kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Certainly for me, one of the most difficult aspects of moving to a new town has been leaving behind friendships forged over a quarter century and trying to make new friends. I miss my friends from Pittsburgh. I miss the comfort of familiarity, the easiness of unconditional acceptance, and the sheer number of folks who I shared this with. I didn't just have a group of friends. I had groups of friends; church friends, writer friends, work friends, gym friends, neighbor friends, miscellaneous friends and one college friend. It was sad, moving, leaving them all behind, starting over with a blank slate of friendships.

It's not my nature to be outgoing. I don't make friends easily. My need to meet people and make friends has been in constant battle with my desire to hole up and hide at home, happy to be my own best friend. But I'm working at making friends. My first priorities upon moving, after settling in, were to find a church and a writers' group. (More on these in upcoming blogs.) After the kids started school, I joined a gym. I'm freelancing from home, so that eliminates "work friends." Unless you count our two cats, Domino and Snowflake. And our ball python Slither.
Here's a shot of a few of my new friends, the Bayou Writer's Group conference committee, minus Bev, who took the photo. They are (l to r) Nona Cross, me, Walt Dutton, and Jess Ferguson.

For the most part, people here, as in Pittsburgh, are quite friendly. But I struggle to move past the "acquaintance" phase. What makes establishing friendships difficult here is that Lake Charles is somewhat like Pittsburgh in that, often, people are born here, live here, and die here. Relatives reside around the corner and childhood friends live down the street or across the river. (Or the bayou, as the case may be.). So most people here simply don't need anyone else. They don't need any new friends. It's tough to break into that. I've found the majority of friends I have made so far are transplants like myself, with a few exceptions.

I do my best to keep in touch with friends back home, and I'm also enjoying getting to know new friends. It's part of the adventure.


Mindy Blanchard said...

It some cases friends become a part of your extended family. Leaving them hurts almost as much as leaving your real family.

I would never guess that about you. You seem so confident, though soft spoken.

My shyness keeps me from getting too close to people. I really have to peptalk myself to be more 'open' to meeting and trying to befriend people.

But I have no doubt, you're making those connections in LA already. You are so helpful and sincere...So wonderfully Angie. How can people not love ya?!

(I can't believe ya'll have a ball python - I can't decide if thats cool or icky. lol)

jess said...

Great post, Angie. I identify with everything you said.

We've lived here in LC since August of '95 and I don't have any friends--not that one special person I can call in the middle of the night, pop in on at odd times of the day, or even sit at her kitchen table with her and her husband and chat. The last time I had friends like that was from 1988-91. Luling, LA. I sure do miss it.

These days I have to force myself to socialize and become a part of things. It's so easy for me to stay home and let the world do its thing, but I went far too long not being involved in BWG and my writing suffered. That's not all: my writer-mind suffered. The Internet is fantastic for writers, but it's sure not the answer to everything.

Good friends should be cherished--no matter where they live or how far away. Unfortunately, things change once we move away.
Work really hard to nurture those long distance friendships.

Mindy Blanchard said...

great pic!!

Walter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Walter said...

Here's an even better song.


Leaf Monster said...

Angie, you are right on target about Pittsburgh being a place where people have always lived, never left, and don't need new friends. I am so glad that I found you as a friend! I found that it is important to go to the places where friends can be found. Sounds like you are doing that where you are.
- Carolyn

Leaf Monster said...

Wait! Did you say you have a ball python? ! How do the cats get along with the snake?