Sunday, January 15, 2012

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Today marks the three year anniversary of my move inside the beltway.

Making this move was a BIG deal for me. I had considered moving here after college, I even spent a month of my senior year interning a few blocks from the White House. But in the end, I knew the timing wasn't right. I stayed in the metro area where I went to college, moving 15 miles from the suburban campus into the heart of the city.

A big part of the appeal for staying was because I had friends there. Lots of them. And it was so easy to make new friends then - friends from my new job, friends that I met through other friends. People I could call at the last minute and say "hey, what are you doing for dinner?" Weekend buddies as my friend Sarah called them - the friends you'd end up spending your entire weekend hanging out with whether you knew it going into the weekend or not.

Fast forward eight years and I felt like it was time for a change. A great new job opportunity presented itself in the DC area, timed perfectly with the conclusion of my master's program.

So I moved. And I started to meet some great new people, and slooowly started to make friends in the area. I've reconnected with some friends from high school and college and who live around here, made some great friends at work and a few in my neighborhood. One of my best friends relocated to this area a few months before I did which is great, but she's just far enough away, and traffic is just so very bad, that spontaneous plans can't happen and the only time we're weekend buddies an overnight stay and advanced planning is involved.

Things on the friendship front aren't awful when I sit down and really think about it. I'm a homebody, loner by nature, so it's not like I want to be out doing things every night of the week. But, it's also not the same. I want local friends who are the 'call just to say hi, wanna go for a walk or grab dinner after work' kinda friends.

I've talked to a few friends about this, especially ones who have also relocated and could relate, but in general it seems kinda whiny and pathetic as an adult to be complaining that you are having trouble making friends.

So imagine my excitement when I came across a book about my exact plight! I saw MWF Seeking BFF: My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend featured on Good Reads as a 'soon to be released' title back in mid-December. And I'll admit, I basically started stalking the book. I read reviews, pre-ordered a copy for my Nook and eagerly awaited December 20 when I could start reading it. I also sent a copy to my former work bestie who relocated to a new city last spring (and is a MWF, so it was even more perfect for her!).

And let me tell you, it totally lived up to my expectations. Author Rachel Bertsche does such a good job of putting into words the feelings a late 20/early 30something has about finding friends, especially as a transplant to a new city.

After reading the book I'm inspired to make new friends. No, I won't be going on 52 friend dates like the she did, but I'm going to take advantage of new friend opportunities and not just kick myself after they pass me by. I'm going to be more proactive and try to make this new life feel more like the one I left. I want to be able to make the drive south on 95 to visit my friends without tearing up on the return trip over what I've just left behind. (Crying about the traffic I'm in getting back would still be acceptable.)

I hereby declare 2012 the year of making new friends.

Wish me luck!

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