I have a love/hate relationship with making new friends. I love getting to know about people. I love hearing their stories. I love figuring out what we have in common. I hate that feeling of not knowing what to say, not wanting to say bad words in case they are not as foul mouthed as I am. I hate those uncomfortable lulls in conversation that are bound to happen no matter what. I hate wondering if they really like me and trying to figure out if I really like them.
So with all that being said at this point I would just like to have the opportunity to have any kind of relationship with making new friends.. be it love or be it hate. Making new friends when you are forty something is much harder to do than when you are young. And quite honestly I wasn't really all that good at it when I was young!
A week ago we were at home and unpacking when somebody came to the door with an invitation to a Christmas cookie exchange. Oh my gosh, I felt like Will Ferrell in Elf! I was so excited! I went to the store and bought every thing I could ever possibly need to make cookies... any kind of cookie. I purchased my supplies AND a little cookie cookbook. I am not the best baker so I needed some inspiration. Baking is a science. Baking requires patience, attention and being precise. I have none of those. I can cook, because when you cook you can make things up as you go along. Anyway, I know that baking is my weakness in the kitchen so I wanted to be prepared. I spent days trying to decide what cookies to make. Yesterday I spent the better part of the day and night in the kitchen with my cherry apron on just baking away. I made oatmeal butterscotch cookies and some sugar cookies called "angel crisps" (they didn't come out, they looked horrible so they went in the trash... see told you I was a bad baker!).
After I was done baking we went to the tree lighting ceremony on our Main St. It was absolutely perfect. It actually started snowing little snow flurries when Santa came out on the courthouse steps to light the tree. I mean for God's sake Norman Rockwell couldn't have painted it any better. The only thing that wasn't perfect was that I didn't know a soul. I walked around smiling (smiling's my favorite) trying so hard to make eye contact with any friendly face I saw. Everybody of course was so wrapped up in the event and clearly not there to make new friends so I wasn't even able to strike up a conversation. Whatever. I had a cookie exchange in the morning so I wasn't worried... new friends were right around the corner.
Or not. Today I decided at the last minute to make some chocolate dipped pretzel rods and wrap them up real cute to take to the hostess. I had also already made her fudge but let's be honest, I am the new chick, I need to try extra hard. So with cookies and hostess gifts in hand Gianna and I walked over to the exchange. The house was all decked out. It looked great. There were probably 35 or 40 women there. I again was doing the weird, frantic smiling thing (which looking back might be kinda creepy). I went and found the hostess, who by the way was super cute and really nice. I gave her the candy and rods and she directed me to the table where to put my goods and to the name tag table. Gianna and I put the name tags on and got in line to get our cookies. I had never been to one of these shin digs so I didn't have a clue as to how they worked so I just followed the leader. What happens is everyone lays out there goodies on the tables and then gets in line with some kind of bucket/container/platter thing to fill with various cookies. You walk around in a line and choose one cookie off of each plate until you have chosen the same number as you brought with you. Which I have to be honest here, I didn't count. I mean come on I was a nervous wreck trying to make a friend and eavesdropping on every conversation around me waiting for the right moment to pounce. The moment never came. Gianna and I made our selections. I put the lid on my Christmas-y bucket that I had filled and then we just kind of stood around awkwardly people watching and listening. About 5 or 10 minutes of this and I was just downright embarrassed. So we left. I thanked the hostess and got the hell out of dodge.
Oh and by the way.... apparently people here get dressed up for cookie exchanges.. who knew? Not me in my black yoga pants, thermal henley and white and pink pumas. I mean I was showered and makeup on and everything but I wasn't all fancy pants like the rest of them. Oh well. Now I know, next time I will get dressed up for cookie exchanging.
I was in a funk the rest of the day. Worrying that I wasn't ever going to make friends or fit in. This is a whole new state. A whole new coast. It's different. People are different. So I pouted and moped and watched Gianna play outside with her new friend. Then I sucked it up, got over it and told Chris that I wanted to go to sushi for dinner. When we were getting ready to go I walked down to get Gianna from her new friend's house and guess what!!??? I met her mom and I think she might be my new friend! She's super nice, our kids are the same age, in the same class even AND she is a Kindergarten teacher! We have things in common! I am going to try not to stalk her or come on too strong but I think she might be the one. I know I could be jumping the gun here but who knows I mean I am the woman who agreed to marry her husband after only 30 days... I have good instinct.
I will keep you all posted on the latest as it happens. Even if it's totally embarrassing.