Making new friends is often difficult on many children. My sisters don’t appear to have problems with making friends, but I have always struggled between shyness in making new friends and depression in keeping those friends.
Writing about my depression for the past two weeks has really be eye-opening. I have talked about how my memories are lost and I sometimes wonder where they went. Then, I talked about how that first post affected my family members and how I would work on that for future posts. Basically, I think I could turn this series into “My Life Story” because so much of my life is affected by my depression. I don’t know how far it truly goes back, but it feels like it has been there forever.
The first friend I can really remember was a friend who lived on my blog. I have no idea who I met her, but we were inseparable. She was a year younger than me and cute and friendly. She was much more popular than me, but during Summer when it was hot and we only wanted to ride bikes, it didn’t matter who was popular. We were young, maybe 3rd through 5th grade or so, and we didn’t care who knew we were friends. Other friends came and went in the neighborhood, but she and I stayed close. It wasn’t until I moved into junior high that we stopped spending so much time together.
There was another friend on our block who moved in around this same time. I can remember meeting her because it was “traumatic” for a shy, quiet, scared-of-my-own-shadow type of girl. She and her family moved into a house that backed up to our back lot. There was no fence around her yard so our lot connected directly to her yard. In fact, I used to cut through their yard by the garage to get to my other friend’s house across the street. (confused yet?).
Anyway…she and her brothers were moving in and were playing in our back lot and my parents started prodding me to make new friends and go say hi. I remember very clearly asking them how. What do I say? What if she doesn’t want to talk to me (because I’m not sure if I would have wanted to talk if she had approached me)? What if she doesn’t like me? Why do I need to be making new friends? I did it. I hated it at first. I started the conversation. We became good friends for a while. She moved, but we are still connected on Facebook.
As I mentioned, my first friend (that I remember and my parents tell me I had many during preschool and primary years) and I drifted apart when I was in junior high and she was not. It was not my choice, but once she entered junior high, she discovered the popular crowd and I didn’t fit in. It happens. I met a new friend! I actually don’t remember how I met her, but her mom drove my school bus at some point so maybe that was it. She and I were inseparable. When my parents would have parties at the house and I didn’t want to be a part of it, her mom would pick me up and I would spend my whole weekend at her house. She got me into a lot of trouble, but I was not interested in going through the drama of making new friends again so I just tried to stay “good” even when she was doing things I didn’t like. It was actually not uncommon for me to be at her house over the weekend and spend time watching TV with her mom or reading a teeny bopper magazine rather than actually talking or interacting with this friend. I liked her. I just didn’t like some of her choices. Being at her house meant that I had a mom who was interested in what I was doing.
Whoa…I’m not really sure where that last sentence came from, but it makes total sense. I’ll think about that a little more and talk more about that next week. And now, I have to stop here. It’s a good stopping point, actually, because while I made new friends since that time (obviously) they were different. They approached me. I’ll tell you all about it.
Did you have trouble making new friends as a child or even now?
I’m linking up to Pour Your Heart Out.