Making Friends…A Lost Art?

After attending BlissDom I am reevaluating who I am.

“Huh?” You might be thinking.

It’s interesting.  I’ve always thought of myself as an extrovert.  In job interviews I would confess I’m a people person.  It’s true.  I love people.

When I look back on my life, I recall a turning point.  Speech class in 8th grade opened up a new side of me.  I don’t remember if I chose to take the class or if it was required.  All I know is I was much more reserved before taking speech.  I learned I enjoyed speaking in front of a group of people.  I think this new found knowledge contributed to me gaining more confidence in who I am.  In a way, I think I was more of an introvert before taking Speech.  I didn’t have lots of friends but would have a handful of really close friends.  I was fine with this.  I can’t say after 8th grade I became the most popular girl in school.  That is definitely not what I’m saying.  I was just more open to talking to people and making friends.

Let me fast forward to present day.  On the first leg of my flight home from Nashville {where BlissDom is held} on Sunday I sat next to Melanie Nelson.  She was the speaker for the session I attended titled “3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Grow Your Facebook Fan Page.”  I was so excited to find out she lives in the same state as me {about 2 hours away.}  Melanie is very genuine and kind.  She has a book about Facebook coming soon.  We talked about so many different subjects.  One subject in particular has prompted this post.  Funny thing is it has nothing to do with Facebook, my blog, or anything relating to social media {even though we did discuss these topics.}  I was sharing with her how mentally drained I was from the conference.  She asked, “Are you an extrovert or an introvert?”  I was kind of surprised she asked me this question and paused before answering.  “I’ve always looked at myself as an extrovert,” I replied.  She explained to me the difference between extroverts and introverts.  I will summarize what she said: extroverts are people who become energized after being around lots of people.  When introverts are around a lot of people they are not energized.  Instead, introverts feel as though energy is taken away from them.

This made me think.  Am I an extrovert?  I do have instances when I feel energized after being around a lot of people.  Usually this happens when I’m around people I trust or I feel comfortable being with.

There were about 700 bloggers at BlissDom.  The friends I made last year at BlissDom did not attend this year.  So in a way, it was like I was new again.  There were a few girls I friended on Instagram I knew were attending and hoped to meet them.  There were a few other friends I made on Twitter I was hoping to meet as well, but again, I had not met them in real life.  Otherwise, I was going into a conference without truly knowing anyone. “That’s okay, I’m a people person.  I’ll make new friends, ” I thought.

I now need to add another aspect to this scenario of thoughts.  I have written about this before, but it is a very sensitive matter.  I don’t have a handful of close friends anymore.  I’ve lived in the same place now for 5 years and don’t have any real close friends.  There are 3 girls I really connected {consider good friends} with who have moved away.  However, living here has made me less confident in my friendship making skills.  Don’t get me wrong, I have friends/acquaintances who are kind and talk to me when I’m out and about.  It’s just not the same.  The upside of this has given me an opportunity to be closer to my kids and immediate family.

Back to the conference…I left feeling drained.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it tremendously.  There were many instances in which I felt uncomfortable, though.  It was usually in the evening and I would end up sitting by myself.  Fortunately, I would eventually find someone I had met and try to mingle.  I just don’t like social situations like this.  I never have.  So maybe I’m not an extrovert?  Or is it possible to be an extrovert and turn introvert?  Or in my case, introvert turned extrovert turned introvert…???  I don’t know, maybe I don’t have to label myself.  It’s just a little weird.  You know me, analytical Shan.  Hey, I come by it honestly being my parents are both Social Workers. {Love you Mom & Dad!}

I also began to think about how social media has impacted having real life friends versus virtual ones.  How often are you getting together with real friends and talking to them face to face?  Has Facebook and other sites like it cut down on our real life interactions with people?  Honestly, for me, because of my predicament and where I live, I don’t think I would be a very happy person without social media.  This blog, it’s Facebook page, my personal Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter help me to feel connected with people.  I could get really lonely living in this little town without hearing from you.  It is what it is.  My 3 kids are at school during the day.  At some point during that time period I would like to have interaction with another person who is not the checker at Wal-Mart.  But stop and think a minute…if you do have at least one good friend to confide in about whatever.  Please be grateful.  Friendship is so precious.  Get together with your friends, go to lunch, hang out, play a game.

Julie & Me

Speaking of friends, I did run into an elementary school friend who was there working at a vendor/sponsor booth.  It was fun to catch up with and see her again.  We had lost touch completely.  Good to see you again, Julie! 🙂

Me & Jenna

Bernice & Me

I am grateful for each and every one of the friends I made at BlissDom.  I finally met my Twitter friends Bernice of Living the Balanced Life & The Stressed Mom, Alicia of Confessions of a Snowflake {Wish we got a photo together, Alicia} and Jenna from Made More Beautiful.  All are beautiful women inside and out.

Me & Melissa

Melissa from Overwhelmed by His Blessings is my lovely fellow photographer/Instagram friend.  I wish she & I were able to spend more time together.  She was on the photo booth staff and had to work the whole conference.  I am very happy we met at the Photo Walk which was held first thing on Thursday.  {I’m really not taller than her.  I was on the step above her ;)}

Rachelle, Jean & Me

Friday Night I met two adorably creative girls at The Lorax Party: Jean from The Artful Parent and Rachelle from Tinkerlab.  They were kind enough to let me crash their photo after just meeting me since I was alone.  I am super excited to get to know them more on their blogs.  I am sure I can learn a lot of fun crafty stuff from them.  Love that!!

Saturday I met and had a wonderful conversation with Amy from Amy Volk.  She is darling and has a good listening ear.  We ended up talking about all kinds of stuff and have much in common.  She said she writes about simplifying our lives and organization…sounds pretty good to me!

I also met a girl who is living the life I once dreamed of in New York City.  Heather not only is an editor for Parents magazine, but has her own blog at High Chair Times where she writes about her adventures of feeding her Son.  I learned a lot talking to her and highly enjoyed her company at Girls Night In on Saturday night.  Heather & I also met Sara, talented technology guru of Technology for Moms.  Sara is a fun-loving character of a girl.  She and I laughed the night away {completely sober, btw ;)} while watching Paula Deen jump up and down on her trampoline on Oprah’s new show Oprah’s Next Chapter.

Last but not least, I met the awesome Megan Tietz from Sorta Crunchy.  I began ‘following’ her on Instagram not long before BlissDom.  We didn’t meet until after the conference was over on Sunday at the airport.  I was a little embarrassed because I was without makeup.  {had about 4 hours of sleep}  My flight left at 6:55 AM, so I was NOT putting on makeup.  Anyway, not the best first impression.  Fortunately, she seemed to like me alright despite the pale face. {Thank you, Megan ;)}  Megan & I sat next to each other on the 2nd leg of my flight.  Talking to both Melanie and Megan helped the flights buzz by.  Even better, they are from the state I live in!  I love that!  I look forward to possibly seeing both of them in the near future.

Even though I may not see all of these women in real life every day; I have the opportunity to visit them online.  Our BlissDom experience will be a special memory for me.

Hopefully the above mentioned women would say I haven’t lost my friend making skills. 😉  ???

Friends Bring JOY,

Comments

  1. Oh, I could have talked to you for a whole extra hour about personality issues! I am such a personality types geek. I love to explore the different aspects of the ways God has created us to be so unique, but to share so much in common with others.

    I’m an extrovert in that I am energized by being around others, but I also can feel awkward in social settings where I don’t know people very well. I much prefer a small group sharing dinner to a loud party. (Was it just me or was there a lot of LOUD in the evenings?!) Blissdom left me feeling quite recharged but I definitely still need some time to process everything. It’s a LOT to take in.

    I know completely and totally what you mean about living in a small town and how hard it is to make CLOSE friendships. Where we live, the people are all very friendly, but it’s sometimes hard to build close friendships because everyone else here has grown up together. Moving into a small town has its own unique set of challenges, especially for adults, I think.

    The time we got to spend chatting on the way home was such a blessing to me. And I have to say, if I had skin that looked as beautiful as yours without make-up, I would NEVER wear it. I am not just saying that. Truly. Your skin is gorgeous.

    Thanks for sharing some of your Blissdom thoughts. It’s so fascinating to me to hear what other people thought, felt, and experienced there!
    Megan at SortaCrunchy recently posted..Your Green Resource – Week Twenty-Three

    • Megan, what an honor it was to meet you. I’ve had a chance to read through some of your blog posts and you are a very good writer. Anyone could see that from what you wrote above. Thank you for your kindness. I am completely and utterly shocked you think my skin is gorgeous. I suffer from adult acne and never would think anyone would say that. {told you I use the word “that” too often ;)} Isn’t it awesome how we are all so unique, but share some commonalities? Happy you stopped by and left this big hug of a comment, my friend.

  2. It was so great to meet you, Shan! And trust me, you don’t have to label yourself “introvert” OR “extrovert”. I think we all flow in and out of those roles as needed. I enjoyed chatting with you on the way home. 🙂
    Melanie Nelson recently posted..What Do Bloggers Need to Claim for Taxes?

    • Melanie, I truly hope you did not think I was being negative in any way about what you said. It was just food for thought. You are right, I believe we can flow in and out of these roles…especially when you are female…LOL! Thank you for all of your wonderful advice and listening ear on the plane. 😀

  3. Im so glad we got to meet and get a picture! Your recap is so full and gives me a lot to think about too! *HUG*
    Frelle recently posted..Sharing a Proud Mommy Moment at The Kir Corner

  4. That is the bittersweet thing about these awesome conferences! We get to actually meet people, but then only see them for a few days! I wish we’d had more time to chat! Glad we got a pic though!
    Bernice @ Living the Balanced Life recently posted..I can do anything I want, if only I knew what that was

    • I know! I wanted to get more info from you. I adore your blog about balancing life and now you have another blog. You are definitely doing something right, my friend. I’ll email you sometime with a few questions. 😉 Glad to have a photo with you. Talk to you soon.

  5. Interesting post. I still think you are an extrovert:)
    Love u!

    • I can’t believe you commented! I’m sure you do, compared to you 😉 Hey opposites attract…love you too Dearest Husband.

  6. What a thoughtful and full post! I typically am energized when around others for sure. Remember I even told you I think I get more done at home when my kids are home rather than at school 🙂 I think adult friendship for women is one of the greatest issues many of us face, despite social media. Many women move more frequently and further away from families and their roots now more than ever historically. We leave behind memories, family, and most of the friendships that were formed with the key investment of face-to-face TIME. College provides a framework of shared experience and available time to create relationships. Women in the work-place have the ability to share information, emotions, and life events through regular interactions and similarities created through their job. It seems for me, the art of raising children and being a help-mate in our readily changing world is difficult. I thoroughly loved MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) as it provided both the time and shared life experiences needed to foster the development of friendships with other women. Some of my closest adult friends came from that ministry. After “graduating” from MOPS and moving to a smaller town, a vacuum was created of little structured time or shared experience opportunities for this to happen. I made a few friends while living where you are but I think your town has some other unique qualities that make this difficult as well (15,000 population, generally under-educated, few/no community planned events, few “newcomers”, I could go on…) that hamper friendship building. Having moved to a larger community, I enjoy my anonymity yet still am aware of the need to be intentional to plan lunch/coffee with women I meet and connect with. We simply do not have the natural face-to-face time to create friendships so as adults, this sounds sad, but we have to schedule the time to invest in our adult relationships outside of our family. I enjoy FB to keep up with what is happening in my friends’ lives now that I live far away, yet those relationship do not become deeper or more meaningful through social media in my opinion. It is the race weekend, or this conference, or planned girls nights/days that sustain and nurture our friendships today in my opinion. I feel for you girl living there 🙂 I felt lost and alone and relied heavily on my husband and kids. As you know, I regularly traveled to visit my close friends in other parts of the state as well because we needed that connection that a computer and even a phone lack. I encourage you to continue to seek women out that you feel you have a connection with and schedule a time for lunch or a shopping trip out of town (of course :). I loved book club and volunteering at my kids school to create more connections as well. Maybe hitting the road every once in awhile to re-connect with girlfriends that you can just relax, laugh, and be whoever you are with (who knows about the whole intro-extro thing!) would be more fulfilling than draining? Okay, or maybe a plane in my case 🙂 Just my two-cents…this is THE longest reply I’ve ever had!!! My apologies to your readers. I don’t blog and this lengthy “comment” is probably why!

    • I was totally cracking up while reading your comment, Monica. I was laughing because you so need a blog! You have so much to say and I enjoy your intellectual side. 😉 I know you understand more than most how things are here. I, too, attended MOPS when my kids were younger and enjoyed the interaction with other Moms going through the same things in life. No need to apologize, girlfriend. Love you!

  7. Monica and I think alike — she has summed up my thoughts very well. Lots of phases of life with different expectations and demands which impact friendships. Without doubt social-media impacts this too. I love staying connected to friends from all the different places we’ve lived. Many of the friendships don’t have the same depth as the ones from college & mission days [living together 24/7 -:)]but they are still valued friendships…. like yours!

  8. That is so neat that you and Julie went to HS together! I adore her.
    I enjoyed meeting you at Blissdom and I think some of my favorite moments were from the photowalk – that was such a great experience.

    It’s so interesting to think about the differences between extroverts and introverts, I would definitely consider myself an extrovert – I love being around people and thrive on it, however after coming home – I’m definitely wiped.
    This is such a lovely post, Shan – thank you so much for sharing it!
    Rachel – A Southern Fairytale recently posted..Blissfully Wordless

    • Rachel, you know Julie?! I loved the photo walk too! I am very grateful to have met you. Thank you Melissa for introducing us. I enjoy your blog {shocked & pleasantly surprised to see you comment}and thank you for sharing your thoughts here. Your words mean a lot to me. Thank you. 😀

  9. WONDERFUL read! I am soooo proud of you!!! I believe you are, & always have been, an introvert by the appropriate definition Melanie shared with you. I was surprised to learn that about myself many years ago because I love to be around groups of people, but I reach a point that I’ve got to get the heck out of Dodge so I can recoup my energies . . . it made so much sense to me!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip & I’m certain you’ve NOT lost any friend making skills but instead have added to them! You are, & always have been, a good hearted person! I LOVE YOU! My BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER! Look forward to seeing you soon!! 🙂

    • DAD! This is a red letter DAY to have both my husband and Dad comment on my blog! Wow! Talk about bringing a smile to a Daughter’s face…this one had a big one. Thank you millions for this! I love you! Hope our family can enjoy being together as much as possible during Spring Break since our time together is very precious. Looking forward to our trip!

  10. I’ve decided that we need to be best friends. 😀
    Sarah Kimmel {Tech4Moms} recently posted..USB Outlet Review

    • Too bad you live 4 states over! 🙁 Boy wouldn’t we have a blast!? LOL I just shared your very sweet story of how you and your hubby met, engagement and all with my 16 year old. She smiled. 🙂

  11. Oh Shan! What a delightful girl you are! If I were at Blissdom I would have for sure seeked you out! I am sitting here wondering which one I am! I have a group of girlfriends who meet for coffee every Wednesday morning after the drop off. I value them so much. When, for whatever reason we aren’t feeling social and decide to miss a day, we call it being in our cave and often we don’t have to say anything more than that. “I’m in my cave.” All that to say, I think I might be both…it just has to depend on the day or situation. And, what adorable photos of you – you look so happy and stylish! As I said in my tweet earlier, I so love that blue dress! Yahoo! Have a wonderful evening!
    Jen DZ recently posted..L.A. or Bust!

    • I love your Mom group after drop off. Problem here, I usually drop off my Daughter in the morning in my jammies…lol. No, if there was a group like that here I would put real clothes on. 😉 I wouldn’t promise I would look super great, being the non-morning person I am, but I would go. {Even though I’m not a coffee drinker…no worries, they usually sell other drinks too.} I’m pretty sure I have come to the conclusion us women and our hormones make it difficult to say if we are an introvert or extrovert. You are sweet with your comments on my outfits. I did take this conference as an opportunity to dress up rather than down. I dress casual most days of the week so I thought it would be fun to play ‘dress up!’ The blue dress was on sale {bonus} at Stage for $19! It is my style all the way. Thank you for noticing and complimenting. Can’t wait to read your post about L.A.

  12. What a special day. I really opened myself up in this post and it was somewhat scary for me to hit the publish button. Your feedback has been incredible and I feel blessed beyond measure. 😀

  13. You have done so much and you have done a great job !
    Cindy recently posted..Not sleeping well – apply feng shui

  14. Nice information on your site thank you,

  15. Important tips in this post that we should understand if making friends is a lost art. This article would be a huge help. Thanks for sharing this one out.
    fitoru.com recently posted..The 4 Stages of Wound Healing: How Amino Acids Can Accelerate Wound Repair

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