Being the new girl at school is exhausting. Not so much for my daughter who seems to be adjusting just fine, but for me.
In an effort to get involved in the school and get settled into our new city, I’ve taking every opportunity to meet new people, including volunteering in the classroom, signing up for PTA committees and taking daily soirees at the school playground.
While my daughter works the monkey bars, I work the parent crowd. I chat away with people I’ve known for less than three weeks, and inevitably I am introduced to a new parent in the process. A scenario like this plays out nearly every day.
I should be grateful for the friendliness of this community, and I am. Yet while this environment would be a tropical paradise for a social butterfly, it’s becoming a societal torture chamber for me.
Every day I must remember a new name and that person’s kid’s name. I must think of something interesting to say. After three weeks of non-stop small talk, my inner introvert is ready to raise the white flag.
Even family and old friends don’t offer much respite. We’ve been out of each other’s daily lives for 15 years. So while it’s easy to say “I knew you when,” it’s not so easy to say “I know you now.” I’m forging new relationships with people I’ve known for decades.
After a long phone conversation with a close friend the other night, she helped me realize why I’ve been completely exhausted, despite what seems like a less hectic schedule than the one I had just a few months ago. The small talk with strangers is sucking the life out of me.
So I’ve decided to take a lesson from my five-year-old. Instead of making friends with everyone in her class, she’s latched onto just one sweet girl. Instead of running around during recess, our daughter often hangs out with a teacher, quietly chatting the woman’s ear off.
My husband and I have been concerned about our daughter’s lack of effort in making new friends, but I think I’m beginning to understand. A fellow introvert in a new, chaotic environment, our daughter is smart enough to pace herself.
Maybe I need to do the same. So yesterday when one of the moms invited me to her crafting workshop this evening, I took a step back. I analyzed the situation. I contemplated whether I had the mental capacity to meet a bunch of new people.
And then I said “yes.” I’m a slow learner and obviously, I have a death wish.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go brush up on current events.