Friday, May 2, 2014

Friends

The best part about travel nursing is the number of new friends I've made across the country. The hardest part about travel nursing? Making new friends.

You see, I went to a smallish rural high school where the people I graduated with are the same ones who pushed me down on the playground in kindergarten or who I puked on in gym class in third grade (just kidding - I actually puked in a potted plant, not gym class). All the friends I had in high school were people I had known my whole life. It was easy to be friends with them, and there were enough of them around that if you didn't like someone you just didn't hang out. When I got to college I was placed in a dorm with three hundred other people - a couple of us found ourselves living together the next year, and friendships were born. It's not hard to be friends with people when you have TV marathons at 4am and create hard copy calendars for pooping schedules and hold prank wars involving firecrackers in an underwear drawer or a Harry Potter doll set into jello. It's also not hard to make enemies when you have to fight a roommate over burnt out light bulbs or who forgot to wash a fork, but that's besides the point...

My actual point, which I've gotten kinda far from, is that in high school and college it's pretty easy to make friends. If one is super introverted it's a bit harder, but the opportunities are still there - in both schools there is a built-in group of people who one might have things in common with. Travel nursing removes that built-in group and forces me to step outside that comfort zone.

There is always the risk of rejection when meeting new people, because one doesn't have the benefit of being in a situation where you'll see them again and again for months or years and can mutually take the time to decide if a friendship should happen. Many times they don't want to invest in someone who they know will only be around for a short time. Sometimes you even hang out and discover that no, you actually don't like that person or vice versa. But you just have to put yourself out there on day one and hope that others will respond in kind.

I did just that in Austin - at one of my first post shift breakfasts I wrote my phone number on a bunch of pieces of the receipt and handed it out, saying "Guys. I don't have any friends here. I want to have friends. Call me if you're doing anything fun, okay? Here's my business card..." And it took a few weeks, but they did. And I made life long friends. So when I got to Denver and was seated in orientation next to a girl who works in a different department, we exchanged phone numbers after discovering that we didn't know anyone around. Tonight we met up for dinner, and have plans to grab drinks in another week or two. And there you have it. My first friend in Denver.

7 comments:

white bread said...

Disregard if this is creepy, but I'm an ER nurse and I live in Denver (which is pretty much the reason why I'm reading this blog). I'll be your friend!

battynurse said...

I remember those traveling days. I don't really miss them although I do miss one of the locations.

AmberAgony said...

I'm currently in nursing school and I want to get into traveling nursing. I watched my mom do a little travel nursing and it helped her figure out where she eventually wanted to settle down. I think my main fear would be about making friends, so its great to hear that people still respond to the good old "please hangout with me" :)

Roxana Hawelmai said...

I am studying to be an RN and I always thought it would be neat to be a traveling nurse. I am extremely introverted and not as brave as you, not sure if that would work for me. I like reading your posts, thanks for sharing!

Sarah S said...

I'm so glad to have found your blog and this post! I am starting my first assignment in North Carolina at the first of June. The one thing I'm most terrified of is how I will make friends, even though I'm traveling with someone. You have given me some balls with this!

K-P said...

I feel you. Love, lonely navy wife. (I'm basically a funny internet cat video encyclopedia)

Anonymous said...

I am an extreme introvert, and I have just gone through a divorce. So unless I want to be celibate for the remainder of my life, I have to "get out there" and meet people. Yay, or something.

I have found it immensely useful to treat the whole awkward social thing as if it were a play, and I one of the actors. I behave as I think an extrovert would, I'd I'll be damned if it isn't working! So maybe you could try that as well?