For many of us "quiet" types, making friends is difficult at best. The last time I remember making friends easily was when we lived in NY and I was in 2nd grade. I think it was easy because, truth be told, I didn't really care if the kids liked me or not. I just took for granted they would. We were all the same. We all had a parent in the military. We all lived on an island. We knew what we all had experienced. We knew we could be moving again.
I think I was unprepared for Minnesotan kids. There was a different feeling I got from these kids. Most of them had never lived anywhere else. I was weird. I felt like I was weird. They teased me because I talked strangely. They made me feel like I was stupid for talking that way. In hindsight, in most cases that was probably not the intent for most of the kids. They didn't intend to be malicious, they were just commenting on something that was foreign to them.
It affected me a lot. That, along with the 3rd grade teacher who essentially had a nervous breakdown in front of her students, probably clinched that I would be reluctant to speak in the future.
Making friends as an adult is hard enough, but throw in anxiety about actually speaking to another human and it becomes nearly impossible.
I've forced myself to do things that make me uncomfortable. I've hosted parties, joined a book club consisting of mostly women I'd never met, set up play groups, set up mommy groups, attended church functions that make my stomach roll. The mommy group fizzled, the play group met mediocre success.
The people (besides family) who have supported me the most in this last year have been the people I least expected support from. Long-time blog readers. High school classmates I hadn't seen or heard from in years. People I met by chance.
These people build me even as I think things are falling down. They bring me up with their words, their deeds.
I want to do that for others. That is what friends do.