On Christmas Eve I had lunch with Kate at CentraPark. I haven't seen her since Kit's birthday party in October, and somehow our conversation steered to how often we catch up with friends.
'I see my friends once every 2-3months. That's normal!' she said.
'Really?' I'd asked sheepishly. 'I see Kw almost once a week.'
'Before that I saw S almost on a daily basis.'
When I saw Dips and Kw I mentioned the conversation with Kate to them.
'Do we meet too much?' I asked.
'Yes!' Dips said. (And then that night Kw came to borrow my Roses de Chloé perfume, so Dips' OS must be omg I have to see Min once a week because she's a close friend of my girlfriend, and now my girlfriend comes to bed smelling like Min as well! There is no escape from that woman!)
I still haven't figured out how often is too often, but in general I try to work with other people's schedules by responding instead of acting. If I like you, I accept invites to play (now depending on whether I can afford it) but I hardly make the first move. This way I can fit in with everybody's definition of normal.
Not sure if it's the realisation that I'm actually settling in Sydney - I still can't quite believe it somehow, or reading Happier at Home, or my nightmare last night that Dad was trying - and failing - to marry me off, but I'm paying more attention to building relationships with people.
What I'm attempting to do more of -
1. Instead of saying 'hi' to my housemates, I ask 'how are you?' or 'how was your day?'
2. Instead of responding 'good' to my housemates' 'how are you?', I'll try to add another sentence about my day.
I talk so little because I think, people can't be interested in this shit. I'll spare you the details. But often when I listen to conversations around me, I find them to be about seemingly meaningless crap, like -
Oh, I had to reschedule my hair appointment because the salon only had 1 hairdresser..
.. And then I spoke to my mum this morning, and she asked me to pick up this and that..
So I figured.. there must be some meaning in what sounds like blah chatter.
One sentence about my day provides opportunities to bond, turning a greeting into a brief conversation if the other party wishes to chat.
3. If something can be done with other people, I try not to do it myself. (I love, love, love, LOVE doing things myself - it's über convenient, no waiting around and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.)
But at the same time because I'm such a slow warmer, if I don't push myself to hang out with people, I would never get to the stage where I felt comfortable. I'm the sort of person who has to have repeat contact with people to feel at ease with them. Doing stuff together is a perfect excuse to spend time together.
So, I'm going to have a haircut with my housemate Cat next Saturday. It's quite silly, but even this required an effort on my part.
4. Realign my budget with my priorities. Always budget for experiences over material things. I have the most complete perfume and lipstick collection among my friends, but I also have the least money for going out. If I don't want to die alone with a million bottles of fragrances and a thousand tubes of lipsticks, I have to budget accordingly.
So, er, good luck to myself. I'm sure this will pay off. Already I'm feeling more at home with Kw's group from hours of doggedly showing up and immersing myself in the group. (Not talking much sometimes equates to being able to note the nuances in the groups. I can fairly easily tell who likes who heh heh heh.)