Making Friends Is Like Dating

If you don’t believe me on this one, then you must be able to make friends easily and everywhere you go.

Just like dating, making friends is harder to do as you get older. I also find it’s harder to keep the ones you already have.  People get married, move away and have kids. We’re not on the same page anymore. Or the same schedule.  All of a sudden, last-minute get togethers become scarce and you have to plan weeks or even months in advance when you can all meet.

Quality vs. Quantity

Unfortunately along the way, and this probably happens to everyone at least one point in your life, your circle either gets smaller or people within the circle get swapped for others.  As of right now, I don’t have one specific circle of friends who I grew up with or went to school with. I have different groups of friends from different parts of my life. Collectively, this group isn’t very big. While in high school, somewhat superficial me, initially thought quantity of friends preceded the quality, I eventually came to my senses in my later high school years to realize it was the other way around. In my twenties, the quality became even more apparent as I slowly began to lose touch with most of my high school friends.  Let me make one thing clear though. It wasn’t that my high school friends were of great quality, it was more that they were of a DIFFERENT quality.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized we had little in common, except that some of us grew up together, knew the same people and happened to have several classes together.

My Half-Ass Attempts to Make New Friends in University

It really wasn’t until university that I met people I could better relate to and had more in common with.  These are the friends, along with a couple of childhood friends are the ones who I can still have a decent conversation with, no matter how much time has passed.  I have on several occasions tried to rekindle the friendship with a few from my past, only to find it wasn’t the same as before. The conversations didn’t seem to flow like they used to.   Like any relationship, friendship is a two-way street, or at least it should be. At times, it can seem like a one way or it can eventually reach a dead-end.

I am a shy and socially awkward person who doesn’t make friends easily. Unless I click with them right away, it can sometimes take forever to feel comfortable around them. I am that person who refuses to go to a party alone, where I only know the hostess.  The random person seated at the table with all the other random people.

The one great thing about university is that you can wipe the slate clean and are given a chance to reinvent yourself. I figured university would be my golden ticket to invent a more sociable version of myself.  I had joined social groups at several points in my university career with hopes of being able to make friends outside of my program and first year residence.  I failed. Horribly. It seemed everyone knew someone, if not everyone at each of these things. When everyone knows everyone and you know no one, well, it’s a socially awkward person’s worse nightmare come true.  I didn’t know if I should join in a conversation, how to start a conversation or wait for someone to come to me.   Needless to say, my commitment to these social groups was  very short-term.

A Friendship Needs Sparks

Just because I am socially awkward and seem to get slight panic attacks in social situations, doesn’t mean I don’t want to make new friends.

Even if I wanted to, how would I go about doing that as an adult? I know there are social meet ups and alumni events, but even at those events, I feel I would need a wing man/woman by my side.  They have speed dating. Why don’t they have speed friend making?

Let’s say you have a random conversation with someone at the gym or bookstore. These random conversations lead up to more frequent and even interesting conversations. You start to think to yourself; hey this person is very cool. I could totally see myself hanging out with him/her. You ask them to go for coffee and start hanging out with them more. First it’s only one on one. Then you start introducing them to your friends.  You call this person your friend.  This person then becomes friends with your friends as well.  This is when it all works out.

However, what if it doesn’t work out? What if you realize in  the”getting to know each other/seeing if you could be friends” phase becomes awkward for one? How do you break it off? Do you make excuses every time they call/msg you or don’t bother responding at all? Would you have the guts to meet them in person to break it off? Breaking up with someone you are dating is hard enough, but I think breaking up with someone you are friends with or thought you could be friends with is even harder. What exactly do you say? I don’t think there is a spark between us, so we should just stop being friends???! Just like  sparks in a relationship, there also has to be sparks in a friendship.

Call me crazy or over analytical, but these are the thoughts I have when I think about making new friends. :P

Do you feel the same way I feel when making new friends? Or does it come naturally to you?


Too Canadian for My Own Good?

Canadian for My Own GoodOne of the great things about living in Canada is that we are very accepting of different cultures and embrace them to a huge degree.  I would like to think that most newcomers would not feel too out-of-place considering there are many “cultural corners” in the large metropolitan cities.  Most of them manage to keep their culture and at the same time embrace Canadian things such as poutine, ice hockey and maple syrup.

Although both of my parents immigrated from the same country, they did not meet until they arrived in Canada. It wasn’t right away either. My mom was living in the east coast for a bit, before she moved to Ontario.  At that time, the 70s, it was easier to get a job and you didn’t have to have “Canadian” work experience.  There weren’t as many people coming to Canada back then.

Fast forward to the 80s. Growing up, I was one of the few non-Caucasian kids in my class. Majority of my friends were Caucasian. The neighbourhood I grew up in was mostly Italian and Polish. Obviously, there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. Perhaps that may attribute to why I have a love for pasta. I’m a very picky eater and to make things sound worse, I don’t even really like my culture’s food that much.  I love certain ethnic foods such as Italian, Portuguese, Thai, and Lebanese, but not the stuff I grew up eating. Perhaps I got sick of it eating it all the time?

Every now and then, we would get a new student in the class who came another country. It was one thing to be new, but to be the new kid from a completely different country and not speak English very well was a whole  other story. I remember vividly some kids making fun of the new kids because of the way they dressed and the way they spoke English. I also remember them just sticking together because they felt safer and more comfortable that way. Having lived in Canada all my life, I can’t even fathom what it would be like to leave your country, come to a foreign one as a kid and experience a culture shock. Having traveled to quite a few countries, I still haven’t experienced culture shock.

Fast forward to the late 90s. High school was bigger and a little more diverse. We all know high school is all about the cliques. Jocks, nerds, goths, skaters, etc. There were also a few ethnic cliques. I was never part of them. I just hung out whoever I got along with, regardless of their background. A few people from the clique with the same ethnicity commented on how I hung out with Caucasian people. I didn’t see this as an issue and I couldn’t understand what would it matter.  I can’t help it if the environment I grew up in was with mostly people of European background.

Growing up, my parents only spoke English to me and their mother tongue to each other. I tried taking a language course in high school for extra credit and as an effort to be more cultured, but I still can’t carry a conversation. My mom took cultural dancing when she was young, but I was enrolled in ballet and jazz lessons instead. I tried again in my last year of university to join one of the ethnic social groups. At the first encounter everyone else seemed to know each other and my anti-social self just got fed up and left.

People who were born and raised in another country often talk of back home and visiting back home. So wouldn’t it be fitting for me to go and visit my parents’ home? To learn more about where my parents’ came from and the culture? Last time I visited the country I was 11. It’s been 20  years.

Does it seem bad that I only want to go out of guilt? I know despite all its shortcomings, its a beautiful country, visited by many tourists. But it’s not even in the list of  top 10 places I would like to visit before I die.

I consider myself Canadian first and foremost. My parents’ background comes second.  I grew up watching Mr. Dress-up. I had a Roots sweatshirt. I listened to I Mother Earth (I had the biggest crush on the lead singer) and Our Lady Peace. I work for the Canadian federal government and my side job is with a Canadian owned company. So what if I’m too Canadian for my own good.

I ask you this, if you have recently come to North America from a different country, have you managed to still keep close ties to your culture? Or have you shed that skin and become Westernized?

If you are an 4th, 5th, 6th, etc generation Canadian or American, do you feel more Canadian/American than where your ancestors came from because your family has been in the country for so long?

Has anyone experienced something similar to what I experienced growing up?

I’d Rather “Make the Bacon” and Bring it Home,than cook it

Make the Bacon

Source: Cover of I Love Bacon! recipe book by Jane Rockmill

Oh Sundays. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love how you can wake up with no alarm, just laze around in bed. Enjoy a greasy breakfast (with bacon, of course) and sip your morning coffee while reading the paper or catching up on your favourite blogs (Or you can go out for breakfast, but I sometimes cringe at the thought of an overpriced breakfast. $12??!!? Are you kidding me?).  The morning seems to last forever in my opinion.  Come mid-afternoon, time seems to speed up and go by a lot faster. Then that sinking disappointing feeling sets in. Tomorrow is Monday. Tomorrow it is back to the grind. Back to the work week that seems to drag on like that teacher in Charlie Brown where I never understood what she was saying.

I often spend my Sundays grocery shopping, because it is just  a complete ZOO on Saturdays.  I’ll do a few loads of laundry and cook food for the week.  In the post: The Joy of Cooking…For One, I complain about cooking for one. Now I am the head chef and meal planner and am cooking for two. Oh joy. We don’t grocery shop together because  he’s not a big fan of grocery shopping. As I have mentioned before, the bf is quite handy and thus assumes the responsibility of being Mr. Fix-It.  (With an older house, there seems to be a lot of fixing things.) I once hammered a screw in my bathroom wall, so thus I assume the responsibility of trying to be a domestic goddess.  He does do some cleaning, but I usually have to ask.

I have come to the realization that I like the idea of having my own house and eventually owning it, but I absolutely hate cooking and cleaning. But I do it because we all know that eating out  all the time is a waste of money and I’m not willing to pay someone to do the cooking and cleaning for me. I know people work crazy hours and it takes a load off, but you know when they say “leave it to the professionals” for some things? You can argue with me all you want, but cooking and cleaning are not some of them. If you can read, you can cook. Dirt and dust doesn’t disappear like magic in the movie Fantasia, so clean up your mess already.

If I lived in the 50s or 60s and was the housewife,  staying at home, and only did the cooking and cleaning, I think I would have gone bonkers. Sure all that stuff passes the time, but I wouldn’t want that to be my livelihood ( I am definitely the Peggy Olson in Mad Men). Even if the bf was making a ton of money and we could live off one income easily, I still wouldn’t want to be a stay at home housewife. He, on the other hand, wouldn’t mind staying at home and cooking the bacon I brought home.  Nowadays, I know you can work from home, which does seem awesome in a lot of ways, but I like actually going to a workplace and making my money. I don’t have enough discipline to work at home. There are too many distractions and since my current  job isn’t a typical office job, I couldn’t work at home anyway if I wanted to.

Would you rather “make the bacon” and bring it home or just cook it? Anybody else had bacon for breakfast today?