Do you agree that meeting new friends sucks?
I’m usually positive, so bear with me. I think we can all relate that putting ourselves out there and meeting new people can be hard at any stage in your life and it gets even harder as you get older. Meeting new friends doesn’t really suck, but I have had a hard time with it throughout my life – off and on. Here is a little insight, maybe you can relate.
Flashback to Middle School. In middle school and high school I desperately tried to fit in. I moved to a new school in 8th grade and it was the WORST year of my life. It absolutely sucked. Not only was it a huge change in my life, but to go through that change around other 8th grade girls also desperately trying to fit in and figure out who they are, trying to impress boys and forming middle school boy/girl relationships, on top of that, I was the NEW girl. No one likes the new girl. I think there is some unwritten rule book that the new girl is supposed to be hated. If I could recommend anything to parents (especially divorced parents) do not let your child move to a new school in middle school. It sucks. However, looking back, that is another part of my journey where my MESS is my MESSAGE.
Being the New Girls Sucks. Upon entering a new school in 8th grade, I was excited and, of course, nervous to not only be at a new school, but making new friends. Everyone hated me as the new girl and honestly, I did nothing wrong. I was accused of stealing “boyfriends” on my first week of school (and I didn’t even know anyone or their names). I didn’t know who I could trust as a friend (as the next minute I would hear they said something behind my back), girls would threaten to “pound my head into the lockers” (I had no idea why) and at lunch time, my biggest fear was sitting alone at lunch and having no one to talk to at recess. To solve that problem, I just didn’t complete my homework on purpose, so I would have to sit in lunch detention in a room to not be rejected by the cliques out at recess or I would be late to lunch and eat my lunch really slow to avoid being alone or reorganize my locker…slowly to not have much time hanging out alone. I would even have my dad write me notes to excuse me from school because I hated it; I dreaded it. There is nothing worse than being the new girl at a new school and being quiet and also having no friends. The 8th grade boys were nice to me, but then that made the 8th grade girls mad (apparently talking to boys is stealing boyfriends – I had never even had a boyfriend, so I was clueless.) I did play percussion in band with the boys and I actually felt I fit in there. Yes, I’m drummer girl. My dad had a VHS recording from 8th grade to prove it.
I Will Not Steal Your Boyfriend. Fast forward to my 9th grade year and it was a complete change. I just kept being me. Maybe I started caring less what others thought or people actually had the audacity to talk to me and realize I was nice (and not a boyfriend stealer). I knew some of the girls were nice, but when the popular girls are taunting them, people are afraid of not being “cool,” so they stayed away for fear of being bullied themselves. I’m thankful that my 9th grade year was a big change, but it made me realize the importance of not judging others and that the answer to everything is to be nice. People will still think you are “bitchy” and I probably was at times (I was a teenager, but that does not justify it). I never want to relive those years, but looking back, I learned a lot from them. The good part is, I made it through high school and made some amazing friends, some are still some of my closest friends. I was even Homecoming Queen (don’t judge, I went to a small high school). I have never “stolen” anyone’s man to this day.
This part of my life definitely brings up fear and insecurities when meeting new people. I get told that I meet new people easily, that is comes natural for me and that I meet new friends wherever I go. I would say at this point in my life, I agree, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not nervous or fear rejection or judgement. In fact, that is always present. It gets even harder to meet new people as you get older, too. Especially those that you can connect with closely.
College was actually the easiest part of my life to meet people and new friends. We are all thrown in the same situation, far from home, eager to learn and get a degree with 4+ years to figure it all out, plus we are thrown into a building with strangers and forced to connect. It works, it works well and most of my closest friends today are those friends I met in an ALL girls dorm in college. Traveling alone is also an easy way to meet new people, as you are kind of forced to. Some of my closest friends I have met traveling the world. Everything happens for a reason.
Moving, Moving, Moving. I’ve moved a lot in my adult years. I am originally from Minnesota; I currently live in Washington. I have traveled alone a lot throughout the world. Being in my 30’s and not having grown up in Washington and far from my family, high school friends, college friends, work friends and friends from my community and gym in Minnesota, it was hard to meet new friends right away, especially with a relationship that was falling apart. However, one of my friends from college lived in Seattle (thankfully) and I met some amazing friends at a part time job I had at an Ayurvedic Spa. In fact, I met some of my closest friends in Seattle at that spa or because of that spa. Your life journey is always interesting; trust the process. The reason I went to that spa is because the name was Vida (thinking it was something Spanish) and it was above a Whole Foods.
Virtual Friend World. Over the past couple of years, I have been fortunate to meet a lot of new like-minded friends online through my health coaching business as well as a part of my monthly online health and fitness accountability groups (through the Beachbody part of my business). I also have many friends that I have met traveling solo in other countries as well as while living in Chile. I stay connected with my friends from all over the USA and world via Facebook and other forms of social media. I have been blessed to grow a virtual team of health motivators and stay connected with friends from high school, college and work and I’ve met many people that I never would’ve met if I didn’t get comfortable with putting myself out there and following my passion in health and wellness and helping others.
Finding a Community of Friends. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet MANY of the lovely ladies on my team and my larger team at a retreat in Wisconsin. I was nervous, which isn’t normal for me. I had some past emotions and many insecurities come up; I didn’t want to be judged and I wanted everyone to like me. Many of these ladies I have known for years and I was looking forward to seeing them and hugging them in person. I didn’t expect my reaction to be what it was at all. I was nervous and wanted to leave. My past emotions from 8th grade came up. It was a silly insecurity, but it also provided me an opportunity to reflect on why that came up. I didn’t want to be judged or not fit in, plus the fact that I do work from home, mostly alone, was part of it; I miss that in person connection, but truly value my online community of friends and my “fit family”. Needless to say, it was such an amazing weekend with everyone.
What you fear most in life is what you need more of in life. In this case, I needed that in person connection time with people that truly care, are positive and love inspiring others to live and create healthier lives. I’m very fortunate to have this community in my life. It’s truly inspiring to see women create healthier lives for themselves, their families and their friends. It truly is a ripple effect. I wish I would have had this in my younger years, but I truly appreciate that I have found my tribe and “fit fam” now and I am always looking to add more people that want to be a part of a larger positive community.
From my personal experience of being rejected, bullied, alone and far from home, it makes your world grow so much larger when you find that community of like minded people in your life, no matter if you can see them daily in person or connect with them daily online and see them a couple of times a year in person. Connection with others is important. It is important in your intimate relationships, your friendships and your work relationships.
My MESS is my MESSage. It took me a little while to put everything together, but by creating more self awareness in how my past has helped to create my future, it has helped me to know what I want more of in life and how my journey, my mess, has turned into my message.
It makes me feel completely sad to hear that someone is alone or feels like they don’t fit in, suffers in silence, has low self confidence, hates their body, is in an unhealthy relationship and terrified to reach out to others. What I have shared here is not my only experience with this. If you truly feel like you don’t fit in and want to make some personal changes, please send me a note. I have been building a team of amazing people that inspire me to be a better person and achieve my goals and dreams daily. Life is too short to be alone and not achieve your goals and dreams and what you were meant to do. If you want something different, you have to do something different. If you have read this far into my post, you probably have something in common with me and I would love to connect.
As I sit here in my home office alone, I feel blessed that in 5 seconds I can send a text, give a call, send a facebook message and connect to a friend when I am in need of someone to chat with and have someone that truly cares on the other side. I didn’t always have that, so if this is something you are missing in your life, please connect with me here. .
Can you reach out to someone you value in your life to connect with today, this week or this weekend? Sometimes the times we don’t want to reach out and connect with others are the times when we need it most.
What is your experience meeting new friends? I LOVE meeting new people now, but still get a little nervous, but I also realize I an’t take things personally, so if we are meant to connect, we will and if not, I still have MANY amazing friends in my life.
About Nicole: Nicole coaches online monthly healthy eating, fitness and confidence creating accountability groups, works with clients 1:1 and has a weekly newsletter filled with inspiration, healthy recipes and random thoughts and “mess into message” thoughts to share. She also leads a team of health and fitness motivators and coaches students at an international online health coaching school. She really doesn’t think meeting new people sucks, in fact she loves it, but it can be tough at times.