I don’t write enough.

I’ve started a form of email reply I am terming “gonzo emailing”.

When I get an email from someone (in my personal life – I would get into trouble if I did this at work) I am trying to write back immediately, quick and dirty, spelling mistakes and awkward turns of phrase. It’s poorly organised and mostly a stream of consciousness, but it communicates the basics to the people I care about.  If I didn’t write this way, it would take me 4 weeks to get an email out. We don’t need perfection, we need connection!

It’s an interesting time passing the 3 month mark in a new place. You have probably, hopefully, found things to do outside of work, and met people. You haven’t had enough time with these new people in your life to figure out who is going to be a friend, or someone you just see at a team practice or a friend of a friend brunch.

After being in this situation several times before – I’ve learned something. Wait. Enjoy the chance to rebuild your life again. Instead of rushing out to do everything and be friends with everyone, give yourself a second to think about what you actually want.

One of the differences this time around, is doing the new city/country/continent thing with a partner. Usually, it’s just me, I’m teaching at a school, and there are ready made friends available – other Canadians, teachers, neighbours .. everyone new and looking for a friend.

When it’s two of us, it is easy to settle into a rhythm. We don’t really feel lonely because we have a friend to do things with. It’s also easy to avoid social situations where we would have the opportunity to make new friends. New social situations where I don’t know anyone…not my favourite.

Where other ladies might get jealous of having a nice man in their life, I am  becoming deadly jealous of girls nights. Going out for a nice dinner on a Friday night, with your boyfriend, is wonderful. At my 3 month mark I’ve gotten to the point now where I can instantly spot the groups of women out for drinks. It’s like being the only single person out of your friends and being hyper – conscious about all the coupled people.

You can read up on winning friends and influencing people, but it is hard to construct an approach to making good friends.  The most popular advice is to join things, find people with similar interests.

If you take a look at your oldest and closest friends, more often than not, they probably have nothing in common with you on the basis of things you could join. Your friendships eventually become more about how you’ve grown together as people, and the time you’ve both invested in the relationship.

Yes – if you join an activist / quilt making organisation, you will probably share similar values and have something in common, but for your average, easy to join activities ie. “Soccer” or “12 Week Cross Fit Challenge” or “Yoga” everyone is there for a wide range of reasons and it is a bit of a crap shoot as to whether or not your new best friend is there waiting for you.

So it is a bit of an investment – you really have to try as many different combinations of things as possible, and, the worst – “Get Out There!”.

It’s easier to stay in and watch youtube.

Which gets back to the gonzo emails.

In university, one of my roommates who had moved from overseas, spent a lot of her first term on MSN messenger with her friends from high school. Eventually, she discovered parties and liquor and suddenly stopped spending so much time in front of the computer. It wasn’t gradual (or so it seemed), but a decision that was seemingly made in a split second. The other dorm mates agreed this was a good thing – and on we went.

We are still friends, but now it’s the real time things cutting short our online conversations. Not so much parties and liquor – but work, and friends, and dinners, and going to bed early.

We will meet again some day, and it will be like no time has passed. That is the benefit of really good friends. They are forgiving of  poorly written emails, and can appreciate a manic  and non sensical reach out.

It’s time to find more of those people (within a 20 km radius.)