Make new friends, but keep the old – 1.
I’m not a brave person – in meeting new people. I don’t really enjoy it, although once I get to know someone I’m fine. It’s the initial, “I want you to meet so and so” that scares me. My sister has a million friends, and I was very cautious about getting close to anyone – ever. I usually only had one good/best friend at a time, and we’d hang out with each other until both of us were so sick of the other there had to be a break. I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about living here with no girlfriends, and wanted to write about it. Maybe it will help me get past this fear.
I think it stems from when I was 8. Up to that point, I had lived a pretty ideal little life. We had moved once that I could remember, and being only 5 it didn’t really matter. I started first grade in a small town in New Jersey, where I had also been born. I wouldn’t say I was popular (because really, at age 6 who is?) but I had a lot of friends and loved my school.
One morning my brother, sister and I were watching cartoons and my mom and dad came in. They turned the TV off and explained that we were moving. I remember they were sad and answered all of our questions as best they could. My dad had found a new job in Colorado and we needed to leave, because summer was coming. I wasn’t going to be able to finish my 3rd grade year there, but almost. A girl in my class threw a surprise going away party for me and everyone in my Girl Scout troop gave me a gift and card.
I don’t remember much after that. I do recall him going first – driving out and taking my two parakeets with him. I also remember my last day. I spent it at E’s house playing. I knew she was sad and I was too, but I really didn’t know how to tell her that. I just wanted the day to be over so I could stop feeling so upset. My mom called for us to say goodbye because we were leaving, so I hopped off her tire swing, shouted, “Bye!” as she walked towards me, and got in the car. Mom turned around with this look on her face of, “That’s it?” and said gently, “Don’t you want to go talk to her?” I shook my head and didn’t go back. Later on down the road I cried and cried about never being able to see her again. I have always felt bad about leaving like that.
The memory of that is still so painful I can’t even write this without crying – 18 years later.
When someone says it in the most sullen, uninviting tone ever, your response should be, “No thanks.” But I was so desperate for a friend I agreed and ran home to get my things. I spent most of the night being ignored by girls I didn’t know. I was so shy I couldn’t talk to any of them, and Christy pretended she barely knew me.
That same year I was placed in Gifted and Talented, which meant for part of my day I would leave my class and go to a different one to learn other things. I didn’t like that. It made me stand out and I had to readjust to another class with new kids. Somehow my parents found out I was eligible to test to enter a private school for gifted kids. I know they were excited, and looking back I should have been too, but all I could think of was if I passed the test, I’d have to be in a new school again. So I purposefully flunked it.