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.