Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Making Friends

I don't know how to make friends. I didn't, in fact, know that one had to make friends in life until it was too late.

When I was younger, in elementary school, I had friends by default. Maybe my mom had sat me next to them as an infant on the floor, and we worked out that we'd be friends through complex baby cooing. Other friends my mom arranged for me to walk to school with or go to preschool with, so they were also default friends. She was kind of like a friend pimp, I think.

I still remember the first day of middle school, the beginning of the end for me. I walked to school with Julie and Susan and Gretchen, my long-standing BFFs. I wore a black balloon skirt and a kitty sweater. I thought I was so cute. Little did I know that kitty time was over.

I got to school that day in my kitty sweater, and the girl I sat next to in home room had a button on her jean jacket that said "shit." This was my first indication that I wasn't going to be cool anymore. As I walked home from school that day, Susan said, "So who did you all meet today?" Apparently they'd all gotten the memo that we were supposed to meet people and make friends. I didn't get this memo, and I was afraid of girls wearing shit buttons, so I hadn't talked to anyone. This was my second indication that I wasn't going to be cool anymore.

Susan and Gretchen and Julie had all made friends that day. Susan went on to be the prettiest, most popular girl in the school. Gretchen went on to be the musical genius, popular with the band. And Julie even found her own little niche. I didn't become anything. I became a silent girl in a corner. I was stranded, with no clue of how to make friends.

In high school my sister Tara became my new friend pimp. She hooked me up with all the friends she'd gathered the year before while I was still miserable in 8th grade.

Now that I'm away from home, I don't have any friend pimps, and I still don't know how to make friends. I get nervous, and I say things I shouldn't.

I've been slowly making friends with people at work, trying to mimic whatever friend making techniques they employ so they don't realize I don't know how. Today, I hit a new mark--I got asked to take a walk with the cool chicks. They seem to take walks together occasionally, so I think this was like cool girl gold.

But I still managed to muck it up. One of the girls, I asked her if her mom lived in a trailer, as we'd been joking about white trash toffee. Umm, well her mom does. Great. Another girl I kind of implied had a big belly. But only because she's clearly smaller than me. We all know that rule about being able to joke about the belly's of people who have better bodies than you, right? Right?

Maybe I better make a batch of white trash toffee to make it up to all of them. And maybe one of these days I'll make it out of the seventh grade.


ian said...


I don't know what to do. Laugh? Cry? "Get your back"? Pimp you? Please tell me. Currently, I'm doing a combination of all of four. I just wanna honor this post appropriately.

Your friend,


Amber said...

You made me smile, Ian. I have the habit of trying to write a funny post and having it come out kind of pathetic. Your comment was gift enough. :)

ian said...

You should go to work wearing a button with the word "skubalon" on it. It's the Greek word that Paul uses in Philippians 3:8 for "rubbish." Literally, "shit."

ian said...

Oh. And you should ask your boss if you could become a regional employee. We don't have to make friends.

Brandy said...

Oh, Amber, you just made me laugh so hard. Please know that I took nothing seriously on our walk. I LOVE hanging out with you, even if you do make fun of my mother

Seriously, you're great! Glad we're friends!

Amber said...

Skubalon button! I love it!
Brandy, I'm looking forward to our workout today. I'll try not to insult any families members.

sarahbri said...

Amber, I laughed RIGHT OUT LOUD at work! You are better at making friends than you think. But just so you know, I grew up in a trailer, and I'm sensitive about how much food I eat. :)

Amber said...

And yet we're still friends, Sarah. How have I managed to not totally alienate you in all these years?

Becky said...

Cool chicks? Oh great. I thought I left that in Jr. High.

Amber said...

But Becky, you are the Ultimate Cool Chick!

Kelly said...

Amber...I about fell off my chair when I read that. Hahaha. I have the same problems.

Tara said...

I wonder if any of this can be associated with being the yougest in the family. You say what you want instead of sugar coating it like the middle child would. You know we are the peacemakers.

I spent the whole week with Devin who just makes fat jokes about herself--for example, she might say, "Get out of my way, I'm FAT!!" or "I need to eat--I'm FAT!" She would say this as loud as possible so as to alert all people at the hospital of her condition. I recommend publicly demeaning yourself when possible so that your shock value eliminates any need for true friends. For example, you could say "out of the way, I have huge feet!" but I will leave the brainstorming to you.

By the way, you made lots of friends--I just happened to show you the ropes!!

barleygreen said...

This from a woman who has 112 "friends" on her Facebook Network. There is truly no hope for me.

Amber said...

Tara, I really like this method. I'm going explore it. In fact, that is exactly what I do. When I'm in awkward or new situations, my defense technique is to make inappropriate jokes. This either makes people love me or think I'm a weirdo.
And, barley, I've never even met 10% of those Facebook friends. I'm actually paying them to be my friend.

blissfullykrissy said...

would you please just make sure i'm at work when you bring the white trash toffee?;)