Coffee and Parties and Lunches, Oh My!


I was on a roll for a bit, with hosting two parties in two weeks (one was the ladies night of wine and chatting, and then we hosted a party for my husband’s law school classmates, a few of whom have some potential for the FFFE as well. The only problem there will be how to get them to hang out when they ever have any time!

In addition to the parties, I was grabbing Sunday coffees, doing mid-week biostats phone consultations with some friends, and generally living it up for a while – effortlessly doing the FFFE thing, living the goal (or trying to) of networking and meeting people on a regular basis and building relationships based on that.

But now what?by ZirconiCusso

Where has my time gone?  Where have the invites gone?  Where has the will gone to keep checking MeetUp.com for a chance to spread my wings a bit?  And again, where has my time gone?  Work, school, an internship, some volunteer work, a house, a husband, and a dog are surely time consuming enough for two people, but before it was working out relatively well…right?

Taking Stock of the Friends Forever Friendship Endeavor

I am proud overall of my January accomplishments in terms of improving relationships, going the extra mile to get to know people, hosting parties, and just socializing in general.  But reviewing my progress since last September, it’s hard to tell if I would have been any worse off just by being my usual (less outgoing) self…I have never had trouble getting along with people, and despite all of my efforts, life just seems to be so busy at times that having regular time with friends doesn’t even seem realistic.

Maybe its the midterms, I’m-going-crazy frame of mind talking, but I feel like I will have to give myself a major reminder of why it’s worth it to work so hard at friendships if no one gets to see each other anyway!

I hope this down-in-the dumps, laissez faire attitude wears off quickly, because I do enjoy going the extra mile to hang out and build friendships – it’s just tough work.

Maybe another party is in order…

The November Mission: Last Official Chance for “Meeting People & Creating Friendship Opportunities”


Clearly this title is not exactly true, but (true to form), now that we are a week into November I figure I should detail the November plan.

My mission, which I decided I have no choice but to accept, is to finish the first stage in finding some potential Forever Friends.  For the next few weeks, I will specifically focus on creating friendship opportunities.

Having recently begun a new graduate degree program, meeting people has been no great difficulty.  Creating friendship opportunities – however straightforward it may sound – is a bit harder, though.  What does it even mean?

I think it means opening the door to new possibilities, taking the step after introducing yourself and reaching out to give both you and the other person the chance to develop a friendship.  It means paying attention to what people are saying (listening for real!), taking the time to be thoughtful in your comments, your questions, your invites.  It means thinking about creative and non-creepy ways to open the door to friendship.  After all, people don’t typically become best friends in a single day.  Developing friendships takes time, shared experiences, getting to know each other and understand each other beyond the whole “I see you everyday so I know a little bit about you” type of relationship.

So here are the November plans to create friendship opportunities:

1.  Have meaningful conversations with 3 acquaintances (beyond the usual “how are you?” or “what’s the homework?”).  After all, I will never know if they are potential Forever Friends if we don’t start talking more!

2.  Get coffee or have lunch with someone I haven’t socialized with yet and who I did not know as of three months ago.

3.  Text two new people.  Yes, this will be awkward and a challenge for me, believe it or not, as I dislike using my phone and prefer to do almost anything over sending text messages.  Plus I never delete anything and my text inbox is always full, which makes receiving timely texts a problem…

Anyway, that is the November plan.  As a parting thought, here is a beautiful reflection on the joys of friendship from two characters supremely qualified to give such a presentation:

The Art of Conversation


I’ve often noticed that successful people are outgoing, comfortable talking to strangers, and easy in conversation.  The ability to strike up a pleasant, engaging conversation with just about anyone can come in hand everywhere, however, not just in the world of business.

I think I would like to develop my ability to converse successfully with strangers – after all, it seems like an important skill in finding and keeping friends!

Once you get the ball rollin’…


It’s hard to stop!

I am quite fortunate to have started the Friends Forever Friendship Endeavor at a time in my life when I had the opportunity to meet tons of new people all at a similar point in their lives – meaning they could all be potential Forever Friends.

College and university life opens new doors to social opportunities than almost any other time in life, I believe, even for people who had previously been shut away behind their career doors or in the close-knit everyday world of raising a family.

This month’s progress on the Friendship Meter is going much better than last month’s! Fortunately, with everyone trying to get to know people, there have been plenty of invitations. I am thankful that a potential friend I had been more interested in getting to know wanted the same; we went out to dinner with our respective significant others and had a blast.  We got along so well I think I would actually feel comfortable calling her out of the blue to grab a coffee or go to a local event. Don’t know that we’re quite ready for the shopping test (I have a particular shopping style that few but my sister truly understand!) but we’ve got time!

In addition, I contacted an acquaintance I had known in AZ, and we got together for coffee the other day.  We fell into easy conversation, and although we were never close despite having mutual friends, it’s nice to have the potential there of getting to know her better and to have a friend available in case the “fit” hits the “shan,” if you know what I mean!

So all in all, a successful and productive week on the Friendship Endeavor project.  What’s better, it feels like this is just the beginning!  Once I opened myself up to meeting people and deciding to make friends, the calls, texts, and invites forged by my own deliberate attempts at friendliness started paying off, and I feel happier and healthier for it already.  Onward!

September Re-cap on Making Friends


So the three goals for September were:

1. To chat with 5 new people – DONE! I’m glad to report that with starting a new degree, there were tons of people to meet, and many people were in the same boat as me (an endorsement for taking classes of any sort to meet people, I think!). Lots of potential lady friends, although I’m already starting to see that some have more potential for forever friends than others!

2. Reconnect with 3 old friends – not quite done….unfortunately.  The first attempt left a little to be desired, and even though I am still very eager to chat with a few old girlfriends, I admit I am so stretched for time that it has become a huge hurdle.  The only free time I have seems to be late at night!  Regardless, this will have to be a carry-over for October.

3. Learn something new and/or interesting about a few classmates or co-workers. I didn’t pay much homage to this topic in my posts, but I did (inadvertently) complete this one as well – DONE!  I found out that one lady I never would have expected was born and raised abroad until her early teens (very cool!).  Another lady has a child with autism and has worked everywhere from the military to a doctor’s office.  And lastly, I found out that one potential friend enjoys chocolate and wine about as much as I do.  Very promising!

Despite my shortcomings this month, I can already tell that just by making this online commitment (to myself? the universe? the blogosphere? anyone?) is pushing me to go a bit out of my comfort zone.  It is working as a constant reminder and inspiration to put the effort into making friends and meeting people.

Every time there is a break in classes or when I pass someone in the hall at work, I am starting to see it as an opportunity to meet someone new and potentially special. I am seeing the beauty in the possibility of a spontaneous, new, and lifelong friendship in the people around me, and I like it!

On to October Friends Forever Friendship Endeavor goals!

 

Who Doesn’t Love a Wedding?


So in many ways, Friday’s wedding was a success. First and foremost, the couple is now married. 🙂

My friend, who I first met in 1st grade, is now a wife!  We have both changed in many ways, and our friendship with it. Over many years of going to different schools, my traveling abroad, our interests diverging, and my sister taking my place as BFF of my old neighbor, we have perhaps grown (quite) apart.  I still think we share a cherished history, though, and I feel some friendliness and familiarity with her that I can’t imagine ever changing.

Despite our differences, I am happy for her and the future that is ahead of her. I am pretty positive we won’t return to the closeness we once shared, but I can accept that. She will remain a treasured, if distant, friend.

The party was awesome, and it was a truly convenient way to reconnect with old neighbors and even friends from grade school who I haven’t seen for ten (plus!) years…An open bar may have facilitated my conversational skills, but I found on the whole that I was successfully making conversation with plenty of true potential friends in the broadest sense.

In a more particular sense, the wedding was a success in that I reconnected with a single potential forever friend and hit it off tremendously. We chatted for quite a while at the wedding, and promptly set up a reunion the next evening. We grew up around the corner from each other, but since she more often played with my sister I always assumed she was quite a bit younger.  We are only a year or two apart in age and I feel like now there is no difference.

Even though we live in different cities, I feel that I have someone I want to hang out with every time I am in Pittsburgh. Progress, surely, on the Friendship Meter.

Here’s to the bride and groom, and here’s to a rediscovered potential forever friend! (Photos to come soon!)