My kids are able to make friends instantly with fellow little people. Whereas, for grown-ups the process of making, and keeping, friends is tough. I’ve got lots of friends, some of whom I see regularly, others less so. However despite having lots of friends, I sometimes still feel lonely. I desperately miss one of my best friends Ailsa, who emigrated to Australia a number of years ago. There is also my little sister, who is another best friend, but she lives in Aberdeen and I really wish we lived closer together. I find that a lot of my friends are busy with their families, work etc and get togethers have to be planned weeks in advance rather than being spontaneous. Don’t get me wrong, being organised and planning ahead suits my personality… I just need to make more of an effort, and I’m sure that I’ll be able to do so when the house is complete.
Before meeting Kevin, I had decided that rather than looking for a boyfriend I would instead look to widen my social circle. If I spent my time doing things that I enjoyed, I would meet more like minded individuals. I joined MeetUp, an app that you can download to your phone on the recommendation of Ailsa who used it when she moved to Australia, and I was amazed at the number of groups there are available to join locally… so many different categories, events, gatherings etc. A few are targeted towards singles, but in essence the app is for meeting people (as the name suggests!).
The first event I attended though put me off slightly. I had put my name down to go the cinema, which perhaps isn’t the most social of outings, but we were to meet in the pub beforehand for an hour. I was the first to arrive (which apparently isn’t normal, as there should have been a host there), and I was joined by a couple of men who were perhaps a little socially awkward. It was ok though and we made polite conversation for half an hour before going to the cinema.
However, it was in the cinema that I made a total fool of myself and I’m sure they all left thinking I was a bit strange.
The movie of choice was Kong: Skull Island, which perhaps wasn’t a movie I would have chosen to see but it was on a night that I was free so I decided to go anyway. When we got to our seats, there were a number of people from the group, and we were all sat in neighbouring seats/rows. The movie was all about King Kong who was the protector of Skull Island and basically the good guy. The baddies were these prehistoric looking alien creature things who came out from under the ground. There were also a host of other weird and wonderful creatures… like a gigantic spider… yuck!
So unlike other cinema trips, where I might be chatting quietly to the person I’m with (offering popcorn, making comment about the film) I was quiet, and super engrossed, as I didn’t know the people I was with. Can you see where this is going?…
Cue a scary scene where one of these creatures literally jumps out at you… and what did I do? I screamed (out loud) and jumped out of my seat.
I have never screamed out loud like that at the cinema (I was the only cinema goer that seemed to scream at that bit too, which makes it worse!) and combined with the fact that my bum left the chair… it was all just a bit embarrassing. I proceeded to then spend the rest of the movie trying to discreetly hide behind my hands and not make any further noises!
Since the cinema trip I’ve been to one other MeetUp event, this time a hill walking group. It was a totally different experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went on an 8 mile hike along part of the West Highland Way, with about 40 others. There were lots of friendly faces, and people to chat to. It really was a nice day out, and some of us stayed for coffee & cake in the cafe at the end of the walk too.
Morale of the story… if you fancy trying something and perhaps your friends aren’t up for it (hill walking, climbing, yoga, a new restaurant, book club, gig or whatever), or if you want to widen your social circle… have a look at MeetUp. I’m pretty sure there will be a group out there for you. As well as social groups, there are also career & business groups. There really is something for everyone. It may be a little daunting attending your first event but I say go for it…you’ve nothing to lose.