Tuesday, 6 July 2010

VCB 28: Making friends

Today my blog is about making friends and my ups and downs with this seemingly easy, yet suprisingly difficult endeavour. I think I may have touched on this before in a previous blog but allow me to expand now.

In just a few days I will be seeing my amazing friends that I met through Youtube at VidCon in Los Angeles. I know them, and love them, and they make me happy. But what about the thousand people I don't know there? Will I make new friends? I am 99.9% excited for VidCon and yet there is a 0.1% that is the shy part of my brain working against me. Evil 0.1%

I should start by saying that as a child I was fantastic at making friends. When we went on holiday to caravan parks or to hotels with kids' clubs I always got on with people really well. In fact when I was about 10 I met a girl called Lisa at a Butlins holiday (for non-Brits reading this Butlins is a chain which is famous for children's entertainment ran by people in red coats). I got on so well that I stayed with her at her house for several weeks!

I also remember going on holiday to a place called Milfield which was where you could take activity leisure courses. The first year I went I took the generic children's course which is a load of fun activities (painting, ceramics, drama, BMXing, quad biking etc). On our way to the first activity on the first day I made a joke about cows having conference meetings and bam! I had instant friends.

It is funny though how getting older changes you. As I became older and more mature I found it harder to interact with strangers (except for when I am drunk of course). Perhaps this was a result of being teased at school but my confidence and self esteem sunk pretty low. It has been a battle to get it back up, even with the help of my wonderful friends and family.

Nowadays I chop and change. If I am in the right mood I can make new friends and have fun, easy conversations with new people. But then the next day (or even next hour) I will get stressed and nervous and panic about making friends. When I feel like that it is generally because I perceive what I have to say as boring and so never bother to say it. Irrational? Yes, very!

With the help of projects such as Youtube and my work at Felixstowe Radio (and the support of my boyfriend) though these moments have got less and less. In fact I think I worry more about being shy than I do actually get shy! In the actual moment I am happy to go with the flow. So why do brains insist on keeping that 0.1% in the back of your head when it is so irrelevant? I wish I knew.

My thoughts on the subject are this: I want to meet new people but at the end of the day, even if I never make a single new friend I have some amazing ones already who I love spending time with online and of course IRL. Plus I have a perfect boyfriend who I share everything with! I guess what I am trying to say is that low self esteem is a bitch, but I have great people who make me happy and make me a better, more confident person.

I can't wait to meet new people at VidCon and will be coming armed with 'Hello my name is...' stickers for people to sign their username for me to keep. As of this moment that 0.1%... it can go to hell. I am way too excited for my time in Los Angeles to worry about what-ifs and maybes. I am ready to have the time of my life with a community of the world's most kind and intelligent people; nerdfighters.

My answer: Overall I guess I am a bit of both as this blog hopefully showed. I think I would describe myself as a loud introvert... or maybe a shy extrovert... something like that.


Beth said...

It's funny you bring this topic up. Just last night I called some friends because I was panicking about going to a bar to hang out with a large group of acquaintances with school. After I was there, it was fun, but I always get irrationally nervous going into the situation.

I've taken personality tests at school and online, and it always seems that I'm smack dab in the middle of the introverts and extroverts. I'll admit, I'm probably more introverted than extroverted, but I love to hang out with people and make friends. I also have that side of me that's really shy and gets nervous.

So, basically, it sounds like we are a lot alike. P.S. I'm REALLY excited to meet you and James. Less than 48 hours now. I can hardly contain my excitement. <3

Beth said...

haha. Should've proofread my comment. I meant that I was panicking about hanging out with a large group of acquaintances FROM school that were meeting at the bar to celebrate a friend's birthday.

lesliefoundhergrail said...

I'm great at making friends when I have people that I know around me to back me up. Why I'm the lone stranger in the situation, it's so difficult for me.
I'm excited for Vidcon because not only am I going to see all of you people I already love and adore, I have other friends that I have made that are going. I think what makes me nervous is integrating the two groups together and/or balancing my time.

I feel like we cheat the system a bit when we're trying to make new friends at Vidcon, because some of the new friends you try to make are people you've seen before over and over again in videos and you can pinpoint them a bit. One of the reasons I love YouTube,I guess.

I love you missy, and I can't wait to see you tomorrow. Also know that I've read every single blog entry, I'm just a terrible friends and an inconsistent commenter.

Katherine said...

It's funny how I was always the shy one when we were young - I hated the kids' clubs, I just wanted to stay with Mum and Dad!

Nowadays I actually genuinely enjoy meeting new people and usually find it easy to strike up conversations. Overall I would class myself as a socially adapted introvert; deep down I’m an introvert but I often come across as an extrovert.

I guess if I didn’t have some degree of self-confidence I never would have met my husband, since we met on a dating website but met in person literally a few days after the first email. Funnily enough I was never in the slightest bit nervous about meeting him, and although I certainly wouldn’t have guessed on our first date that I’d be married and carrying his child 4 years later, I knew immediately that we would be good friends, despite us being incredibly different.

As you know Hels I definitely identify with the feeling of becoming incredibly close with a group of people in a very short space of time, from my own time in America as a volunteer. I think when a group of people choose to make the effort to come together from different places and have a common interest, it’s almost inevitable that friendships will form quickly. I think it helps being away from your ‘normal life’ as well – it means you’re 100% focussed on the people you’re with, and not thinking about the fact that you need to iron your shirt for work the next day or whatever!

Gosh what a long answer, I’d better shut up now ...