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Socially Awkward Blogger Desperately Seeking Friend Zone. I Think I’ve Found A Way.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before how difficult it is to make friends as an adult.

On the one hand, I’ve outgrown most – most — of my teenage insecurities. Sometime during my mid-twenties I realized that I was actually in charge of this life inside of me — that I was the one calling the shots. Other people could dial in opinions, of course, but mine were the only ones I actually had to listen to. It was shocking, really, this sudden sense of control. And it was about that time when I figured out that it doesn’t matter if everyone likes me.

Yet on the other hand, I’ve also become more set in my ways. And the less flexible I am as a human creature inhabiting this world that just so happens to be filled with other human creatures, the less likely it is that I’ll find new people willing to tolerate me and my special brand of quirks. If we don’t have the history, you see, what’s nostalgically endearing to old friends might just be strange or obnoxious to you. As a result, and as I’ve gotten a little older and a little less extroverted (being extroverted is exhausting — just try it sometime), some of the ol’ insecurities have started to creep back in.

For example.

A few days ago, I could have made a new friend at Target. I was standing in the Greek yogurt aisle trying to find a brand — any brand — that offered plain yogurt with few-to-no additives and live cultures so I could make cilantro cream sauce for the black bean tostadas I depend on for survival whenever Justin’s out-of-town. I was the new girl, in a new town, in a Target that was laid out bass-ackwards from the Target I used to know and love, and I’d been staring at an entire wall of yogurt for the last five minutes. Realizing I’d dropped the sticky note shopping list I needed to reference in my basket, the exemplary weight of which was resting on the floor at my feet since I’d decided to camp out in yogurt for a while,  I bent over to retrieve it. The little square of yellow paper was wedged between a package of dog bones and a giant box of wooden hangars I’d somehow managed to cram into the space.

So there I was, middle of the refrigerated section, butt up in the air and ham strings protesting as I wriggled and jimmied my fingers into the space where my sticky note had slipped. Unfortunately my good sense never appealed to the more stubborn part of my mind which was then in control to… I don’t know… pull the box of hangars out of the basket or maybe bend my legs.

I heard a slight shuffle and, slightly mortified, my legs bent of their own accord while I turned and noticed I nice looking pregnant girl smiling as she waited for my butt to clear a path to the yogurt. Still squatting over my basket like Gollum and his Precious, I laughed and said, “I’m just looking for my shopping list!”

Precious

She smiled and said, “No problem!” which I apparently read as encouragement to act like an even bigger goober, so I stood and said, “Sorry I was all… you know… butt up in the air,” and instead of giving me the raised eyebrow and walking away (I get that more often than you’d think), she laughed, gesturing to her belly, and said she needed more than the average amount of space to get through. I sensed that she might be looking for an excuse to make a friend too while we stared at the yogurt together for a few minutes and discussed whether Greek yogurt was worth all the hype. I told her about the garlic cilantro sauce, which she said sounded delicious, and then she picked her yogurt and walked away.

And that was it.

I’d missed my window.

could have said, “I’ll email you the recipe” or, “Let me text you the website” or, “PLEASE give me your phone number and I’ll call and call until we’re best friends forever,” but I did none of that. I just let her — and all of our potential postpartum margarita nights — walk out of my life forever.

And, you know, there has to be an easier way for adults to make friends. I mean, the odds of bonding with someone over yogurt again are slim to none at best, and I’ll probably never again have the great opener of “Sorry my butt was in your face,” so where does that leave us?

I propose business cards.

DSC_8344_web_friend

The next time I have a semi-awkward-yet-promising exchange with someone, I want to be able to pull out a business card that says, “Be my friend?” on the front with my name and telephone number on the back, and I want that to be perfectly normal. Like, it’s the thing to do. And she can either hand me her card in return or take mine home, replay the exchange in her head, and decide whether I’m friend worthy enough for a call. And that would take all of the pressure off of finding an excuse to ask for contact information. It’d just be putting it all out there, like Hi! I like you. I think you like me. Here’s my info so we can bond over tapas while bitching about our husbands. Call me! 

(By the way, this post is about to go promotional on you. I just don’t like taking people by surprise. But trust me — it’s still worth the read.)

Unfortunately, I hadn’t yet come up with this brilliant idea when the company Signazon contacted me and asked if I wanted to review one of their products. Considering the fact that I was in the middle of a move, I had no pressing need for window graphics, car advertising, or yard signs (my old neighborhoods snooty Property Owner’s Association didn’t allow those), and somehow a giant banner welcoming ourselves to the new neighborhood seemed wildly inappropriate. Since I already had cards for my freelance business, I decided to order some business cards for the blog. I figured I’d leave them at the tables of restaurants I planned to review or stick them to the back of bathroom stall doors. You know — places people would notice.

DSC_8351_web

I designed my own graphic in Photoshop and uploaded it to Signazon’s super easy design interface for personal business cards. If you want to do a little less work, you can also modify one of the templates they have on file (they have a lot — for professional, personal, contractor, or real estate!), or you can design one from scratch right there on their site. You don’t need a fancy computer program to make professional-looking cards.

They offer different sizes and even the option to round the corners, which I did, because I’m fancy like that.

DSC_8342_web

Their prices are some of the best I’ve seen for business cards, and their website is incredibly straightforward.

My biggest test for any company though is the customer service. When I uploaded my image to their interface, it looked all pixellated. Instead of frustratedly digging through the rest of their site to find their contact information, it was right there at the top of the screen. I could call or do a live chat. I opted to talk to a real person, and within just  a few seconds he was able to view my project using my cart ID at the top of my screen and verify that all was well. He had no idea I was reviewing their site, yet he was incredibly friendly, patient, and not the least condescending.

In a time when it’s nearly impossible to get live customer service, I would order from them again in a heartbeat simply for that reason.

Oh, and check out their Pinterest page — they have a really great board with inspirational signs and tons of eye candy for graphics freaks like myself.

DSC_8344_web

The shipping was super fast, and although next time I’ll change my design a bit by removing the wine bottle all together, they turned out pretty great.

I haven’t decided if I’ll use them yet in an attempt to make friends — I’m not sure my revelations on Domestiphobia are the kind that will make people stand in line to spend time with me, but whatever. People should want to be friends with me for the simple fact that I sometimes paint my nails to match my wine.

photo-38

‘Nuff said.

How do you go about making new friends? Meetups? The internet? Please let me know because it’s been raining for five straight days and I can only have so many conversations with the dogs before we start to get repetitive.

*The business cards were provided by Signazon for my review. All opinions expressed are my own. (Seriously? Would I ever give you anything but?)

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Katie

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Comments

Bex Hall
Reply

Always love reading your mind, I mean thoughts…blog…!

Signazon seems like a great company. Following them on Pinterest now – thank you!

Keep writing!

Katie
Reply

Haha Bex, they’re all one in the same. :) They’re definitely a great company! Phenomenal customer service. I highly recommend!

Dennis Hong
Reply

Ugh, seriously? Why couldn’t you have published this two days sooner? I literally just ordered business cards for my own blog Sunday night….

Katie
Reply

You should’ve known better than to make any major life decisions without talking to me first. Consider this a lesson learned. (And seriously order from them next time – the service is just really spectacular.)

Dennis Hong
Reply

Ha, gotcha. From now on, I’ll consider you my own personal Magic 8-Ball.

anna
Reply

as if your ass in the air wasn’t enough of a greeting card?! Great post Katie! Aisle description terrific.

Katie
Reply

You’d think it would be, right?! :)

Colleen Brynn
Reply

I love this. And I think we are the same person. Extroversion IS exhausting! And I’m becoming a similarly less flexible adult as I go on. I met a nice guy playing a ukelele at a cafe a couple months ago and we’ve sort of kept in touch by email, but… I’ve been too lazy to really go out of my way to hang out with him. I mean, I want to… but then the introversion kicks in and my cat and a bottle of red calls me to stay in. But a similar desire to make a new friend hasn’t completely kiboshed the idea of actually hanging out with him. I sometimes feel like actually making new friends “where you live” can be hard versus say, when you are traveling. Everyone is so transient and impermanent that it is easy to grasp a new friend out of mutual need. Where we live… not everyone shares that same need. And I find North America as a whole to be very much a “where we live” kind of place, unlike Europe or South America where there are tons of backpackers. Or maybe that is just my perspective as a “local”… I’m sure if I went to a hostel somewhere, I’d feel differently. But I am NOT going to be doing that, haha!

Katie
Reply

1. Which one of you was playing ukelele? Love it!
2. I think that’s part of the problem, too. Once you meet people you might want to hang out with, the actual going out is exhausting as well. BUT. Just think. You could be missing the opportunity to make a phenomenal friend. You just have to get past the small talk B.S. first, which I think is what we dread.
3. EXCELLENT point about it being easier to make friends when you travel! And I definitely think there are less travelers – at least per square mile – in North America, so it’s rough. Not to mention when you’re *not* traveling, it’s hard to fit in with people who are. Like not being in the club. :)

laura
Reply

I totally get you…making friends as an adult is very hard. I even found myself telling my husband the other night that it was just “me and him” forever because it is impossible to make true friends anymore. Being an extrovert is exhausting and I am glad I am not alone – especially now that it is Christmas and the mandatory social functions with people you don’t know is upon us.

I find I have to pop 2 advil before social functions and 2 advil after the fact just to keep my head from pounding…only to find that in the stressful process of trying to be sociable that I forgot to touch up my makeup, and in the last few hours I have gone from looking somewhat sane to a scene from a scary movie with my bleeding mascara / racoon eyes and lack of lipstick touch ups… I look like a grave robber. If I had business cards they would say “be my friend – I am not as insane as I look” :)

Katie
Reply

Haha that’s a great motto to put on the cards and would work for me as well. I *did* bond with the women at one of Justin’s work parties once when I went to the bathroom and realized my mouth was completely purple from vigorous red wine consumption. I laughed as I was trying to “brush” my lips and teeth with my finger, and told them I was going to invent something that prevented the dreaded Purple Mouth from happening. They loved it.

I really do think part of what’s exhausting is the “forced social” part – the part where we have meaningless small talk. Maybe we’re just at points in our lives when we’re searching for relationships that are more meaningful. Unfortunately, we have to get through the small talk part before moving on to more interesting conversations. Tell yourself that next time you go to a social event – or just try your best to relax, have fun, and not put so much pressure on yourself. That’s what I’m going to be telling myself at the next party. :)

Frank
Reply

And here I am, planning my business cards when I read this (not even kidding). Well timed.

Katie
Reply

Kismet. :)

Roxanne
Reply

But it is EXACTLY your blog personality that will attract the sort of friend you crave. The friend who will not only bring the wine, but also the matching OPI.

Exhausting or not, get out there! Moving is sucky on any number of fronts, but socially? That is the worst. “They” say it takes 6 months to feel like a new locale is “home” and that has been my experience – things start to look rosier.

At the risk of sounding creepy (which I’m not) – wish I was closer to the Tidewater region (again, which I’m not). I’d meet cha for a coffee and drag along some fun friends to boot.

What you have going for you – besides your super witty repartee – is that you are in an area FULL of transplants; people moving in and out at the speed of light and who are also looking for friends in the aisles of Target. Heck, they are probably even taking a load off and sipping a frappa-something-or-other in the Target Starbucks (it has one, right?)

Keep us posted. Take us along on the friend journey. You’ve got this.

Katie
Reply

Haha I wish you lived down this way, too! That would be way easier than trying. Thanks for the much-needed vote of confidence, and yes, my Target has a Starbucks – maybe I’ll give that a try. ;)

Meg
Reply

This post is spot on. It is so hard to make friends as an adult, especially if you do not have co-workers or kids as a sort of binder. I got very lucky this year and someone who has turned into a good friend basically stalked me until I agreed to hang out. Best decision ever and I am SO grateful she put in the effort. It has made me start putting more effort into making friends. So if I meet someone I think is awesome, I tell them. Sure some people think I am crazy, but I don’t want/need them as friends anyway.

Katie
Reply

Isn’t that funny how that happens? Making friends is exhausting, so it’s awesome when someone puts in the effort, regardless of your level of enthusiasm, and their efforts pan out for both of you. I actually made one of my last friends in NC when I met her at a wine tasting at a restaurant. We chatted for a bit, got along well, so I just said, “Wanna be my friend?” She was like, “Yeah!” And now we are. I wish it could always be that simple. :)

Andi
Reply

The cards a cute. Local coffee shop? Might be some other bloggers there working on posts…

Katie
Reply

I’m thinking the bloggers probably aren’t frequenting Newport News coffee shops as much as San Francisco coffee shops. But that’s just a guess. I should go find out!

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