Emma June Grosskopf Mask

Before my senior year at Roanoke College began, I won this essay contest that allowed me to speak in front of the entire freshmen class at their convocation event. You know, so I could bestow upon them some of my eternal wisdom.

During that speech, I spoke about how it’s important to put yourself out there. Yes, the speech was very rah-rah-Roanoke, but the message is still relevant. I said that you couldn’t wait for friends or experiences to fall into your lap, and I feel like it’s just as true now, while I’m living alone in my apartment with a Big Girl Job, than it was when I was living in the dorms at Roanoke.

So that’s why I was a little bit shocked when my new friend Betsy just fell into my lap.

Picture this: there I was, hanging out in my backyard, when her mom walked by with their dog and, quelle surprise, someone my age.

One friend request, an Instagram follow and a singlular, oddly professional email later, we were in.

After our inaugural hangout (where we each had a couple gin and tonics and shared probably too much personal information with each other, which, again, not quite the most shocking thing if you’ve ever met me), a Walmart trip and a recent drive to Baker, we are what I would definitely call “fast friends.”

Now don’t get me wrong, we aren’t sharing everything with each other. For example, on our way back from Baker Sunday night, I did not tell her that I was an inch from being carsick in the passenger seat (I would also like the record here to show that I never share that with any driver; I like to play a little game called Pretending-I-Didn’t-Inherit-the-Puke-Gene-From-My-Mother).

I’m going to also add that I have been out of the making-friends game for a while, which could be a dicey situation, seeing as I’ve sort of forgotten the rules.

But I feel like that’s okay, because Betsy doesn’t follow the rules either. I’ve discovered that I can double and triple text her, and she isn’t really fazed, because she does the same. I can double and triple check our plans (because I always get weirdly anxious and feel like everyone is always going to cancel on me), and she just rolls with it.

Bizarrely, when we hung out the first time, one of the first things in my apartment I showed her was my huge walk-in closet (which, as I’m sure I’ve noted before, is just a sort of random, extra, added-on room that I use to throw all of my crap in), and she didn’t even flinch.

I was impressed, because I probably would have run for the hills if I went to someone’s apartment and was faced with that much leopard print.

I think the point that I’m trying to make here is that while I’ve been lucky to come here and make friends with people I work with, folks who have become genuinely good friends of mine, it’s been a little bit of a struggle to move further than that. And it’s harder still, because I don’t actually mind hanging out by myself. There’s always some solo activity I can be engaging in. Cleaning, organizing, tanning in my backyard, reading, writing, ‘rithmetic (okay, maybe I’m getting carried away with that one), et cetera. There’s always something to do, but I miss making friends.

And while I have a strong (and I do mean strong) issue with people who blame COVID-19 for all of their problems, I do grudgingly admit that it plays a part. You can’t really GO places to “put yourself out there.” It’s a tougher landscape, which is why I’m glad to have good friends at my workplace.

But apparently, every once in a while, friends and experiences do indeed fall into your lap.

I guess I stand corrected.

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