of social life.” Is it that we are so deeply entrenched in our small worlds of kids, school, jobs, etc, that we just don’t have the time? There has to be “a way” to meet people and not feel like I inserting myself into an existing group. I didn’t feel that way in FL.
I long to contribute more somehow. Instead I work in the same rooms day to day, do the laundry and exist.