Friday, September 26, 2008

How Do You Make Friends and Influence People?

The kind Bishop Birch and his wife Kim set up a social night with four other couples and us at their house. I appreciate this, both because they made a social initiative, but also because they actually have a large enough house to hold all of us.

Going tonight felt like going on a blind date, but with couples instead of individuals. I really want to make a close, bonded girl friend here, preferably who has a husband who is like this (twisted fingers) with Avram so we can all be social and close together. Coming home, I analyzed our relationship rating with all of these couples more than I ever did with boys when I was single. Back then, if I felt any chemistry (physical, emotional, whatnot), and I thought he did, that was good enough. Now, I could care less about how they all look, and so one easy qualifier is out. Instead I'm analyzing how they could possibly feel about our eclectic hobbies; Medieval Re-enactment, Role-playing, cooking with friends, having intellectual (or pseudo intellectual) conversations 'til all hours of the night (this was our Matt & Sarah specialty), camping (this is more a hopeful hobby than an actual one). Don't forget our "non" hobbies; we don't watch sports, we're not athletic, and we don't really do pop culture things.

It's not that I want to find an SCA D&D camping cooking couple. Honestly, I like variation. It's more that I want to find a couple that "gets" us. That understands people liking those things, even if they themselves don't.

Maybe I just need to run a personals add in The Lantern (OSU's student newspaper): Couple with two daughters, 2 1/2 and five months searching for best friends forever couple. Likes Middle Ages, Semitic Languages, Boggle, Cooking & Eating, and long conversations. Member of the LDS Church. Willing to consider all possible types of friends. Please apply.

I am willing to consider all types of friends. At BYU a lot of our friends were single, carried over from before we married. Avram and I were lucky enough to marry out of the same friends' group, from the Quill and the Sword, so we just kept the same friends we had all along after our marriage. This means that right now is the first long term, real (as in we're not going to move countries in a few months and we also don't live in the middle of nowhere Yarnton with no car) time we've made friends as a couple. I also don't think that we need friends with kids, although if they did have one Lydia's age that would be good for keeping her occupied, but she's great at playing by herself.

Which reminds me (Quill and the Sword, that is). Tonight I made a social gaffe equivalent spilling spaghetti sauce down your shirt in front of your blind date. I mentioned that Avram and I had met at the Medieval Club at BYU, and one of the women asked me if I knew a girl in it that had lived with her. They had been roommates in the German language house when Cooking guild met there ever Saturday and cooked all afternoon long while speaking English, which you are not supposed to do (I didn't know this at the time). It created great stress in the apartment, and Winter semester we moved to the commons room to cook. I suddenly remembered this girl back then, mainly when she would walk through the room and not really talk to us at all (because we were being jerks, but I didn't know that at the time).

Err. Awkward. I mentally wrote her off my list of people who might become my friend, because she probably thinks that I am a jerk (although I hope I am wrong in this, and that she won't always think of how rude the Quill and the Sword was - because really, we were in that situation). I apologized a lot tonight, but maybe that was just the equivalent to wiping spaghetti sauce all over the rest of your shirt while trying to clean it off.

I must say, there is one couple that we already know here, Carrie and Linus, and we're even going to have them over for my birthday next weekend (did you know I turn 26 next Saturday? Now you do). Look at us be social! (They're not in our ward, but rather Sarah's sister and her husband. Because we're fated to live by various and sundry relatives of Sarah, like her third cousins. Watch out Hans-Jeurgin, we're coming after you next...).

Any advice on how to catch a couple? Should we pretend to play dumb and let them figure things out for us? Will doing my hair and makeup help? Does Avram need to change his major to Family and Social Sciences so they know we're not planning a competing career with them? Please, all advice welcome. And I mean all advice. Because once, I read a blog that asked the same thing, and I posted a comment the size of a novel, and it was the first comment I ever posted, and I felt so stupid after posting it (especially because hey, certainly I don't have making friends all figured out per this post) that I've never commented again. I'm sure none of you will top my gaucheness, so you should all give me ideas. Or names and phone numbers, if you know anyone locally.


  1. I love that you're looking out for friends. It's kind of sad, but once Greg and I got married, we sort of just stuck to each other and a few couples from our old group that got married around the same time (one even on the same day, half an hour after us in the same temple!)

    Great idea to run an add! Love that! I obviously have zero advice for you, but I wish you luck!

  2. Good thing your not thinking of running a subtract!! I meant AD, of course.

  3. dont have any advise. We dont really do couple friends. Cory doesnt particularly like being social. He likes to play with the kids and if they are asleep he likes to play viedo games or read online about anything to do with BYU football. He shares these two passions with his brother ( the 31 year old single one) So no wife for me to befriend. I spend most of my time being alone surfing the web, reading, or trying to get soren to come over and talk to me for he likes to have long politcal conversations and i love it. I am making a real effort.. like the most i have ever made.. to be friends with someone ward. I have even had three play dates at one womens house and I like her alot but it makes me nervouse like a little kid ( man this is getting long maybe i should blog this topic on my blog!) anyways i am kind of talkative and its hard to find people that want to hang out with us that we in turn are interested in. anyways if you figure out how to make couple friends let me know since we are still floundering in that area. One day we will hopefully figure it out.. if only we can find a man that loves BYU sports with a wife that likes to talk and is not judgmental of my loud crazy messy house!

  4. I know people in Columbus. Old, very non-LDS-lifestyle people. Single. I don't think they fit the bill. Good luck in the hunt.

    My man doesn't do friends which is sad for me. He does family which is happy for me.

  5. Finding good couple friends is such a struggle! We only have one set of couple friends locally, as it's hard to find a gal that I connect with (period) who happens to be married to a guy Neil can respect (tricky). Even in the church not many men are as family focused as Neil, who would rather hang out with his kids than do just about anything else. Who doesn't play or follow sports or spend inordinate amounts of time in front of the tv.

    It sure makes those rare couple friendships all the more wonderful and apt to be cherished.

    One thing I've learned is that you need to be you. Maybe in small doses at first (personally, I've scared people by being too honest and open), but the best kinds of friends are the kinds you can be real with.

  6. I hope you consider us friends! We've both enjoyed the time we've been able to spend with you since you got here. Your kids are great, Linus gets to talk Semitic languages among other things, and well, there's not that many other couples here that we're able to have "deep" or intellectual conversations with who are also LDS, so I'm excited to have you here! And I even have a birthday present for you already, so definitely consider us a caught couple. You'll remember I even played in the Medieval Music group with Sarah and Matt for two years. So, minus the role-playing and re-enactment, we have a bit of the medieval covered, we love cooking (well, I love cooking and Linus loves helping as long as he gets to eat something when it's over), we love "intellectual" conversations, and we're also hopeful campers. I hope you consider us when you sort through all the responses to your personal ad! ;)

    P.S. Looking forward to your birthday this coming weekend! Let us know details when you know them!

  7. Well, Carol and I have had some success with making new couple friends. Doing things with them may not happen as often as we would like, and sometimes it is hard to coordinate times, but there are those we like to get together with repeatedly. And those that Carol would feel comfortable calling to get help.

    The thing that has helped us has been keeping your ears open to find out when someone is interested in something, then having them join you for an activity that involves it (as long as it is something you like). We have invited families that like cooking over for a meal, and were invited to their house for fondue before Stake conference. It was great. We had a couple that we played board games with somewhat regularly until they moved away. For a while, I was with an art group that got together each week and got creative. That was a lot of fun (I was a little outclasses. One of the guys was a graphic designer, one was getting his masters from the UW, one was the political cartoonist for the Seattle Times). But we all had fun (imagine a pumpkin carving fest where 50 jack-o-lanterns are carved in one night, and include everything from scenes of a harvest to cartoon characters).

    Another idea that I found works good as a place to start -- those Avram home teaches and those that home teach your family. After doing stuff with them, they will spread their experience around to others, and if people are interested, they will come to you and ask about it. I love home teachers.

  8. This is my making couple/family friends advice that I am trying really hard to follow myself: invite people over. Dinner is a good one, because everybody eats, Game nights are good for most people, and allow you to talk about lots of things and discover other things you may have in common, and FHE is good for anyone LDS (or probably some who aren't, too, if you are feeling missionary-y).
    Just invite people over. And then invite someone else over. and if you ahve a good time, invite them over again. You should have a very large supply of people in your ward, and it can be anyone. And wait until you feel that you are both excited about seeing more of them (you don't have to force it), and invite them over more.
    It is also good, like Kevin said, to pay attention to special interests that people have and invite them to do something realted to that. I have gone thrift store shopping with someone in our ward, and someone else came over to can peaches with us. But for the most part, I am almost entirely oblivious to other people as individuals in a large group setting. It is really hard for me to intuit or remember personal things. Kevin is the one who does this in our relationship. (Yea for opposite gender roles!)
    So that is my advice in a nutshell--just go for it, and keep going until you click. "Date" every couple in your ward. Make a weekly or bi-weekly, or some regular night that is your "invite a family over night" and I promise you will make friends, because secretly everyone out there is just sitting at home wating for people to want to interact with them socially and set up a situation for them to do so without any effort of their own.