Sunday, January 27, 2013

Making Friends

As a pre-teen, I remember going to a book fair once with my mother, told her I wanted the book "Making Friends" by Andrew Matthews, and I stood in line for the author to sign it. I spelled my name out loud, alphabet by alphabet. Growing up, I could hardly count with one hand the number of classmates I spoke to in Primary school, and felt alone right through Secondary school. My usual routine involved going to school, being sulky and quiet, seeking my sister during recess time, then taking the bus or walking home with her. Even with after-school activities, I was usually out of the school a.s.a.p. To my memory, I only had one classmate come over for one afternoon, to work on a science project. And then never again. Never had a birthday party, too.

Did I read the book? I remember admiring the illustrations more than its content, but that's just the way I am. It must have helped in some way. There was always homework, cleaning, the dishes, or some idle drawing I had to do, too.

Things changed when my sister left our school after the 'O' levels (she is a year older than me). Left to my own devices, I had to seek new company. Long story short, I ended Secondary school with a handful of friends, although they were obviously the ones that sat in my corner of the classroom. University was quite a different story, yet similar in its small group size.

  26.Jan.11 my-social-network

One day last year two years ago, I got to reflecting on how being in Switzerland had widened my social circle. I did not have a job, yet to The Hubs, I was busier than he was with lunches and activities* -- a far cry from my years in Singapore and the US. Ask me now how I meet people and have friends while in a "foreign country" (foreign being non-English-speaking), and my answer is simple: language classes. Also, we all had something in common, and that was being foreign.

The internet was, and is of immense help, too. It is a life-saver for us introvert types.

As I prepare myself to face another chapter in the States, I find myself extending my little cyber feelers. While there may be no "obligatory" language courses to seek out and attend, I am thankful for interest groups. I'll just have to get past my irrational fear for driving**, remember to turn up, and keep the conversation going with more than a 'Yes' or 'No' answer. Or do I need a book for that too?

What was it like growing up, and how do you continue to make friends?


* Not many many, but relatively lot more than before.
** As long as I get past this, the Garden State is my oyster.

6 comments:

  1. My sister and I were only in the same school during primary years, and her being 5 years older, I only saw her in school for a year or two... and we were never friends :D Teachers would call her after I scraped and wounded myself from playing during recess. So, I think it's nice that you spent time with your sis in school. Classmates changed every year, so I pretty much changed "friends" every year too, until the end of what you refer as O Levels, which is when I made a couple of friends I still am friends with today. But I think you are doing a really great job at making friends now! I still have very few real friends, and several from university are no longer close because their outlook on life has moved further and further from mine... so much that I no longer enjoy their company. Well, I hope to make a few more friends this year. If I gain one or two close friends, I would consider that a success for me :D

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  2. Hi Juanita! You are my only blog friend who recognized Bread Talk's cheese floss. Haha I believe Bread Talk originally came from your homeland.

    I think we share one thing in common. I also don't have that much friends. In fact, I remember myself as a loner in my early years of schooling. It wasn't a big deal except when I was growing up and everyone was having their own happy groups.

    Building my network of friends is also my struggle. I don't have that extensive network too and up to this date, I'm even battling this weakness.

    Sending you all the best for your relocation in US. I'm sure you will make a lot friends and memories in a new land.

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  3. Cute post! :) I only have a handful of real-life friends too, and most of them live far away (hehe "long distance" seems to be my thing!)... and in my childhood and young years I've always had just a few friends -- I'm the introvert type too! (we are not very typical Libras, are we??) The internet has been a lovely way to "meet" like-minded people and even kindred souls, and lovely friends I'm going to meet in real life some day!!! Glad to have met YOU, Juanita! :D Have a lovely Sunday!

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  4. yay for the internet! personally, though still being in highschool I tend to make friends in all the outside activities I do - art classes chief amongst them :)

    I love your blog header, btw :)

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  5. You and I had a simular experience at school, up until I was 13 I didn't talk to anyone I met one girl at 13 who I am still friends with today. I didnt know that I was an introvert until recent years. I dont mind it though as a result those friendships I do have mean more to me and are deeper as a result :) The internet has made a huge difference to how I view friends and have a bigger social circle than ever (though still not that big). Having said that when I get well and can get out again I would like to meet more crafty types in real life.

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  6. Your car will be your wings, my dear! May you fly!

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