Networking (edited)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We have lived here for less than 5 years. In that time, they only people I've really "met" (other than the wives of Mr. A's coworkers) are the people I volunteer with at the pregnancy center. And they are all at least 15 years older than me. Not that being that age is a bad thing....

I went to a mini-retreat recently, and if you can believe it, I think there were only three of us under the age of 75.... the three of us being me, and two other 50-year old's. Not that being that age is a bad thing....

But one of my goals is to make more friends this year and really put more feelers out. So I was trying not to be (too) discouraged.

So while I was talking with one of the 50-year old's at the retreat, she mentioned that she regularly does 10-mile runs and that she wanted to do a marathon this year. (She is exactly the athletic petite I-love-my-spinning-class 50-year old you are imagining.) My ears perked up- a marathon! I told her I've done two and that it's an experience of a lifetime. Guess what? She gave me her email in case I wanted to run with her sometime!! I gladly took it and plan on sending her an email to followup and let her know that I probably won't be starting to run long distances again anytime very soon (some medication coming up, of course), and that we will be having our first baby in December, so would she like to meet for coffee (regular, until CD1!) instead?

THEN. Last night we had an inservice for volunteering and we got to meet the volunteers in the current training class! And, miracle of miracles, one of the new girls at my table is a mid-late twenties married girl with no kids!!! She asked me if I thought she would be at a disadvantage in counseling since she didn't have any kids. I took that opportunity to tell her no, we don't have any kids, and we are actually desperately trying to have kids, and I still don't feel any trouble counseling our clients. God has been so faithful to me in helping me leave my personal struggles at the door. This girl ("S") was really sweet and said she would pray for us, and that they are starting to throw the idea of kids around, too. (Gulp.) I gave her my email in case she had any questions about volunteering or wanted to meet up sometime!

THEN. I was talking to a current volunteer who goes to a church we've been to several times recently (and are thinking about joining), and she said she is having a get together in a couple weeks at her house- an artist friend of her does the fancy egg decorating and is doing a workshop!! My friend said "It is mostly moms, but.........(long pause)...... not all." (Gulp.) But I figured, oh what the heck. I love going to church and seeing faces I know, and that is something that is so missing right now, so maybe I can handle a morning of mom talk amidst trying to paint an egg. How hard can it be? (I will link back here after I get home from that in tears!! Hahahaha)

So as I got in my car to come home last night, it occurred to me that I've actually been blessed with several opportunities to make more friends recently!! I feel really good about that. I hope some of these prospective friendships work out!! (And Mr. A and I joined a backpacking/hiking group and we are going to our first outing with them this weekend- we are hoping that there are some young couples there, too!) (Do we qualify as a young couple? Haha!)

And the other thing that surprised me as I was reflecting on last night was how easily I brought out our infertility to S. I was just telling my mom on Sunday that it is so hard for me to open up about it to strangers, but that is exactly what I did last night. I was telling my mom that I usually feel like no one really wants to process such a "heavy" topic when they don't even know anything else about you, but S was so gracious and comforting. Thank you God, for bringing both of us there last night!

In networking situations, what is your normal inclination about opening up about infertility? Have there been any exceptions to the rule?

**

Edited to add that "999 Reasons to Laugh at Infertility" used MY suggestion as her #790th reason! WOW! Go check it out!

15 comments:

Praying for Hope said...

Actually, I find it easier to discuss with strangers than people I know. Not that I ever bring it up, but on very rare occasions, it comes up.

My husband and I have been lamenting that we haven't many friends, and of those we have, not many are our age. Still, I appreciate the few friends we have.

Al said...

I'm so glad you're finding so many new people to connect with where you live! I haven't had a lot of luck with making friends either, but I hope I get as lucky as you soon.

And I agree with Hope, sometimes it's easier to talk with strangers about IF. Sometimes I like sliding it in there to raise awareness about it.

Katie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

I find it relatively easy to everyone about IF, but more so with strangers than with people I know. I'm glad you are meeting some new people and connecting with them!

callmemama said...

It is so hard to make friends! I'm glad you're finding a few new opportunities to make those connections, though :).

I tend to be open about my infertility to strangers or friends if the topic comes up and they actually seem interested. I don't need to bring up how long we've been trying only to have the other person brush it off though, so I guess I can be wary of just sharing with anyone.

Jessica said...

I also find it easier to open up to stranger about our IF struggles than people we know. I am pretty private IRL, but if it comes up I have found myself talking about more.

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Ann - Building a Nest said...

Haha! You KNOW I’m not a sharer, but there was Deb the hairdresser so I guess anything goes.

I tend to avoid serious topics at things like parties, networking events, etc. (places where there is more mingling versus one-on-one contact). That’s just my style to keep things light. This situation presented itself and it would seem natural to open up given what she was asking.

Hillary said...

So thankful the Lord is answering your prayers for some new potential friendships! So awesome. Hopefully if you decide to join a church that will be a whole other network of people to become like family with. :)

I'm pretty open about our IF with people and will mention it to acquantances if it comes up in some way. This has only backfired once with a very insensitive comment, but it was really my one and only so I'm ok taking the risk.

Ask or Imagine said...

Even though I don't bring up private matters on my own to people I don't really know, if I'm asked directly, I find myself just answering just as directly, even if I didn't really want to! But I just started working in a preschool in the fall and every single co-worker has individually, bluntly asked me, do you have kids (that's an ok question), when are you going to have kids (ugh, I try to be evasive), and, what, don't you WANT kids? Nope, I can't stand kids - that's why I'm loving on them at work all day long! But these questions have led to me being more frank than I wanted to be about our TTC situation. I need to stick to my guns about being evasive, because I just don't want my co-workers to know this about me, not already!

lowfatlady said...

That is awesome that your getting to make new friends. I need to do that more. Usually when networking or meeting new people I never bring up my IF.

Shazz said...

Funny you should have a post like this. We just moved to a small town nearly a year ago and I only really know a couple fo the neighbours and that's it. I too have been wanting to get out and meet more.

Leah said...

It sounds like you've been networking like crazy. That's awesome. ;-D I found with my infertility, the longer I experienced it, the more open I was with people. by the end, I would just come right out with it, and not feel any shame at all. I felt like opening up to people (even somewhat strangers) was very healing for me.

Andrea said...

I'm glad you are starting to meet new people and will hopefully make some friends! It's hard to get out there and meet people, so it's great that all of these opportunities have come up at once for you!

I have recently been telling a lot of people about my miscarriage. I don't know why, but I feel like talking about it more. It was such a major part of my life and still defines me today. So I've told the new friends I've made about it and I've talked some about the months afterward and how rough they were on me. I've discovered that sometimes if you tell someone you don't know about things like miscarriage and IF, it turns out that THEY have also experienced it. If we're always afraid to talk about it with people, they may feel the same...and then nobody would find out that they have that in common. It can be a comfort to find someone who understands, but you have to take a risk and talk about it to find that.

Basic Girl said...

That is so great you're meeting people and making new friends!! Good for you!! We recently moved to the suburbs, and I was so excited to meet new people, our neighbors, etc...but it ends up being hard without the baby connection, its frustrating to say the least. So I'm super proud of you for putting yourself out there!

Noelle said...

How wonderful it is that God is opening up such opportunities for you to make friends. Your new friend sounds like she will be a real blessing to you. I had to laugh when you described yourself at the retreat with everyone expect two being over 75.

I am not very good at making friends outside of work, mostly because I don't do anything besides work. (Kinda hard to make friends that way). My friends have always been 20 years older than me.

I am open about my miscarriage. If I had the opportunity to make friends, then I would probably mention my miscarriage. I think it would turn a lot of people off, but I would be able to see who would make my kind of friend.

I am proud of you for opening up. Good for you! And good for you for getting out their and trying to meet people and joining a hiking group.

And, you had better enjoy your regular coffee for now, because hopefully you will be resigned to decaf for a long time :)