Awkward to Confident

Making friends can sometimes be a challenge.  I was really good at it in college.  It was a lot easier to make friends in college.  I was single… they were single… I saw them on a regular basis all through out the week whether it was in our apartment complex or in class… and we all lived close to campus, each other, and the movie theater that it was easier to create nights out.

I haven’t found it as easy making friends outside of the college realm.  True, it’s been easy to make friends at work (especially since I see them many times through out the week), but there is a different set-up to making friends out in the “real world” where people have different schedules, children and husbands need to be taken into consideration, and not everyone lives just a couple doors down.  This means that I see people maybe once a week at church, and less if they are not of the same faith.  And I don’t always get to talk to them when I do seem them.  I get so busy sometimes between my two jobs (I picked up a second job babysitting a little boy in the branch on my days off from my first job… He is such a funny kid!), housework, trying to learn how to cook complete meals, spending time with my husband, and fitting in some much needed alone time, I find it very easy to miss oppurtunites to make oppurtunities to get together with people.

Everyone here in Ithaca is really nice.  The branch is fantastic.  But many times when I talk to some of these women that I really want to be friends with, I feel like I’m in middle school again trying to talk to a boy I have a crush on and just come out awkward.  You remember that feeling?  That’s the type of feeling I get.  I think my ADHD and Dyslexia have a large influence as well.  I already say things wrong or get focused on a different aspect of the conversation that everyone else has taken and feel like I completely break the flow of conversation.

I was looking back to how good it was my last couple years of college, especially the summer before Xan and I got married.  I had made some awesome friends.  I hope we’ve all had that group of friends that everything just fit.  If you have, then you know the euphoric feeling it can create.  Why did I feel so at ease with all of them?  Answer:  BECAUSE I DIDN’T CARE WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF ME.  I mean, I had just gotten engaged, I was graduating in a few months, and then Xan and I were going to get married and move out of the country.  It made me not care what the guys thought of me because I was no longer trying to impress them for dates and if I didn’t get along with any of the gals, Oh well because I’m leaving soon anyway.  I felt CONFIDENT and that people liked me for me.

Ah!  The solution to my problem.  If I stopped paying so much attention to whether people like me or not then I’ll stop acting like an awkward 14-year-old, or feeling like I do, and start acting like me.  That raises the question, “How do you stop thinking about what other people think of you.”  The answer? 

SERVICE!

That is the best way to make friends.  Whether it is sincerely giving them a compliment, focusing on them in a conversation and then remembering the things they mentioned (I’m really bad at that last part), going over to their apartment to hold their baby while they get some of their own alone time, or any other act of service, I conclude that service is the best way to forget yourself and find yourself in the process.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Awkward to Confident

  1. Merry

    I have felt this way!!! When Dave and I first moved into our current ward (a family ward) there was this really nice couple that we met. Crystal is maybe a year older than me, and her husband is maybe a year older than her, so they were close to our age. I thought that she would make a great new friend, and tried to talk to her at every opportunity. But she wasn’t having any of it. She was pregnant, and I think she was just concentrating on her own family, nesting, etc. So, I still haven’t made any new friends since I got married. But we do still occasionally hang out with old friends. We just have to drive to Provo or SLC to do that, which can sometimes be a pain.

  2. I am proud of you for trying to reach out and make new friends (as scary and intimidating as it can be). I know sometimes it’s easier to isolate… but it’s so lonely : (

    Service IS a great way to reach out, and I am glad you are doing that!

    I hope things get easier for you! Moving far away to a new city and state is tough but also exciting and you are a FUN girl with a AMAZING personality! I don’t know anyone who WOULDN’T want to be your friend!! You have SO much to offer!

    I love you and miss you a ton!!!!!!!!

  3. yostkm

    The baby holding service is much appreciated. And you can definitely count Josh and I as you friend in Ithaca.

    • Ashley Bybee Stepp

      Thanks, Kim! I consider both you and Josh close enough friends that I know if I ever do have awkward moments, you’ll look past them cause you know I probably didn’t mean what I said but simply said it wrong. LOL!

  4. Sara

    I totally agree. I was just talking to my hubby about this very issue this week. I have really struggled to make friends as an adult. Your idea about service is right on though. Thank you for your timely suggestion!

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