I’ve really been slacking on the “Texas Transitions” series. Sorry guys!! My iPhone is a jerk and decided to delete ALL of my notes (which included many great Texas Transitions ideas), so, um, yeaaaa. Not cool iPhone, not cool. I’ve gone back to doing things the old-fashioned way, with a notepad and pen. Thus, I hope that my future ideas are safe and sound and I won’t have another minor blog-tastrophy and loss of all motivation/funny thoughts. I really do have to write things down because if I don’t I’ll totally forget that brilliant blog topic idea about 35 seconds after it entered my brain.
So, let’s get to the topic at hand, shall we? Making friends in a new place.
If I had to sum up the Texas transition in regards to social life and finding my “niche” it would be: HARD!! It’s not just been hard, it’s been hella hard. I think it would have been relatively hard to meet new people or find my fit regardless of where I had chosen to move, but there are a few things about Texas, my personality, and this situation in particular that have made this challenge especially difficult at times.
Here they are in no particular order…
1 – I moved really far away…like plane flight far, not just long drive in the car kind of far. If I had just moved to Pennsylvania that would be one thing, but I moved half-way across the country. I no longer had the opportunity to visit college friends for the weekend on a whim. I didn’t have my awesome grad school crew around me anymore. I didn’t have a boyfriend at the time. And I had to work full-time. Where’s the fun in that?! So there were many times that I just felt very isolated and alone.
2 – I am TERRIBLE at dealing with and accepting change. Texas and Ohio are two different worlds and in many ways so are the people. It took me a long time to get over that fact. I remember the first time that I had that “Dorothy you’re not in Kansas anymore” moment so vividly. During my first week of work, a coworker mentioned something about going to “OSU” and I exclaimed “OSU?!?! I had NO IDEA YOU WENT TO OSU TOO, OMG HOW FREAKIN COOOOOOL”. Ok, so I’m exaggering a little, but only a little. Anyway, the coworker looked at me like I was nuts (b/c he knew I was from Ohio) and quickly corrected me saying OSU was Oklahoma State University. NOT Ohio State University. Uhhhh…say what?!?!? There’s another OSU out there? And I’m living in a place where saying “OSU” means an Oklahoma school and not THE Ohio State University. WTF?!
3 – A lot about Texas culture is very different from what I was used to and my own views/beliefs/interests/etc. Some of the ways Texans regularly make friends (for example, through church related activities) are not things that I personally find valuable. Therefore, it is sometimes hard to relate.
4 – I was coming from 2 years (well, if you count undergrad and my year off before grad school too it was really 8 years) of party party party. I love the act of “going out” and the many things that can entail! I love going out for drinks, dancing, house parties, holiday parties, you name it. Social gatherings are fun! So I went from a jam-packed social calendar to nada. That was a bit of a blow to my social self-esteem.
5 – I’m an extrovert. I always test strongly extroverted on MBTI type tests. Once we’re friends I’ll yack your ear off and beg you to hang out with me all the time. However, I refer to myself as an “introverted extrovert” because I kinda suck at getting out there and meeting new people unless I have some kind of “in”. I hate small talk, so I prefer to meet people through other people, via common interests, through work, through activities like a sorority, etc. I’m just no good at going into completely new situations all by myself and putting myself out there. If I know a couple other people in the area, great, I’ll probably make 20 new friends in no time because of networking and connection. If I’m all alone in a room full of people, sucky…I’ll be the one awkwardly cowering in the corner pretending to do something very important on my phone.
So yea, needless to say meeting new friends in a totally new place has not been the easiest thing ever. Not to mention, I really love my friends back home and I miss them terribly. Sometimes I deal with sadness that I am missing out on so much and I don’t want to put in the effort to reach out to new people because I just want my old friends back (plus, then I can network through them and make a zillion new friends easily haha!). However, I just keep on keeping on and recently I’ve tried some new things like going to meet-up groups or getting more involved in my job.
At least I know I have an awesome support system back home and it makes me appreciate holidays and those times we get to hang out that much more!