Jun 3, 2008

Make People Like Me and Win a Prize!

Yesterday we took our good friends the M*'s to the airport. My friend Diane will be back at the end of the month for graduation but the kids are gone for good.

It's the beginning of the end and I'm bummed about it. From this point on, we'll be saying a lot of good-byes. Good bye to work friends, church friends, family, and school friends. And in a few short weeks, sometime in the middle of August, we'll arrive in Japan and start the whole process of making new friends all over again.

And that stinks. Wanna know why? Because to know is to love us. But to first meet us, is usually to feel slightly disturbed and uncomfortable; possible frightened by us. Not ideal for the making of first impressions.

Here are a few of the more annoying character traits we possess which may or may not scare off potential friends:

1. We're chronically late. Especially to church.
1a. This is all my fault and I take full responsiblity.
1aa. Sunday is the one day of the week I bother to do all of the following things: *Take a shower. *Blow dry and style my hair. *Apply make-up. *Coordinate a matching outfit comprised of a clean and wrinkle free clothing. *Shave my legs.
(Every other day, you may get up to three of those things, but it's a crap-shoot. Only on Sunday do I go all out. And it's hard when sleeping in until the last possible minute.)
1aaa. I don't always shave my legs.

2. We're sarcastic.
2a. This is mostly Doug's problem. I mean "special trait". When we meet new people together, the first thing I say is "Don't take anything he says seriously. He's just kidding. He's very sarcastic." This may or may not prevent that person from being offended at the first thing out of his mouth. Or they may or may not think I'm just being sarcastic.

3. We're a bit messy.
3a. Doug truly believes he's a neat-nick. But he's not, and neither am I. And surprisingly, neither are our kids. So our house may appear a little cluttered, though I like to think of it as "alternatively styled".
3aaa. At least I keep my Ikea dishes in Rainbow order!

4. Our boys are not always calm and don't always play well with others.
4a. Some might use the word "naughty".
4aa. Some might also use "out-of-control, undisciplined, demonic little terrors." But they would be wrong because our boys are NOT that little.

5. I'm bossy and opinionated and I probably over-share far too early in every relationship. That's just part of my charm.

You're probably thinking; "That's not MY problem with the Dubs. MY problem is that they have terrible breathe and they're close-talkers!"

Whatever the case, we do have some redeeming qualities; We're good at making yummy breakfasts, and we like to do fun stuff! And sometimes Doug is really funny when he tries. (And after I've coached him a little.)

But we still need a little help. So here is what I want to know;

*What do you look for in potential friends?
*What attracks you to someone, (or to a couple) that makes you want to get to know him/her (or them) better?
*What are your friend turn-offs?
* Can you, personally, be bought with baked-goods? If so, what kinds?
As an added incentive for you to comment, the person to leave the BEST ADVICE (as determined by Doug and I) will win some HOMEMADE SNICKERDOODLES!!! Because until I know better, I'll just keeping using this method to win friends and influence people. GOOD LUCK!

(Please feel free to comment even if you're a lurker. We need all the help we can get!!! Who know's if people in Japan can be bought with Snickerdoodles!?!?)

(FYI, you do NOT need an account to comment. Just check the "name" circle and type in your name.)


Jennifer said...

I remember when Courtney Budd and I became good friends well. It was when she called me from Costco out of the blue just to see if she could pick anything up for me. I've always remembered that and have applied said lesson to our new life here in Connecticut.

Good luck in Japan!

Carina said...

Funnily enough, I think we'd get along famously. My super-sarcastic husband would probably like yours. And we're raising two angels, I mean demons; I don't know what they are but they sure are fun!

Finding couples that match both of us are practically impossible. Other Half is a sarcastic, introverted mathematician (but who is hilarious once he opens up.) He makes friends slowly, I make friends in a flash. I'm loud, opinionated, and over share. So, you tell me, I have no idea.

My best advice is a lecture to your husband about what he can't say, or should say, so that he doesn't scare people off.

FOX said...

I think to keep/make friends/family you should NOT stop commenting on their blog!!!

Mrs. Dub said...

This post was hilarious - although most of the funny tidbits could be said about this Dub fam as well.

For me, it's all about pop culture. Do you like "The Office"? Probably friends. Do you like "Arrested Development?" Definitely friends. Did you love "Hot Rod." Soulmates.

Melissa Abby said...

So sad that everyone is leaving! I don't know what advice to give you guys cuz we liked you from the start and you didn't even have to do anything :)

Anonymous said...

The only reason I became your friend was because you kept inviting me over for Taco Stuff and I haven't been able to leave you alone since :)

Unknown said...

When I move into a new ward/town (as I will be doing next week), I totally judge people high school style. Do they look cool? Would I look cool hanging out with them? Would other people think I'm popular if I sit next to her? Questions like that.

I also agree with Mrs. Dub in her pop culture analysis. But don't be afraid to work it backwards too. Do they like The Office? Probably friends. Is their favorite movie Return to Me? Keep your distance. Do their kids wear Dora shoes to church (or ever)? Ignore them even when spoken to directly.

You'll have (cool) friends in no time!

Jessi said...

I don't think you'll have any problems making friends. I want to be your friend and I've never met you!

Anonymous said...

I'm a new lurker. I think my google reader suggested your blog, not sure. Anyway I make friends real easy and I think my best advice would just be honest. Make fun of your "less then great" qualities. And in the beginning of a new friendship dont try to hard. I cant stand a needy friend.
From what I can tell you and your family seem great and I'm sure you wont have any problems.
PS this is the 2nd try w/ this comment. Hopefully I dont end up w/ a million of these.

Naomi said...

It's all about the shoes. Cool shoes=cool people.

I don't remember you having ugly or dumb shoes in HS, so this method obviously works.

acte gratuit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynnette said...

I'm new (I came over from Hollywood's blog) but I think the fact that you overshare is a good thing - at least if you want to make friends with really shy, introverted people like me. It makes me comfortable, and I have to do less talking. Also, I do love me some snickerdoodles...

Bartimaeus said...

This is what I have to say! And I am neat.


The Jonas Family said...

my guess is if you are brutally honest about your self to others, like you are on your blog, you will make some friends and others that don't like what they see won't be your friends.

Food is always good to win over friend! Sweets or a nice homemade loaf of bread or rolls!

It is good to make couple friends who like to do the same things as you guys like to do.

And I always seems to make friends with moms that have children of the same sex and age of my kids. do you?

DianeM said...

Oh Em, this post makes me super sad. Sure I swam in my very own pool today with palm trees all around...but I do miss Rhody because you really, really do make the best breakfast ever. OK, I don't miss Rhody that much...BUT, I miss a handful of people there, and you and Doogie are way up there (and your little hellions)!!! I liked Mrs. Dub's advice. It's something we talked about. Remember??! Did you like Juno? OK, we can be friends. It's very simple. Nobody cares if you're late to church or have a messy house. Or they do, but then they're super lame and you don't want to be their friends. Basically what I'm really saying through all my rambling is I want your snickerdoodles. I totally got ripped off because we all know I should've won Doug's photo caption contest. Just because I used a naughty word he disqualified me, and that's not cool. So just pretend I said something brilliant and give me my *$*#*$ cookies.

And as an afterthough...Be nicer to Doogie, he has never once offended me and I did witness you trying to push him down the stairs. That should make up for swearing on his blog, I think.

Thora said...

Another Lurker here.

I'm going to disagree with a lot of the ideas here, so that probably means that this isn't a method that your friends (and hence you) use, so oh, well. (Also, for a first de-lurking comment I really ought to say only positive things, another oh, well).

I think that at this point in your life, where you're married and with children, and especially with moving to Japan, being too specific about what kind of people match your type might limit yourself to the point of no friends, or very few options at least.

I'm not saying that you need to become close friends with anyone, just to prove that you're Christ-like or "nice," but not to cross out potential friends based on what television shows they watch.

For example, my husband and I don't have a TV, and never have in our marriage (don't worry, we still manage to waste time other ways, like the Internet). Does this mean that everytime a couple uses the tv show test on us and we fail that we're doomed to no friends, or even that we couldn't be friends with these people?

Often in my own life when I've detailed out what I like in a friend, then I've missed becoming someones friend until circumstances put us together regardless, and I discovered the friendship anyway.

My husband and I have been living in England for the last year, after leaving undergraduate and all of our friends that we had had for what felt like forever. Mostly here we've spent time socially with another American couple; although they're about 8-10 years older than us, and both have doctorates (she was doing a post-doc in Math here, he has a Ph.d. in C.S.), and just one son, who's four, while I'm a stay at home mom, and my husband is a master's student in Jewish Studies and two girls, two and a baby.

Back in America I never would have thought I would have been their friends; the age differences were too great, they have a lot more education than me, etc, etc. But it's been fun getting to know them. I have to admit, it's not as easy making friends when you don't get to zone in on your specific interests.

I still miss my friends that I was comfortable with, that fit my specific interests to a T, but living in England, where there aren't as many young couples in our ward, and the people who aren't members spend a lot of social time drinking, I don't have the luxury of hand-picking my friends.

But they're still good friends. And broadening my definition of who can fit in with me and my husband has been good for me coming out of my own rigid ideas of who my friends are.

So I've been blabbing on and on about me, what does this have to do with you? Well, I'm sure Japan will have even less similar couples to offer.

As far as practical advice on how to make these couple friends, I'm still working on it myself. After all, you do need some common ground and interests; just not necessarily the ones you think you need. I've known people who invite couples to their home for dinner and games/some sort of conversation inducing activity and do this with somewhere they move to, until they've made a lot of acquaintances, some of whom transition into friends.

Also, I liked the point that your first commenter made (although I'd probably feel too awkward to do it myself).

Sorry I wrote a novel. And I do think it can be fun to meet someone who does watch the same shows/have the same hobbies, and if you can find people who do, that's great too (I don't want to offend the people who actually know you).

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should make all new people you meet aware of your blog and those, depending on their comments, that respond, you will be able tell whether there might be some potential friendship possibilities. Otherwise, just be yourselves and those kindred spirits with similar quirkiness traits, will seek you out, as they too may be having trouble finding new friends.

acte gratuit said...

uh oh! I shoulda added another point. We're not snappy dressers. I'm a reformed polyester-buying thrift-store shopper who now shops almost exclusively in the 50% off rack at Target.

It's not like I'm opposed to nice clothes, I just don't have the time or money to buy them!

Naomi said...

Notice that I said "cool" shoes, not "expensive" shoes. They are LOTS of non-cool, expensive clothes out there.

(And you know that I'm only being half-serious about the shoe criteria, right?) ;)

Linz said...

Wow! Lots of opinions!! My advice is to just be yourself! To know you really is to love you! (But baked goods do help.) Maybe have a breakfast party once you get to Japan, so your first impression is a home run!! *wink*

But really, we love you guys and we are so so so glad that we got to come visit you in RI. That is a cherished memory for me! And yes, we are planning to visit in Japan if we can make it work!

Good luck with everything!!!

Anonymous said...

I say that pick out and make a list of "cheerio sporting" attractive families at church!

Then after you have made this list of families, you bake them all a cake (with frosting and sprinkles) and shove a big huge "NARLY" carrot through the middle! (a washed one of course!)

THEN, the family that is gutsy enough to come ask, "hey, what's up with the carrot?"

Well then they are the victims (I mean) family that should be your new best friends!!!!!

Based on the information divulged by you in this post!

The Jonas Family said...

I think you should pick out the friends you want to be friends with and make them like YOU, no matter what!

The Jonas Family said...

Invite who you want to make friends with over for one of your fabulous breakfasts and they will be your friends!

The Jonas Family said...

I want some snickerdoodle cookies!

The Jonas Family said...

Make up a competition that people have to pass to become your friends!

FOX said...

Friends are over-rated!!! I say you do nothing and wait for them to flock to you!!!!!!

At least that way you will know you are appreciated!!!!!!

Feel free to quote me on this negativity!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ok, so after staying up until 1 am to finish the Karate Kid II (where they go to Okinawa), my new advice is to hold a big "Karate Kick Off" party and the last one standing is your new best friend. Make them fight for your friendship! That is a perfect way to figure out who the "losers" are. :)

By the way, I love the huge carrot in the cake idea....but I do have believe that my "karate kick off" party idea will win the snickerdoodles.

Becky said...

Hi! I'm a lurker who enjoys your blog...in fact, I wish I actually knew you because I bet we'd be friends in real life (that sounds way cheesy, but oh well). Anyway, my advice: Be yourself! If people don't accept you and like you for who you truly are, why would you want to be friends with them anyway??

Also, remember in order to make friends it is important to be a friend! Be kind and friendly to people at church, the park, etc and the rest will just happen naturally. Stay away from the cliques (we all know they are there in wards!).

Good luck! Can't wait to read more about your adventures in Japan. Happy friend hunting.

mama bear said...

Anytime I move I tell myself that I will be different. For example, when we moved to SF I swore that nobody would think of me as someone who is easily teased and tormented. Then I met Doug. I swear he could smell it on me! My point here is, you can't change who you are and that's a good thing.

Did you ever see the episode of King of Queens where they are looking for a new couple to be friends with? It was pretty funny, especially when they like one person from each of 2 couples and wanted to hook them up to make the perfect couple!

I know everyone will love you, and Doug will most likely only confuse a few people into not know when he's being serious/joking. I know I don't have the best comment (laughed out loud when I read the one about the carrot) but I really could use some snickerdoodles to bring me out of my PPD!

Shelly said...

*What do you look for in potential friends?

A) Honesty. Despite the fact that you think you come off the ways you've in this blog, and you know I really disagree about your perception of people's reactions, if you're being yourselves, like totally legit, then who cares? People don't judge us as much as we like to think. And if we're honest, you know, true to ourselves and all that jazz, then at least people can't call you a liar on top of being a tardy-bug.
B) A sense of humor. Sarcasm can basically be considered a giant neon arrow, pointing at intelligence. And sometimes, you know, arrogance, but just fasten a muzzle-leash on Doug -- dentists still use those right? I might be biased because I don't think I could go an hour without making dry, sarcastic comments, but you know, I'm really cool and we're friends for a reason, so... no wait. I lost my point.
C) Humility: messy=down to Earth and chillax=good fun.
D) Attractive faces. (jk) But your boys are sooo cute, the little Japanese children won't know what hit 'em. Even if it is like an accidental jab in the arm, they'll think they're crying at the presence of such beautiful people. (I AM NOT JEALOUS)
E) People that care. I know you're only bossy and eager because you care. And you care because you have a great capacity for love. Let the Japanese figure it out too.

*What attracks you to someone, (or to a couple) that makes you want to get to know him/her (or them) better?

OBV their incredibly adorable children. And you know, daashing good looks, sense of style and articulateness. (Everything you guys have! Just have D wear his tots shirt! :])

*What are your friend turn-offs?
If they're dishonest, flake out a lot, patronizing, too perfect, stiff, overly-prudent-all that crap..

* Can you, personally, be bought with baked-goods? If so, what kinds?
Snickerdoodles, pies of every kind, that yummy seasoned chicken we had that one time?, cupcakes, visits to SF (it's a new baked good, all the rage. They sell tickets to the recipes on travel websites. It's just like booking a flight with the destination SF.)

If you can't tell, this is my attempt at averting studying geometry (I have no respect for it). That and I miss you guys a lot. Feel free to send me cookies regardless.

Love you!

<3 Shell-bell

FOX said...

Since I am related I can say what everyone else is thinking!!


Jeremy said...

Well, I don't know if I count as a lurker, or if it is too late for Snickerdoodles, but here's goes nothing.

Last time we relocated to unfamiliar territory we immediately set out to invite EVERY young couple of even remotely similar circumstances over for dinner. This accomplished two things. First, it told us if they liked my cooking. This is very important as the male ego must be stroked often. And, if they didn't like my food, it gives us the opportunity to see how well they lie (and still stroke my ego).

Second, it gave us the opportunity to see how well we got along. If they turned us off, they never got another invite and we screened their calls on the Caller ID. If we enjoyed the experience, we invited ourselves to their place to be sure they were as messy or more so than us, so we didn't have to wonder whether we were being judged.

Hope that helps. Worked for us. ;)

Good luck with the move.

Pinspot said...

Turns out I'm not very good at making friends, which is surprising because I'm so awesome.

But seriously...Here's what not to do, (based on past experience.)

1. Don't stick your finger in the mouth of someone else's baby to quiet them. Especially if you've known this person for less than a month.
2. If you start your period in the middle of Pictionary at dinner group, leaving a big friggin' stain on a cream colored couch, don't just leave without apologizing or offering to clean it up.
3. Don't tell anyone they remind you of some has-been TV star from the early 90's unless she's really, really pretty. Blossom = not pretty at all.
4. Don't talk about Star Wars or Star Trek. Ever. Don't hang $100 lightsaber replicas on your wall and offer to let your guest touch them after they've proved their worthiness.

You'd think these things were common sense. But, alas, they are not. I think you'll make friends super-fast-lickety-split because I like you a whole bunch and I have excellent taste.