It’s literally been half a year since I updated this. The post-college 8 to 5 work life gives you less free time than expected, especially when you account for going to the gym after work and cooking dinner.
Seriously, for those who have done this all their lives, kudos. Especially those with kids to juggle.
Anyway, I’m writing about a recent meet-up with a girl from a former church at Pinkberry. We ran into each other downtown and decided to catch up after not seeing each other for 4 years. I knew her somewhat well, back when we were in the same friend group and went to weekly church events.
The meeting started with her being 30 minutes late while I stood idly outside Pinkberry on a crowded street, trying to casually blend in while my phone was using up all my 4G data. Pinkberry has like zero seats available at any given time (seriously), so I spent half my time stalking the tables for an open seat.
Finally, the meet-up commenced after the girl (whom we’ll call N*) arrived panting and out of breath. Turns out she had biked three miles here and had been held up in traffic. I told her not to worry, and we proceeded to eat froyo (fancy term for frozen yogurt) and chat…
Except we couldn’t chat. Because N and I did not click at all. Never in my life had I been in a more awkward conversation. This is how the flow of the first bits of conversation went:
N: So what are you up to now?
Me: I work as an analyst at … (insert response here about numbers and data crunching).
N: (worried look on face) Do you like it?
Me: It’s nice. The workplace has a good work-life balance; you rarely have to work overtime… (insert joking comparison to other jobs known for rigorous work-life balance)
N: . . .
Me: Uh, okay? What are you doing nowadays?
N: Oh, (insert long answer about teaching).
Me: That sounds great!
N: . . .
I honestly don’t know why the conversation didn’t flow easily. Believe me, I tried to be as personable as I could. And it’s not that I’m a complete social idiot; I’ve held conversations with strangers, coworkers I barely knew, and even my boyfriend’s ex. But somehow, N and I just couldn’t talk without long silences, and me trying to fill the silence.
Soon I basically gave up, saying I had to go and “it was nice seeing you, let’s hang out sometime.” Also known as never. As I left, I sadly pondered how it was possible that N and I had clicked much more in the past. N certainly didn’t seem different, apart from her awkwardness that never became apparent until that day. Perhaps it was I who had changed.
4 years ago, I was a scared freshman in college some 3,000 miles from home and knew exactly five people on campus. Aside from class, I spent most days in my room browsing the Internet and avoiding my extremely social roommate. I mean, I was always cordial to her, but we never became close friends. Acquaintances is the correct term, which happens often when you were quiet and socially anxious like I was.
This led to me having few friends and spending nights alone with my textbooks and laptop. I didn’t mind, of course. It was a blast, browsing Tumblr each night and listening to iTunes in my pajamas. Why did anyone want to go get drunk at a frat party when they could watch YouTube in bed?
But there were downsides that I didn’t see at the time, the consequences of which have become apparent only recently. For instance, I was not wise in making friends; I stuck with friends out of convenience, even ones who were clearly toxic to my wellbeing. (More on this topic later.)
N and I clicked much more then. I can’t pinpoint why. Perhaps I was less outspoken? Perhaps more meek, so that my countenance seemed friendlier?
I guess change is the only constant in life.