Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I lived in the same community of about 100,000 from after college
until 10 years or so ago. I had a very tight group of friends. Some of
us had been college roommates. Others will raised our families
together: we were part of the same social group, our children all went
to high school together, and we even shared the same plumber and
electrician. I thought once things were going to be the same when I
moved back after 12 years away. My husband&'s company had moved
him far away, and while it sounds exotic to live “in the islands” it isn&'t
as much fun when you don&'t have close friends. So I was very excited
about return. Everything has changed. A good metaphor is that our
weekly bridge game has dwindled from four tables down to one, and
some weeks none. People don&'t seem close. They trade show & tell
and news, but it&'s nothing like the sense of extended family and
community that I had when I left. How should I handle this?
Invite the old gang over for a big summer barbecue. Get people happy
(an open bar doesn&'t hurt) and talk about old times and new times.
You can just ask folks to share what are the big events in their lives
since you’ve been gone. Don’t be shy about saying that you that you
really hoping to capture some of the magic that you had for so long.
See how they respond (both verbally and by body language). If they
like the idea, you get some of your old friends back. If they don&'t, you
have to make new friends just like you did when you moved to the
islands. You play bridge: check out the bridge club. Make a list of other
activities you&'re interested in. Pretend you were suddenly single or
dropped into a new city and looking for new friends. You can work
through the synagogue or through community organizations but find
people with similar interests in an activity-oriented setting. You can
also initiate activities by starting a rotating monthly international
themed dinner club if you have foodie friends. Food also lubricates
friendships. Think about volunteer work and taking classes where you
will meet people of your age and interests. Friendships take time, even
old ones, to get their rhythm back.