From Our Board
“Moving In” – Trustee, Nancy Shay
Have you ever moved to a new community after living many years in another? After living for over 30 years in Bennington, Vermont, I moved to Delmar a little over two years ago to start a new life with my husband, Frank, after we married in June 2016. The Albany UU was a perfect connection since I had been active in the Bennington UU for years. There were so many activities to choose from! I could fill my entire week with UU activities. I tried to limit myself since I was also needing to build my new life with my husband and neighborhood.
I am not what I consider a confident person socially so connecting with people was a challenge. There were many coffee hours when I stood outside the Channing Hall door wondering if I would be able to go in when I really didn’t know anyone.
I finally realized that if I wanted to make some new friends I had to take some risks and initiate invitations. “Are you interested in lunch?” “Would you like to go for a walk?” “Maybe we could have coffee.”
My point here is that risking rejection is worth the possibility of a new connection with someone. Once I quit sitting back waiting for invitations, I made some real friends. In addition to the UU, my neighbors have been more than welcoming. We have a coffee group, birthday lunch group and a book group.
I still keep in touch with my Vermont friends but I feel that I have a solid network here now, too.
If you ever move to a new community after many years of comfort in another, here are some recommendations:
* You’re responsible for making yourself feel part of the community. Reach out.
* Keep in mind that if you’re new to a community most people aren’t actively looking for new friendships. They already have their group of friends. You have to look at it from their perspective. This makes it even more important for you to let people know you’re looking for some friendships.
* Take risks when trying to meet people and initiate invitations for social connections.
* It all takes time. Give yourself a minimum of two years to make meaningful friendships.
Ten years ago, I never would have imagined my life would be where it is now at 70 years old! These last couple of years have been a wonderful adventure and I’m so happy that this UU community has been such a meaningful part of it.