This is my first time writing a book review and I thought I would do it differently since this story creepily resembles pieces of my own introvert journey. How I will do it differently is by breaking it up into a series as I would like to share a few stories that are just as embarrassing as Jessica’s and since I have a few, why not spread them out?
Alright! So the book is similar to “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, where the author has a mid-life type crisis and wants to do something way over the top to solve it. Except instead of traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia to solve her crisis, Jessica solves it in her own backyard, also known as London. Jessica’s crisis is her lack of ability to make friends around the age of 32. I believe she is 32 in the story, but if not it doesn’t really matter as everyone knows you can have a crisis at any stage in life, let’s be real.
Now, Jessica realizes her crisis when she quits her job in London and notices she has no one to talk to except her husband. Her friends are spread around the world and she realizes all of her friends came to her through external circumstances such as: sitting next to them in university or working together as colleagues. She never went out of her way to become friends with them. They just naturally came together. But now without a job she realizes she needs to spread her introvert wings a bit if she doesn’t want to fight loneliness forever. And thus the story begins as she dedicates one year to extroverting in order to make friends.
Okay, now how does her story resemble mine? Well if you don’t know this about me, I am also an introvert, but not the typical shy kind. Instead, I am the bubbly, goofy and openly speak mind kind, but at the end of the day people exhaust the shit out of me which is how I know I am still an introvert. Also, living alone doesn’t scare me. Ask any extrovert if they like being alone because I have found most of them hate it. Of course there are other signs as well, but those are the main factors.
So what did Jess do during her year of extroverting for friends, which I have also done?
Well, she joined Bumble, which I have also done.
The swipe swipin for friends? Yeah. It’s weird, but lends to a good story.
I joined it when I moved across the United States from California to North Carolina in 2016. I was 23 and living alone. I knew zero people in North Carolina and the only person I talked to was my mom on the phone everyday at lunch. So you could say, I didn’t know what else to do.
The girls I would match with were also new to Charlotte, North Carolina, which made sense. I soon found out that most people who lived in Charlotte were not from there, which made meeting people a little easier as they were looking for friends too. However as most dating apps go, the people on there were half ass. I believe I only met up with one girl, which is funny because so did Jess.
The girl I met with was petite, showy, insecure like me, and tried her best. We met over lunch in the middle of the city during work and it started out with the basic questions. Where are you from? What do you like to do for fun? How long have you been here? And it was awkward. There was no spark. No zazz. Just two lonely girls eating pasta trying to pretend like we weren’t lonely. The whole experience was kind of pathetic and she felt the same way too because when we passed each other on the street one day, she pretended like she didn’t know me. Or maybe she just forgot me because that’s how forgettable that friend date was. And yeah I would call it a friend date. We were literally at lunch scoping each other for spark. It was a date!
Stay tuned to next week’s blog as I continue this series of embarrassing stories of how I’ve tried to make friends.