Now I know I’m supposed to write little pithy things about what it’s like to date when you move from a big city to a small city. Where I talk to you about uncomfortable situations involving that boy you liked in high school and the parking lot of a dive bar. Those things are, indeed, very important aspects of moving back.
But there’s something even more important. Yes, it’s nice to explore new parts of your city with a romantic interest, but before you really start to get into something with someone new, you need something much more essential in your life: friends.
Friends are what hold everything together. In this time of twitter and tumblr it is easy to become close friends with people you’ve never even met. These Internet friends become trusted confidants, people to whom you spill your secrets. The only drawback of these dear people is that they aren’t physically there.
Say you get invited to an art opening! If all your friends live on the Internet you may start having a conversation with your cat about why cats can’t come to art openings. And you’re sorry that she’s upset, but you didn’t make the rules, you just enforce them (and then you need to walk away from your cat because things just got weird.)
For men I imagine it’s rather easy. Men just say, “Oh, pitpit my dear fellow! There is a sporting event occurring down at the athletic fields! Shall we grab some ale and cheer for ye old team?” (I’ve watched a lot of Downtown Abbey lately. In my mind, this is how all men talk. DON’T RUIN THE DREAM.)
Men can find common ground and BOOM, they have a bond and a friendship. As women, we need more. We need solid communication sills. We need chemistry. We need similar interests.
You have to follow certain cues when trying to spark a new friendship. Like realizing when someone is giving you the brush off. Or concluding that the reason a person is so eager to befriend you might have something to do with their rampant neediness. Or realizing, once and for all, that you may not actually have anything in common with the people you knew in high school. Don’t even get me started on the difference between friends you can invite to a party and friends that are perfect for a tete-a-tete.
I may still have the random conversation with my cat about weekend plans and occasionally I force my mom to go to a movie with me, but I’ve made progress on the friendship stage. I even found some women who enjoy eating cheese, drinking wine and talking about the lady things (read: our cats). I’ve met the people I call to rescue me from a bad date or swoon with me after a good one.
Finding the one true person who fills your heart with joy is the easy part. Finding the people who’ll be with you when that joy gets a little stale – that’s what hard.
Joy Engel lives and works in Portland, Maine where she tweets far too much and solves the occasional murder-mystery while riding around on a bicycle. Everything she writes is her personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of her employer or its clients.