Soz, I am so much more comfortable after reading your post . Thanks for sharing. I do think I was taking it personally . How long did it take you to not do so?
I think I started to get it towards the end of living in my last place (IL), then got it a lot more at the beginning of living here (OH), then just really
got it a few months ago. I'll explain.
In IL, I definitely took it personally. I'd made major moves twice before that. The first was for college -- and I don't think there's a better environment for making friends than when you first go off to college. A dorm full of freshmen far away from home -- the definition of adults (if barely) who need to make friends. I stayed there eight years and some of my best friends when I left were the people I'd met my first week of college.
Then I moved to L.A. and worked my butt off for three years. I really didn't make many friends outside of work. Part of that was the culture of L.A. (like the culty people I mentioned before), part of it was that I worked so damn hard (60-80 hr weeks), part of it was that there was a lot of socializing that happened at work -- I was the director of an agency with eight staff members and usually about 50 clients at a time, and I also worked with peers at other agencies often -- so I didn't really feel a lack, socially. But there were constraints because of professionalism. (My peers were my closest friends but even then we rarely if ever got together outside of work. We'd just have very fun working lunches.
Then I moved to IL. That was the first time I moved someplace as an adult and tried to make friends. I wasn't working. I did volunteer a lot which helped save my sanity and introduced me to a lot of friendly acquaintances, but nobody emerged as a real friend. I did take a lot of that personally. Not coincidentally, that was when I first started being active in an online community (Abuzz).
I eventually (after a couple of years? forget how long it took) met my very good friend, and when the subject came up later we realized we both had taken it personally (our kids were the same age and we became stay-at-home parents at the same time) when it wasn't necessarily about us.
I kept that in mind when I moved here, and recognized that people were perfectly nice and friendly, just they already had their lives and they were pretty happy with them. There were a lot of people I nodded and smiled at, and then kept seeing them, and then things gradually just grew. Kindergarten is good for that too, especially if you wait outside to pick up the kids. Go early! That's how I made many friends, chatting as we waited to pick up the kids.
Anyway, what happened a few months ago is that the shoe was finally on the other foot. I've lived here five years and finally, finally, for the first time since I left my college town, feel really rooted. I have good friends who I see regularly, and scads of friendly acquaintances.
A new family moved in down the street, and the mom is nice but is really desperate to make new friends (they have some family here but otherwise don't know anyone). My own reaction, I find, is "eek." I'm busy, I have a lot going on, and I don't really want/ need the responsibility.
It's a little more complicated than that -- for example, she's nice but VERY hard for me to lipread. But still, it was a bit eye-opening.
Reading... nope, sozlet was relatively late to reading, if she's tearing things up now. People were "concerned" about it at the time (preschool/ early kindergarten), I didn't push though, just let her figure it out in her own time. I knew the basics were there (love of books, lots of modeling, enjoys school/ receptive to instruction, etc.) Funny about Hardy Boys, she's been devouring Nancy Drew lately.