STARTING OVER AGAIN
You need single friends now
A Series of Articles on Adjusting to Divorce
By Harlan Jacobsen
WE ALL RECOGNIZE THAT WE HAVE A VACUUM IN THE FRIEND DEPARTMENT AFTER DIVORCE
However, you say right now, I donít know for sure what I want friends for. I can get along just fine by myself, thank you.
You may have at one time decided that being dropped, betrayed, or deserted was not worth the risk with new people after your traumatic divorce experience.
TO KEEP FROM GETTING HURT AGAIN, I WILL JUST WITHDRAW FROM THE WHOLE "FRIEND" RAT RACE
Itíll just be "me & the kids" against the world. Iím feeling too vulnerable, unsure of myself, that I may be taken advantage of, that I may be "used" again. Therefore, count me out.
DO YOU NOW TRUST PEOPLE UNTIL THEY ARE PROVEN UNTRUSTWORTHY OR DO YOU NOT TRUST PEOPLE UNTIL PROVEN TRUSTWORTHY?
After divorce it is usually the latter. Whichever way you believe, people will detect it and will rarely disappoint you. Allow yourself to start trusting again. Practice letting them know that you have great confidence in them. Again they will rarely disappoint you.
BUT ALL THESE SINGLES RUNNING AROUND OUT THERE ARE ALL SUCH LOSERS
Iíd be better off with nobody than a bunch of "losers" as friends. Many of us long-married have been programmed that there was something" wrong" with singles or people who get divorced, and that if there was nothing" wrong" with them they would still be married.
One of your problems now is that was your programming is that if you get out and mix with them, then you must be a "loser" too. If you stay home and pretend you are not one of them, you escape.
Is the bottle half empty or half full? Most newly divorced are coming from a negative position. Is this new person half perfect or half defective? You will see only the defects with your negative attitude.
There is a little verse that I have forgotten exactly that says in a friend you take the wheat and chaff together and you blow away the chaff.
A FRIEND IS SOMEONE WHO YOU ACCEPT FOR WHAT THEY ARE AND IGNORE THE DEFECTS.
Every person has something good to offer that you can gain from and whether married or single they all have defects. If you expect your friends to be "perfect" then you are not going to develop any friends.
IT IS NOT SO MUCH WHERE YOU GO AND WHO YOU MEET AS IT IS YOUR ATTITUDE
Most newly singled are scurrying about looking, looking, looking for Mr. or Ms. Perfect. You need to get your basic programming and attitudes about the whole thing together before you are going to have much success anywhere.
ATTEND SINGLES FUNCTIONS AND ANY ACTIVITY THAT INCLUDES NUMBERS OF SINGLES
The law of averages says that the more people you are exposed to the more you will develop as potential friends.
NOT EVERYBODY WILL LIKE YOU, AND ACCEPT YOU. óONLY A SMALL PERCENTAGE WILL
That is normal. You wonít like everybody you meet either and that is normal. You wonít be good at developing friends initially, you have to get back in practice. Right now you donít have many friends and you are out of practice in developing friends. So donít expect to hit a home run the first time you go out for practice.
EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW - WHERE IS MR. OR MS. RIGHT HANGING OUT SO I CAN GO THERE AND MEET THEM
"Why waste a lot of time having me read all this stuff? Just tell me where to go so I can get with it." Thatís the normal response. We say you probably are not ready for Mr. or Ms. Right and wouldnít recognize them now if you met them. What you need now is "friends of all types."
EVERYBODY GIVES YOU ADVICE LIKE "YOU CAN MEET PEOPLE ANYWHERE."
True, you can, and a lot of us are just into meeting people when we are in the mood and all charged up for the hunt. They may be right in front of us at other times and since we are doing something else right now, we never think of taking advantage of these great opportunities that fall in our lap.
So you need to be alert to opportunities everywhere. This includes the supermarket, the laundromat, the bowling alley, at work, eating in a public place, etc.
In other words, get your radar going.
BE ON A 24 HOUR ALERT FOR POTENTIAL FRIENDS WHEREVER YOU HAVE CONTACT WITH PEOPLE
Some singles are only open to meeting new friends, etc., when they go out Friday night between 9 and 12 pm. When you become divorced and lose all of your married friends, you are about as close to zero in the friends department as you are ever going to get.
NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO TAKE UP A NEW HOBBY
Some collect stamps, some collect salt & pepper shakers, rocks, etc.
THE NEWLY DIVORCED SHOULD MAKE THEIR NEW HOBBY COLLECTING FRIENDS
Figure out first of all specifically what kind of friends you want to collect. Remember, you eventually have time and room and appreciation for only a very limited number, and though you have lots of room for friends now, you still need some idea of what you are really interested in collecting out of the ordinary.
FIND OUT WHATíS AVAILABLE, WHAT YOU HAVE TO PAY OR DO TO GET THEM, AND WILL THEY BE WORTH IT TO YOU IN ENJOYMENT
Get out there and learn all about your new hobby. Soon you will recognize a real "find" and you will also recognize what would be junk or clutter in your collection. Get your collection going with whatís available and add new and better all the time, and discard those you get less enjoyment from to make room for the better.
YOUR TASTE AND VALUES IN COLLECTING WILL CHANGE OVER TIME
The big thing now is to recognize that the result of your new hobby will be overall greater happiness and success. Most peopleís happiness and success (financial and otherwise), research shows, are often directly as a result of friends and through friends.
RECOGNIZE THAT YOU NEED TO HAVE MANY FRIENDS, NOT JUST ONE
Each one can fill a different need or some collective needs. Each will help you grow and expand your life.
LET EVERYONE KNOW YOU ARE OPEN TO DEVELOPING AND COLLECTING NEW FRIENDS
Most people have a network of single friends and are not very open about developing new ones. You will be a refreshing change. You can let your present friends know you are open and interested in developing lots of new friends. We ran a survey a few years ago of how second time arounders met their new mate.
MORE SECOND TIME AROUND MARRIAGES, FOR EXAMPLE, MET THROUGH FRIENDS THAN ANY OTHER WAY
So tell your present friends and associates what kind of new friends you are interested in meeting. They are meeting a lot of different people that you are not. You can be several different places at once by having your friends "pre-shop" for you.
THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO MEET PEOPLE AT GROUPS, JUST AS THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO HUNT DUCKS
One way to hunt ducks is to run up and down the river trying to find the place where the ducks are at the moment.
This is like running from one singles social activity to another.
The other way to hunt ducks is to build a blind and sit there waiting for the ducks to come to you and your "Decoys."
When you become involved in a singles or some social group or activity and attend regularly, eventually most newly singled will stop in and check it out. Then you will meet or have an opportunity to meet darn near everybody that circulates in the social singles network.
One way requires running around a lot, often frustrating (and the ducks may be moving just ahead of you) and the other is to just relax and enjoy yourself at the blind and they will come to you.
YOUR JOB CAN BE A GREAT PLACE TO MEET PEOPLE, OR A POOR PLACE
A great place if you have a lot of contact with the general public or a poor place if the only people you meet "work there." You need friends outside of your apartment complex. Both work and apartment can be rather awkward when you want to end a friendship, etc., and various other reasons.
ONE SINGLE FELLOW SAID HE WENT TO WORK FOR AN HOUR OR TWO (NO PAY) AT THE LOCAL CONVENIENCE MARKET WHENEVER HE WANTED TO MEET SOMEONE NEW
He had discovered when he worked there part time that it was a great place to meet people. If your regular job has little or no public contact, maybe a part time job where you meet people would help in more ways than one. Be sure you find a job where the type of ducks you want go by.
RECOGNIZE WE ALL NEED PEOPLE! NEWLY DIVORCED HAVE A LACK OF PEOPLE JUST WHEN THEY NEED THEM MOST
So you have probably been out of practice in developing friends. You may tend to "overuse" the friends you develop. Just hang in there, practice finding, developing and strengthening new relationships with other single people. Soon it will all start to flow.
NOW THAT IíVE SAID "HI THERE" HOW DO I MAKE A FRIEND OUT OF A STRANGER? (More on all this next issue)