My husband and I have lived in four towns together and have never made lasting friendships. We’ve never had people that we hang out with together.
Why is that??
For a long time, years, in fact, we assumed it was because I am a little anti-social due to (what I’ve now come to acknowledge and accept) my social anxiety. When I meet new people, it’s really hard for me to keep the conversation going. I never know what to say or what to talk about. Too often I have found out after meeting new people that I said something offensive or did something wrong. Sure, sometimes I get nervous and just spew out the first thing that comes to mind so I can at least add something to the conversation, but other times I haven’t a clue what I said wrong. I love meeting the types of people who are super social and can’t stop talking because it takes the pressure off of me to figure things out.
We lived in two fairly similar towns in Illinois and now have lived in two very different towns in Idaho; Rexburg and Pocatello. Moving to Rexburg, we knew we might not fit in perfectly because our beliefs don’t align with the 99% majority there. At the same time, however, we thought maybe we’d fit right in because we have strong moral and family values. My husband is Catholic and I am a non-denominational Christian. But in Rexburg, we were outcasts. A few neighbors were extremely kind and welcoming but with an obvious agenda and many other neighbors were just plain disgusting to us. Overall, Rexburg was a hard town to fit into.
Eventually, we landed a home in Pocatello and the town seemed more our speed. Right away I observed it is a very eclectic area. There are some areas that remind us a bit of Chicagoland, which isn’t really a good thing. Our neighbors are pretty great though. My husband promptly met every surrounding neighbor of ours and initiated conversations with them. He is really great at meeting new people. My husband is able to put himself out there repeatedly while trying to make friends. Sadly, he often gets the reverse effect from what he’s looking for. He can come off as pushy if the person doesn’t want to talk to him because he’ll just keep trying his hardest. He must have been taught to “kill ‘em with kindness,” because he just doesn’t quit. He also tends to pick the exact wrong people to try to be friends with. Over the years, he has learned that I am always right when I tell him not to make friends with certain people. He is very accepting of people and has zero radar for the ones to avoid. Some of them just aren’t good people and we didn’t need that in our lives. He learns the hard way. By now, you might understand why we got married. I need someone like him. When he was asking me out, he just wouldn’t quit until I agreed. Anyway, even here in Pocatello, we have had issues with people not liking us. One neighbor won’t even allow her kids to come near us. It makes us really sad because our toddler loves playing with her son and he seems to love playing with ours.
What are we doing wrong?
I know my husband can be a lot and I’ll admit I don’t push myself out enough to meet new people. I don’t want to force things; I just want friendships to develop naturally. Perhaps because we have moved towns nearly every year since we met, we weren’t ever able to establish lasting relationships. But now we will be living here for many years. We just want a group of friends we can do things with. People who are chill enough to play Cards Against Humanity together while the kids play elsewhere. The ladies from EIM have been so welcoming and conversational which is exactly what I needed to convince me to stay in Idaho.