Tuesday, August 5, 2014

5 Wrong Ways to Move

Hey everybody!

Now that I've got the solid update taken care of, I thought I would share something that has been on my mind:

I have moved somewhere around 20 times... Really. I went to 16 schools between kindergarten and high school. I also moved three times in college (and four times this summer if you count sheer box moving from place to place). Sheesh! I have only met a handful of people who have moved as often, and yes, all of them have military ties of some sort. I don't.

I just graduated and so many of my closest friends are heading off in different directions. I figure it's timely to share some of the lessons I've learned along the way. :)

#1. Make new friends and ignore the ones you had before moving

This one maybe only applies to me, as I developed habits of letting go early on. I imagine most people that have been in one or two places their whole life might not struggle with this as much as I have.

There are plenty of people in this world that I still regard as a best friend, although I have not seen or talked to them in years. I've only just learned that most of these people do not feel the same way about me anymore. I guess consistency is a major friendship thing. In my experience I've noticed that a lot of people will say that they will stay in contact with you... and then they won't. That's okay. Kind of. Life goes on and it turns out it's kind of hard to keep up long-distance friendships.

Perhaps a good option in the first place would be to set realistic goals. Leaving friends is pretty difficult for me, but you both find that the Earth still spins after moving. Maybe agree up front to contact each other, say, once a month, instead of once a week. It may sound insensitive to some, but it's better (in my opinion) than forgetting about each other and feeling guilty. That is not good. Be flexible and considerate of each other's lives. I don't get offended if someone forgets about me and I hope they do the same in return.

#2. Wallow in self-pity and lament your relocation to new associates

This one is embarrassing, haha. Granted, I think the last time I did this I was in eighth grade, but still. It's still a little tempting each time I move. I remember being at a ward Christmas party, sitting on Santa's lap (what? Why?) and saying, in front of two or three new friends, "Santa, I just want my old home and friends back." Oh my goodness. So dramatic. I can sympathize with pre-pubescent Claire, but still. I had new friends! They were really nice (Missoula peeps, if you read my blog, haha)!

Here's how I would--and do--handle my feelings now: "Wow, you guys are so cool! Thanks for letting me tag along with you [even though I am obviously caught in the throes of a middle-school crises]." I would be the realest kind of upbeat, because, guess what; you can find good, like-minded people pretty much anywhere if you adopt a healthy perspective. 

#3. Impress the people around with your razzle dazzle and make them want to hang out with you

This one comes from Dale Carnegie's [daughter], How to Win Friends and Influence People [for Teen Girls], which my loving parents bought for me in eighth grade, haha.

The concept here is that you will make friend's more easily by becoming genuinely interested in others than by trying to make others interested in you. Seriously. This one is easy to miss for me sometimes. I move in like an excited chihuahua and want to shout, "Hi! I'm Claire! I sing and dance and watch me put my foot on the back of my head!! Also, I'm sooo nice!" There is really no need to do this. At all. This totally rubs some people the wrong way anyway.

Here's a better approach: "Your name is what? You are from where? Oh, I've heard of that place! Don't they have ______? Cool (only say it if you mean it)!" Really, people like to be liked. Disclaimer: just be real! The more you let someone else open up, the more you may find you have in common with that person. Smile and be polite. Read social cues, like a glance at a watch or breaking eye contact with you. Just be a chill, personable little person and you will get along just fine!

#4. Listen "intently" to what others say to you and then dump the information a nano-second later

This one is a biggie for me. I am pretty detail-oriented and I remember names really well. I think this came from so many moves. It takes dedication. I've totally been there. I'll ask, "Oh, what's your name?" and as they are telling me, I am thinking about how pretty their earrings are or something and miss the name entirely. Then I'm locked in and have no other option than to find their name out secretly later or ask for it again. Note: there is no problem forgetting someone's name, especially when you are new and memorizing everybody's names; however, when you remember somebody's name (where they're from, which school they went to, etc.) that signals to them that you cared enough to log it away in your brain! That's great! Again, people like to feel interesting to others.

Here's how I remember names. I just concentrate on it as they tell me. If it's something not as "sticky" for me, sometimes I'll repeat it back or use it in a following sentence, like, "Thanks for sitting by me, Becky." Sometimes if I lose the memory of the person saying their name, I'll retain the memory of me saying their name. Also, if the name is tricky or hard to pronounce for me, I'll try to connect to something I do know. I'll tell myself, 'that sounds like ______, but with and "N."'

A last little tip on remembering names: I find that attaching someone's name to physical attributes is good, but only if it's something permanent; I.e., tall, brown eyes, cute nose. I say this because if you remember somebody for their mint jeans and top knot, you might run into that person at the gym, and have no idea who that person is. It's just more practical to commit more lasting characteristics to memory, in my experience.

#5. Figure there's no place like home and watch "Parks and Rec" all day. 

This has two implications:

     (1) Staying at your new home all day is bad news, and
     (2) Assuming no place could possibly as good (or better) than your last place

Guess what, I have loved everywhere I have lived. I really mean that. Every situation seems to have ups and downs. Take Texas for example, it is full of great food and friends and fun... and somebody got in our car last week. Strange. So very strange, indeed.

Bonus: #6. Lose yourself out there

Okay, so each move presents a blank slate. I've arrived in Texas pretty much as myself, but if I wanted to I could introduce myself as Clefairy, a tight-rope-walking vegan. This sounds like a far cry, but I've been Clarissa, the no-meat-eating triathlete before. It's a great time to leave the past behind you. Maybe you use to cry a lot in your last place and you'd like to give that up. Maybe you were a bully. Maybe you weren't as close to God as you would like to be. Moving is a great time to restructure some of those things because there is no one to say, "You don't do that."

While this is great, it is important to stay true to yourself. For me, I know the things I want to keep the most consistent throughout my whole life is that I am clean, I love my husband, and I am trying to be like Jesus. With this in mind, I am looking for new friends who will support me in those decisions. I know that I become a lot like the people I spend the most time with.

Well, I hope this hasn't come across as too preachy. I like learning from others' experiences and figure someone might benefit from what I have to say, too.

If you know anyone who is moving, restarting, or could in some other way benefit from reading this, please share it!

If you have any tips you could add, please comment below. I'd love to interact with you and find out what has helped you (I did just move, you know?)!

I hope you have a great day!

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