I consider myself a social person. I love people. I love hearing their stories and getting to know them. My friends are incredibly important to me and I work at maintaining friendships over many years and thousands of miles.
When we arrived in the land of potatoes and dairy I was looking forward to meeting new people, to becoming involved in the community and to laying down roots. I just KNEW we would become friends with our neighbors because that is how it has always been. That didn't happen. NOT. AT. ALL.
I was disappointed but I had high hopes for forging new relationships. I was trying to set a good example for my children-showing them that you have to put yourself out there and be open to new people and experiences. I've always been friendly and a team player at work and have developed tight knit relationships with some of those people. Now I have one co-worker. She is nice and we can hang out for a few days of training but we are not friends.
I got desperate and went online to find a mom's group. I came up with all kinds of reasons NOT to go--my kids are older, the group has probably all been together for a long time, I work and can't go to many of the events and on and on. Luckily my desperation was greater than the voices in my head and I walked in to a room full of strangers. I feel incredibly fortunate to have met such a welcoming, supportive, diverse group of women. Our husbands are becoming friends, our children are friends.
But that doesn't mean I don't feel left out sometimes. In an effort to become involved at our new school I went to a PTA meeting. The ONLY person who introduced herself was the president-and only after I introduced myself and did my "we're new here" spiel. It was beyond obvious that everyone else knew each other. I was annoyed but whatever.
I ended up volunteering for Room Parent since my daughter's class didn't have one. As we say in the midwest, it's not my first rodeo. I emailed the teacher to find out what she wanted to do for the Halloween party. I've worked with some teachers who are of the "this is what we eat, and these are the games we play and this is EXACTLY how I want it done" group. I've helped other teachers who are of the "do whatever you want, it's 45 minutes I don't have to be in charge" group. I am more than happy to accommodate their wishes.
She had everything planned and was going to provide snacks but I convinced her to let us handle that. I emailed and called a few names I had been given to help out and coordinated the snacks, cups, etc. When I showed up for the party, two moms had organized the children into different groups and were playing games. I am far from a control freak and am thrilled to see parent involvement but I felt out of the loop. I didn't belong. I was the awkward kid who doesn't know anyone but did what the teacher said and brought orange juice. Meanwhile the cool kids brought candy and games and new everyone's names.
I introduced myself and chatted with them but it was clear they are friends.
I felt left out and it sucked.
Have you ever felt left out as an adult? What do you do?