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Making Friends in New Places

Remember when you were younger and it was your first day of school? You got dropped off and left in a room full of other kids and a teacher. You had no idea who any of the kids were and totally unsure of your surroundings. Scared. Lonely. Nervous to talk to anyone or even attempt.

Well friends, that is how I felt when my dear student doctor and I moved here. I thought I was good at socializing and making friends. Little did I know, it would be so hard to even just introduce myself, let alone ask someone to hangout sometime! I had a huge pregnant belly and a feisty four year old. I remember the days felt long and I wasn’t even sure where to start in this new journey. I bit the bullet and went to a group that was held for first year spouses. I remember feeling exactly how I did when I was younger, on my first day of school. Who knew a 27 year old could feel that way again?

Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? Someone’s not going to talk to you (unlikely) they will turn their back and talk to someone else (very unlikely) or it will turn into a scene from mean girls, “You can’t sit with us” (SO UNLIKELY). The hardest thing to do when you feel so alone and outcast is to try and speak up.

In the beginning I can’t tell you how many times I would dread going to a social event without my spouse. I would just seek someone else who looked just as nervous as me or intimidated. I felt like making new friends in a new place was like dating. Once I got the courage to just speak up and introduce myself, it got easier and easier every time. Within those first couple of months I kept pushing myself to go to events, groups and play dates. I slowly made a couple of friends here and there and broke out of my shell even more. Even on the days I didn’t want to go to a meet up, I pushed my self to still go.

At this stages in our lives, we all need at least one good friend. One friend to be able to vent to about how hard some days are with our spouse being in med school, one friend to laugh with, one friend to cry with, one friend who will just listen and be there. I encourage you, when you see others who may not have that person, go introduce yourself, go ask how they are doing, like really how they are doing. Take the chance and ask them to go for a walk sometime or just to come over and watch a show or just eat snacks! Something, anything to let them know that they have someone. Or maybe you are the one that is struggling finding someone. My message to you is, don’t stop trying, don’t stop going to events or social groups.

One of the hardest things for me was when I wrote my first post on the Facebook page. All I had said was that I was going to a park with my toddler and anyone could join! I remember the disappointment and failure I felt when no one responded or messaged to say they would join. I still stuck to my word and went to that park, even though I felt a little dumb for posting. I kept thinking, “Man, I must sound really lonely.” But you know what? I didn’t care. I needed to be around people, I wanted a friend.

So every time I would take my toddler to that park, I would post about it. After no responses and questioning every time why I was doing that, a notification popped up. Someone had said they would meet us there! The excitement I felt was so intense I almost forgot to brush my toddlers hair or put shoes on her! That day, I made my first friend.

I still to this day post on the Facebook page whenever I am going for a walk or doing something else. Do people respond? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But in case there is someone out there who is needing a friend, or just to be around someone, I know I’ll be there.

-Theresa Trujillo

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