An actual conversation from the bachelorette party I attended this weekend:
New Friend: Rachel, I’ve never really hung out with you before. You are so different than I thought you’d be.
Me: Why, what did you think I would be?
New Friend: I don’t know, when I heard about your book and how it was about new friends…
Me: You thought I’d be weird and awkward?
New Friend: Well, I thought you might be awkward since you had so much trouble making friends. But you’re great! You could make lots of friends!
I loved everything about this conversation. I especially loved how honest she was. She thought my difficulty with making new BFFs meant I was socially awkward, and who can blame her. I don’t hold the assumption that I was some weirdo against her at all. There was a time that I, too, would have thought some friendless blogger must be a sad sack. To be honest, I found the fact that my new friend admitted as much to be totally hilarious and awesome. I couldn’t stop laughing. “Nope, I’m pretty normal!”
Author Allison Winn Scotch wrote an interesting blog post yesterday about the line between personal and too personal, in writing. She’d recently published an essay she wasn’t sure about, because it revealed personal information about her past. I admitted, in the comments section of her blog, that I was originally embarrassed to make my search public, for fear of making myself too vulnerable.
I remember the day I first thought about writing my book proposal. It occurred to me that if I wanted to write a friendship memoir, I would have to come out with my “secret”: I was short on local friends. I was totally humiliated. Who wants to go public with a big sign, “Will Work For Friends”? Would writing that I didn’t know how to find that special someone make me look pathetic? Did I want to advertise the fact that I was feeling bestfriendless? I was sure people would laugh at me, and I really didn’t want to be a different kind of biggest loser.
We know how this story ends: I decided to write the proposal, and then later the book and blog, and I eventually realized that my worst fears were totally off-base. The people I heard from weren’t writing to say I was lame (except for when they were), they were writing to say “I’ve been there!” and “I thought I was the only one.”
If the above conversation had taken place a year and a half ago, my reaction would have been one of embarrassment and frustration. But now that I have a year of friending under my belt, and a year and a half of connecting with others (online and off) in my same circumstances, I’ve actually developed a lot of pride in my situation. I’m not socially awkward, I’m just honest. And determined. (And maybe, fine, awkward in those uncomfortable girl-date moments, but who’s keeping track?)
Have you ever been embarrassed to admit you were on a friend search? Or (be honest! I don’t mind!) did you think, at first, that maybe there was something wrong with me that I was admitting trouble making friends? And, have things changed?