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Lives of Doctor Wives: Making friends: Where there is one, there are many

Friday, March 13, 2015

Making friends: Where there is one, there are many

I’ve always been envious of natural networkers. Extroverts. People totally in their element walking up to strangers, shaking hands and striking up a conversation out of thin air.

Me? I’m an introvert and struggle with social anxiety, so making friends when residency brought us to a small town where everyone seemed to know each other was a challenge.

I was basically friendless for almost a year. When my husband was at work late on weekend nights, he would text me to ask what I was doing.

My responses didn’t vary much from week to week.

"Watching Netflix."


"Petting the cats."

He would encourage me to join some of the other residents who were off work that night and going out to dinner. As if I would ever do that.

Even though my job and a volunteer opportunity doing marketing for the local pet shelter took up most of my time, I still hadn’t met anyone I could call up to hang out with on the weekend when my husband was busy working.

That year was lonely, but eventually I made friends. How?

I made one friend at first. Just one.

My co-worker encouraged me to attend a networking event of local young professionals, which I did. I had a death grip on my water glass and made awkward conversation with the few people I had met in the nine months we’d been living in our new town.

Then one dear, sweet girl – one of those extroverts, and the wife of a resident in a different program – approached me. She started chatting away and even invited me to go out for drinks with a group of her friend. As nervous as that made me, I agreed to go.

This continued for a few months – she would invite me to another event or send me a Facebook message asking if I would like to come with her and her friends hiking, volunteering or to a concert. I went each time even though I was mentally coming up with excuses to say no.

To my surprise, her friends accepted me, and before I knew it, I had more than one friend.

I was going to book clubs, girls’ movie nights and concerts in the park. I was laughing and smiling more. Now, when my husband texts me asking what’s on Netflix when he’s at work late, I’m not always home. Sometimes I’m actually out having dinner with friends that I made myself.

We’re approaching the end of residency, and I’ll be sad to leave these friends. I don’t know if I’ve made lifelong friendships, but I’m grateful I met the people I did and for the girl who took me under her wing.

I hope I will have the opportunity to do that for someone else.

~ Marisa Z.

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