Whatever happened to the playground?

Right before we moved from Bend, a delightful couple came into our lives with all the joy we needed to be positive about this big transition. We were sitting in their home, tucked away in the forest of Cannon Beach, discussing how to laugh through life’s satiric jabs. I gave one of my taglines and the sweet lady chuckled with a complimentary repeat of what I had just said:

“I don’t have time for patience.”

I’m not trying to be funny when I say these things. They genuinely come out of my noggin, which should quickly tell you how bright it is up there. It’s just that given my upbringing in a different country and my mother being the archetype of transparent, it comes as no surprise that sometimes people don’t know what to think about how I approach things. For instance, making friends. Now, when in the world did this get so complicated?!

playground

I approach friendship making like an eight year old approaches wanting to ride the see saw and not knowing anyone on the playground – like common sense.

“Hey you wanna ride the see saw with me?”

“Sure” and then an hour later, after we’ve almost puked on the merry go round and fallen off the monkey bars, we’re best friends and you’re helping me plan my next birthday party.

Try that in your 30’s.

“Hi I’m new in town and my husband’s in law school, so he’s super swamped with studying and I haven’t had anyone to talk to since we had to pack up my stuffed animals. Wanna get a coffee?”

No gleeful shouts of exhilaration as we skip hand in hand to the closest coffee shop, giggling about how hipster its trying to be and yet can’t even make me a Cortado without asking for instructions from its fellow Barista who’s wearing a homemade mini vinyl necklace and sporting a man bun.

No in your 30’s, camaraderie is hard to come by. College is over. Partying hopefully done. Now how do you meet people? Bars? Online? You could try the obvious:

Get knocked up. Hundreds of mommy meet ups. If that’s stretching it, you could always nanny and never tell the other ladies the kid’s not actually yours…not that I’ve ever tried that…

Or church.

My mom used to always say, “Having trouble making friends? Try church.” This was synonymous with her tactful prying into why I hardly frequented churches in my 20’s, but it nevertheless came out as lighthearted as “Having heartburn? Try Tums.”

As usual, she had a point. Church provided the immediate meet up group without any of the weird pledging, buttons, or parades. And even better, people in church immediately assume you are kind, generous, and mean well. It never fails to astound me. Walk across that steepled threshold and you have practically become a saint. But I’m getting side tracked. Making friends.

I don’t make friends well, but it’s not for lack of trying. You just have to play it cool for so long, I start to get antsy and then jump the gun, freaking people out of friendship. No one wants a thirty-three year old woman with the honesty of an eight year old. You can’t just state you’re lonely and would like a friend. But like I recently told the one friend I’ve made so far over drinks and bad Spanish food:

“I don’t have patience for loneliness.”

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