I think I'm afraid of girls.

Before I explain, a plug for a girl I'm not afraid of: Tia, my niece. She is certainly one of the most elegant, intelligent, articulate females I know. Seriously. And now she has an etsy shop. So, go here. And buy a thing, if you like. Pretty stuff, no?

Also, my sister just found out she's having a baby girl. I'm not afraid of that girl either. (Although, I think my sister might be. She had her heart set on a family of boys.)

Anyway, this one time, last year, I was in the Dallas airport having some lunch and waiting for a plane. I was by myself and therefore earnestly eavesdropping on the phone conversation 9f the girl next to me. This girl was telling someone (a girlfriend), in perfect detail, the events of her evening the night before. I mean, this was thorough reporting. Something about noisy roommates and moving boxes. I don't really remember. But I do remember how it felt to follow her conversation. And how I thought, wow, someone is really willing to listen to that girl. It wasn't her mom or her boyfriend or her sister or her anyone. Just, it would seem, her friend. And it made me sad. Really really sad. And baffled. I could not remember for the life of me what that felt like.

In other moments in my life, I've been supremely blessed in the girlfriend department. I have a dear and loyal friend from high school in San Diego that I still see and talk to. (Hi Arin.) And my group of friends in high school in Utah is still close and wonderful. (Hi Genev, Eden, Kathy, Tara, Heathers, etc.) And I had some of the most funny, delightful, dear roommates (Hi Emmer, Amanda), and I went on two study abroad with some of the most fascinating, amazing women on the planet (too many to name, but no less important, you know who you are.).

But then I moved to Mississippi. I recall being afraid of moving there, afraid I wouldn't make any friends, afraid I'd just be lonely. And don't get me wrong, I got some incredible deals from those three years: a PhD, a husband who really is my dearest friend. But as far as girlfriends go, the type that live nearby and will listen to stories about moving boxes, those were lacking. Not for lack of trying on my part. I made two, actually. And both of those relationships exploded in these really shocking, weird, painful ways. Other than those two, I tried to go to church activities and talk to people at school and gather people for lunch once a week. But still, really, nothing. Those were hands down the loneliest, most socially painful years of my life. Just ask the shrink AND psychiatrist I managed to need while I was down there.

You know what I mean, right? It's not like I don't have people to love and talk to. A husband is a husband and they are wonderful creatures. I appreciate mine more every day. And I love you people, my friends that are far away. I talk to my mom almost every day, and my sisters quite often. But you still just need girlfriends, don't you? Close ones. That you can call when little stuff happens. Whose couch you can sit on, who will compliment your shoes, who will shop with you or take a walk or ... or ... wait, that's what I'm trying to say here: I don't even remember what girlfriends do. How to have one. How to be one. Or, most importantly, how to MAKE one.

My ward here is chocked full of these really accomplished, beautiful people. They terrify me. Even the ones who seem to want to be my friends. ESPECIALLY the ones who want to be my friends.

One of them called me tonight, hence the post. She had things to say and wanted to hang out this weekend and told me some REAL-ish stuff. Like, she had felt things, and she told me how she felt about them. It was so weird. It's not even like she overstepped the boundaries of our connection, or that I don't like her. Because I do. I want to be her friend so badly that I cried when I got off the phone, trying to remember what had happened to me. How I got like this. Afraid of girls.

So this post is more personal than I usually get. Which means I'm afraid now, too. But if you people who read this little thing, if you can tell me what you know or how you do it or (pretty please) that I'm sort of normal, that would be wonderful. I need I need.


Meeshab said…
I told you already,the girl in the airports friend on the other line was yawning. Some friends do all of the talking and none of the listening. A good friend is hard to come by, very hard. You are lucky to have Arin! We all wish we could have these friends next door. The people I have always most wanted to be friends with in a new place scared me the most too. The more you talk, the better it gets. The more you uncover about their reality of "life is hard", the more you will relax and enjoy your friendship. You are a great friend.
Kira said…
Meesha once told me don't bother with friends they always end up bugging :) I think we get it from Mom. She never had any friends, just Dad and her kids. I have a couple of friends I really like. I feel like I had to court them though. I am not sure of the answer, maybe I didn't have a comment.
I do have to say though, I haven't been able to sleep all night I am so scarred of this little girl in my belly. I am worried I will screw her up.
Kira said…
P.S. If my baby is a Tia I will be fine (unless it is windy or dirty).
Amara said…
I think Meesha is the friend expert, you should listen to her. What she told ME, is that it IS like courting. You ask them to do something, or call them, and it's like asking someone on a date. Rejection feelings will be there, psycho feelings will be there, but you work through it, and get a good friend as a reward. I've done it in this ward finally, but it took some WORK. You've got to take risks, and sometimes it's painful, but it's worth it. Girlfriends fulfill a basic female need I think.
Jamie said…
I don't have any answers, but I don't think you're abnormal. I'm a socially awkward extremely introverted person who has anxiety issues when someone wants to talk to me beyond basic social politeness. I'm best friends with my sisters. I sometimes make good friends with Jill's friends. And I can make friends on my own, but only when I'm thrown into a situation where it's impossible to avoid social interaction. Like, being someone's roommate, or hiking through England in the same stinky clothes for 7 weeks. :)
eden said…
dej, every time my situation/surroundings change, i go through that same thing.

it's hard to find people that you really click with, which makes them even more valuable when you do find them. i've had long stretches of time where i don't feel like i have anyone i can talk to about the little things. it's sad.

i guess i really don't have advice. i can only offer commiseration.

so sorry you're having a hard time.
kathy said…
You're not alone. I feel mostly retarded most of the time. It's hard to find a good friend (especially one who won't talk your ear entirely off about nothing while she's sitting in the airport).

I've learned a lot from Christopher, actually. One of his friends called him a "barger." He just barges into other people's lives: he asks people to use their talents to help him, or he invites them to dinner, or to a book sale, or he visits them unannounced. He insists that people be part of his life, which I'm not very good at.

And while people sometimes look like they don't know how to react (and I get all awkward and embarrassed and tell him to stop bothering), it turns out that everyone wants to feel included, needed, or thought of.

I wish I could sit on your couch and see your shoes; I would certainly compliment both. I'm grateful that you've always been a good friend, even from far away.
Stephanie said…
Dejahead. I know what you mean. When I moved back to Washington I was living with my bestfriend, but then I got married and she moved away from the area. I have now been married for over one and a half years and I still don't feel like I have any girlfriends. The only people I go shopping with or eat out with are my husband and family. I mean a have a couple of co-workers that I'm close to but nothing like I use to. I often think of you, Em, and Delyse and really miss that.

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