If you were a little girl scout growing up you know the song. It sings of silver and gold, circles that never end, and friends forever. It’s a wonderful creed to live by, and one I seemed to do well at. . . until I moved to New York.
It’s not that I haven’t tried. And I have made a couple new friends, but they are the people I work with. With how much we are around each other I would hope we would become friends, if not, I don’t think the job would work out! My husband and I have also been fortunate enough to know a couple people from the past that happen to live in the city. Some have been people we had kept in touch with before, some were rekindling of old relationships, but either way, the friendship is there. But new friends, the kind that you just happen to meet at the gym or in a coffee shop, were something I was really looking forward to.
The first sign that making new friends was not going to be as easy as it had been in Utah came the first time I went to the gym. I joined a gym down the street from our place largely in the hopes that I would meet like minded people there who would be interested in getting together outside of the gym. I picked a some classes, and for the first couple weeks I went at least 10min early. I would go into the room and just sit myself among the women who were chatting away. The first class nobody seemed to even take notice at first, even after a, ‘good morning’. Not being a shy one, I eventually found a spot where I could interject an introduction. I mentioned that I had just moved here (the response of which I am used to hearing/giving in Utah is, ‘oh where from?’/how do you like it here/etc). I got – nothing. First day of class, I’m the weird new person, it’s ok, it will get better. That class didn’t.
Yoga was a bit harder to just open my mouth as you come early to class to do a little meditation. Still, I figured that with enough time I could start a conversation with someone after class, or that someone might notice I’m new and ask me where I was from or if I was new. What I got, rather, was people being in such a hurry to leave that there was clearly no time for conversation.
My husband and I discussed this and laughed a bit. We joked that it was a good thing we were just in our first year of marriage and still liked hanging out together all the time. But as time has worn on and we approach our six month mark, we have openly wondered what it is that makes making friends so hard. Perhaps it is just that we are odd. We love hosting parties and making people dinner (which is apparently not normal here) and we love having new people over and making people feel comfortable and welcome into our life. New York is not like that.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying New York people are mean. Quite on the contrary. Everyone I have met has been nice, cordial, friendly – but there’s a line. People will smile back, say hello (when prompted), but you can tell there is nothing else there. They have their life and there is no need to add other things to it. It’s something that I just do not connect with.
While I may not be meeting any New Yorkers to add to my friend circle, I am still blessed to have all those that I do. The closest ones may not be in New York with me, but that just means I can work on rekindling and strengthening relationships with former friends (or new ones via my husband). And perhaps one day I’ll get a New Yorker into my circles of silver and gold.