Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Sporting Life

I am a shy person.   I act all outgoing and welcoming at work because (1) it's my job and, more importantly, (2) the people I interact with have way bigger problems than my shyness.    I give them everything I've got because they are soul deep in emotion, so it  is easy to forget myself in their need.    But I have long wanted to develop a circle of friends and, although I make some effort, it is hard for me to be outgoing outside of work.   I've lived in my 'new' home for a month shy of two years, and still know exactly No One outside of work and family.   

One of the ways I have tried to connect with a new group of people is through shooting and fishing.   It was sort of my oldest brother's idea, since, he pointed out, my 'new' home is smack in the middle of shooting and fishing territory.   And since it turned out that I actually enjoy shooting and fishing, it seemed brilliant.

Of course, I probably should have considered that my oldest brother, who shoots and fishes, is pretty much a recluse and a hermit.

Anyway, when I took some classes, they were taught by members of the board of directors of a local fishing club, and those board members suggested to the class that we come to their meetings because, they said, they always welcome new people and have been having trouble attracting women to the board.      I tried to go in August but, although their website listed a meeting, it turned out that they never meet in August.  I couldn't go in September because I had another commitment.   I almost missed going in October, because the website lists the meeting date as tomorrow, but I figured out that it was actually today, and off I marched.

Naturally the board members who invited me were not there.   They were out fishing.

I introduced myself and the club president told me I was welcome.   The 8 board members present solemnly shook my hand.   One of them asked if I was a member.  I told him I had been a member for two years.   "I have the card," I joked, "but I don't know the secret handshake."

The entire circle of men looked at me without smiling.   Finally, the president said, "Actually, we don't have a handshake."

I was there as an observer but, just in case I'd forgotten, the members language reminded me.   "We need volunteers for a river clean up this weekend and not very many people have signed up, although we sent mailings to all the board members," one person remarked.    They bemoaned the fact that it was so hard to get people to help, but nothing about the event had been listed on the website and no one even looked at me.    I thought about jumping up and down and shouting, "pick me, pick me!", but restrained myself.   They concluded that they would invite their wives and daughters to go along and help.    Then they adjourned and thanked me for coming.

All in all, I do not think I made any new friends.


Debbie V. said...

Your post is funny and a little sad at the same time. I totally relate to the difficulty in making friends. We moved here in 2005 and I do love the area, and people are nice, but I have yet to have a friend that I can share activities with. If it wasn't for my daughter, I'd probably be a recluse as well. I do relate well at work as well. My coworkers are extremely friendly and caring and being at work is a joy for that reason. I have my husband and daughter, with whom I get along great with as well, although we spend most of our time at home apart. Occasionally Bob and I watch TV together.
I don't know if it's getting older that makes it so hard or what. I recently started back to Sunday School and I am hoping again to connect there. I'm like you, I'm trying. But so far, it's just not happening.
I find I enjoy reading blogs and commenting on topics I relate to. I feel a sense of camaraderie there. But it's not the same as real life.

Don said...

I can relate Gail. Like you and Debbie, I really don't have what I would call friends. Also like you, I am not terribly outgoing.

It has been my experience, both in a fly fishing club, and most recently at a photography club, that the existing, often long-time members, are not especially welcoming of new members.

I have told Debbie (my wife) many times that it seems today we have more ways to communicate, but we have less real communication than ever.

I think people are just less friendly today than in the past

Emily@theNest said...

Gail, I want to just wrap you up and bring you home here and make you bread and scones... sometimes I think how difficult it would be to forge relationships outside my sphere of friends and family, so I completely get where you are coming from. Love and many joyful friendships being sent your way! x

gpc said...

You are so sweet, Emily. I'm sure I would enjpy that! And of course I would bring my SweetPea doll along, if my granddaughter allowed. :)

sue in mexico mo said...

I understand. . . My circle of friends has gotten smaller and smaller, do to death, relocating, etc. I have many friends, but not a "circle of friends". I think a circle of friends is a very good thing, but I will probably never have again. I am considering relocating and starting over with the friends thing is one of the reasons I have not moved.

gpc said...

Don (Deb) and Debbie (Bob), I am glad you have your wonderful spouses to fill some of the void. Sue, moving away from friends is definitely something to think about, but I think there are lots of others pluses to being in a new environment, so don't discount the idea entirely! Change is inevitable for all of us, and sometimes meeting it head on is the most satisfying way to go, or at least has been for me, despite the loneliness.