This weekend, to be honest, I’ve been tired. Tired of the fact that every time I go somewhere I feel like the outsider, and feel like I’m struggling to make conversation with people. It’s not just emotionally tiring, but also somehow physically exhausting. I know this is to be expected, that it’s going to take time to get to know people, that I had a pretty unique group of friends back in Swansea. I know all that, really I do. But this weekend it’s been a struggle.
On Friday, I had a long battle with myself trying to decide whether or not to go to the Friday Nights evening (social group of 20s & 30s from the church) – there was a quiz night at one couple’s house. It was the first time since I arrived that the Friday Nights group was taking place, and I know that going to events like this is going to help me make friends. But oh, what a struggle to get myself motivated to go. And the evening was a bit of a mixture – there were a lot of people there, most of whom knew each other really well. But I did get some good conversations with a few people that went slightly beyond the "So when did you move, what are you doing here, how are you finding it…" type. And the group I was in won the quiz.
This morning, I had a real fight to make myself go to church. It’s far harder to be in a group when you don’t know people – it really accentuates the isolation, when staying at home with the TV and the internet you can distract yourself somehow. I had a conversation with God before I went, along the lines of "God, I’m just too tired to deal with trying to be sociable afterwards – please help". I guess I’d pretty much decided that I’d just leave straight after the service and not put myself through all the hanging around looking lost with a mug of tea bit.
As I sat down this morning, someone I’d not met before turned round to chat, and to ask who I was, which was a relief that they were initiating the conversation this time, rather than me. Then one of the guys I’d met on Friday came over, said hello, and sat down next to me for the service. I don’t think he has any idea how much that meant to me – to have someone seeming to actually want my company, rather than me feel like I’m intruding on other people’s company. I didn’t tell him, as I didn’t want to make him feel like he needs to do the same again – but it made things so much easier. And then one of the girls I’d chatted to for a long time on Friday came over after the service, we chatted for a bit, and I have a dinner invite for some time soon. And I’ve now met the person who hosts the homegroup I’m now attached to – unfortunately I missed last week’s session as I was elsewhere in the country for work reasons.
Small things but oh, so needed.
It WILL get better. Hopefully soon.