“I’m so busy.” We all say it. There is a lot of things to do and a lot of places to be. There are family pressures and obligations and work.
I hear it every day. But I don’t say it a lot unless I am talking about work. Because “I’m so busy” is not something that I typically am. I am so available. I am so unscheduled. I am so alone. Those are words I can relate to. “I’m so busy” are not some of them.
As a single introvert I like to dive deep into friendships and I crave good conversation. But it can be difficult to figure out how to break through other’s busyness to make new friends which I was reminded of recently when seasons changed. I suddenly found myself with ample free time and few friends to fill it. I found myself scrolling through my phone and my Facebook contacts, trying to figure it out. I don’t usually need many because I go “all in” with friends…but that can come back to bite me when people move or move on for one reason or another. And sometimes the empty calendar (especially during particularly “fun” seasons like summer) is hard to look at.
So I thought I would embrace the positive and be proactive. Look ahead at the schedule and see how I can fill it. Weekends are hard to fill though…that space is “family time”. I remember that season. I never had the extended family obligations, but time was filled with kid activities and date nights. And I have friends in all stages of that now – young married couples, friends who are dating, and parents of young kids. There are also family vacations and reunions and gatherings to consider. Even the occasional wedding.
And all of these things are understandable. But makes it challenging as a single person to figure out how to make plans on a Saturday night. I don’t get invited to the gatherings and parties because I am not family or don’t have a significant other to attend with me. I don’t think people think I would want to come alone to a gathering full of pairs...but I do enjoy people.
The older you get, the harder it is to make new friends. I go to church (alone) and sit alone and say hi to people around me and then go home. Everyone is friendly…but also in their own circles. I have joined things with the hopes to make new friends (and will keep trying) but find everyone is already so busy. As an introvert, I am not quite sure how to break in to existing friend groups and family dynamics. I keep trying…don’t get me wrong. But I fumble at it. It makes me tired. I give up for long stretches.
I have found my most rewarding friendships have come when I have taken giant relational risks and just put myself out there. But they also happened BECAUSE I was so available. And I took time to intentionally invest. So my goal is not to be busy. I don’t need busy.
So this is my conundrum. As I scroll through contacts and look around at any opportunity that I have in my life to build some new friends. I guess it never gets easier to make friends. And it is not something that is ever done. I just need to keep trying and keep taking risks. And try to find something fun to do on Saturday night…