Monthly Archives: June, 2016

Why Is Making Friends as an Adult Weird and Kind of Difficult?

Verily Magazine posted an article last year with tips for making friends as an adult, and just yesterday, they added another one that compares adult friend-finding to dating. I’m glad I’m not the only one going on friend dates! Let’s blow this discussion wide open.

It’s going to be a girly discussion, though. Verily is a women’s magazine, and I’m a woman, so I don’t know if this advice (or even the problem!) applies to men. The dynamics of male friendships are beyond my scope. Both articles have great lists of strategies, but the second hints more at what my heart is still wondering: why it’s so weird (and kind of hard) to make friends as an adult.

I do have friends. I talk about this situation with them sometimes. The newer article highlights three critical factors for building a friendship: “proximity, repeated and unplanned interactions, and a setting that lets you confide in each other.” When you’re no longer surrounded by peers for the majority of your waking hours, you still need friends, but it’s much harder to find them. I managed to do it (and thus have someone to talk about it with; so meta), but why is it so difficult in the first place?

Me, with friends

Oh, hey, pretty ladies! This is me with my friends Sara and Rebecca. We met in undergrad. College is a great place to make friends!

When I moved to Austin (almost six years ago!), I knew a few people in the area from my grad school program, but they weren’t really my friends. Besides our collegiate affiliation, we had little in common. It took until about Christmastime for me to realize that I had no friends here. So I turned to my favorite resource, the Internet, and found a delightful non-parish-specific Catholic young adult group and my trivia teammates.

The Catholic YA group is no more, but I was always in it with the personal mission to make actual friends. I wanted to build connections with people so that I didn’t need organized, scheduled activities in order to see them. Since the group disbanded, I don’t see some of the people I met in the group anymore. No more proximity. No more interactions. Not surprising. But the ones I connected with, the ones who “got” me, the ones I cared about building a relationship with: we’re still friends.

My trivia teammates and I have a different relationship (mostly because I am very religious and they are very not), but I have actual friendships with a couple of them, too. When you’re invited to someone’s house, you know it’s for real.

But beyond that, it’s just me.

If I’m being perfectly honest about my efforts to make friends as an adult, it has a lot to do with my being unmarried and living far from home. There are no single men in my house, so if I want to meet any, I have to go out. (I’m taken at the moment; it’s not insignificant that he found me.) Many of my friends are married and have small children, so if I want to see them, I have to meet them where they are—literally. I’ve learned that private conversations with friends-turned-parents aren’t always possible, so I settle for semi-private conversations as we follow the toddler around the room so he won’t get mowed down by the bigger kids.

One of my friends-turned-parents asked me if there was a time when you stop wanting to make new friends. I replied that it was probably when parenting starts.

Think about the family you grew up in. Your parents probably didn’t actively make friends. They had old friends: college roommates, wedding party members, friends from their life pre-marriage and pre-kids. They had work friends, but they didn’t always see those people outside of work or maintain relationships after job changes. That’s possible, but it’s rare. They had your friends’ parents, mostly so they could keep track of you and your influences. Maybe they had a professional group, a church group, or sports teammates.

But can you remember your parents making new friends? I met one of my mom’s work friends at my grandfather’s funeral. She was touched by that friend’s presence, as was I, yet it was strange because I’d never met her in all the years they’d been working together. My dad had a buddy once he met at one of my brother’s sports practices, and it was weird because Dad had a friend. There was nothing fishy going on, but it was odd because, well, dads don’t make friends. Or do they?

I’m not saying that anyone who’s a parent is forbidden to make friends, but I wonder why they so rarely do. Families have to unite to form societies. Is it a good thing that those unions are driven by children or by the past instead of by current intentionality? Should friend-finding be more like dating? Can we work harder to turn online friendships into offline ones?

I don’t have any answers, but this is one case where I think it makes sense to raise the question, to start a discussion, to just talk without needing a defined takeaway. Am I just shouting into the void here? Am I finding a problem that doesn’t exist (because, after all, I do have friends)? Any ideas?

Sunday Style: I’m a Survivor

I have had an especially challenging weekend, but I have enough perspective to know that I, specifically, have experienced and survived worse. I made it to church okay, so that was a win. Here’s what I wore:

Sunday Style: June 26

Shirt: Target
Skirt: Old Navy
Sandals: Target
Necklace and earrings: Charming Charlie

This was another outfit that I threw on a single-digit number of minutes before rushing out the door. I rearranged my weekend so that I could go on a day-long retreat on Saturday, but the rearrangement got more complicated that I anticipated, which left me without much time to get dressed. I’m grateful for go-to items like this skirt. It’s the kind of piece that seems like it takes a lot of planning to wear but is actually almost effortless. It’s one of my best impulse buys ever.

Fr. Associate Pastor is away, so we had Fr. Pastor this week. He had even fewer servers than [last week] and no acolyte, and they were all still on top of things. He tends to give long homilies and use extremely short Eucharistic Prayers to compensate. The one he used this weekend definitely had the word “blessedness” in it, so I have no idea which one that was.

I was mildly offended with Fr. Pastor started his homily. His first question was, “Does anyone understand these weird readings?” Does he think so little of us parishioners? Why bother trying to understand when everyone will just assume that you don’t? I happened to be very familiar with them because we did small group Bible study at S&T this week, so I had already been through the readings. Also, I have learned enough about how to read the lectionary that I know any “weirdness” is usually balanced out between the first reading and Gospel.

After that insult, Fr. Pastor explained what I caught right away since I’m familiar with discipleship and discernment themes in the Bible (because I go to church every week, like I’m required to, and I try to grow in my understanding of Scripture, like I’m supposed to). Elisha burns everything that is important to him, signifying that he is giving up everything to follow Elijah. The one who volunteers to follow Jesus gets not a thank you but a questioning of his commitment. We’re inclined to keep our options open due to our general fear of commitment, but following Jesus can’t be a half-hearted decision. When we make the choice to follow Jesus, we have to be willing to leave everything behind and make a commitment. It won’t be easy, but very little that matters is ever easy.

For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

Recommended Reads: 27/2016

The nice thing about reading as much as I do from so many different sources is that, when I’m on a low swing in terms of volume, I have a huge backlog of recommendations built up. I’m also glad to have the time to read in the first place.

I also want to take a moment to recommend one of my favorite sources for Catholic content curation: the Catholic Education Resource Center. I found it by way of my dear friend Lyzii. The URL has “Catholic education” in it, and since we are both Catholic educators (although I don’t currently work as one), I thought the post she shared would be about teaching. I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to have been so wrong. I’ve been a happy subscriber to their weekly newsletter for several years.

pile of books

— 1 —

Title: The Myth of Quality Time
Source: The New York Times

There’s simply no real substitute for physical presence.

We delude ourselves when we say otherwise, when we invoke and venerate “quality time,” a shopworn phrase with a debatable promise: that we can plan instances of extraordinary candor, plot episodes of exquisite tenderness, engineer intimacy in an appointed hour.

We can try. We can cordon off one meal each day or two afternoons each week and weed them of distractions. We can choose a setting that encourages relaxation and uplift. We can fill it with totems and frippery — a balloon for a child, sparkling wine for a spouse — that signal celebration and create a sense of the sacred.

And there’s no doubt that the degree of attentiveness that we bring to an occasion ennobles or demeans it. Better to spend 15 focused, responsive minutes than 30 utterly distracted ones.

But people tend not to operate on cue.

QT is my love language. I don’t like the implication later that cohabiting couples just want more QT, but I’m learning how important extended face time really is.

— 2 —

Title: Underage Drinking
Source: Jimmy Akin

This is not so relevant to me as it once was, since I am way over the legal drinking age, but I like his method of reasoning through just versus unjust laws and scandal. I think we’ve lost our cultural sense of scandal and that such a loss is a bad thing.

— 3 —

Title: Gender Heresy
Source: Catholic Authenticity by Melinda Selmys

Not having a single answer to the transgender question is super hard. This is an excellent analysis of both positions and why it’s important that discussion happens at all, even if I’m still frustrated that there’s no single answer yet.

— 4 —

Title: We Are Signs
Source: Theology of the Body Evangelization Team (TOBET) Blog

In a culture that believes sex is a universal “right” and something that everyone must have, a single person leading a chaste life is one powerful sign! It means that their sexuality is reserved. Not repressed, but reserved. Reserved because it’s intended for something grand, and refuses to settle for anything less.

— 5 —

Title: There’s an awful cost to getting a Ph.D. that no one talks about
Source: Quartz

Academia is understanding, but perhaps too accepting, that everyone has problems,” says Jane. “Just because many people do have mental health problems, it’s not ok that that’s ‘how it is.’”

— 6 —

Title: The problem isn’t that life is unfair—it’s that you don’t know the rules
Source: Business Insider

I had to break Rule #2 to my students all the time. Working hard is important, but that alone doesn’t get you good grades.

— 7 —

Title: Three Simple Rules for Happiness
Source: The Catholic Gentleman

In the same way, marriages become more stable only after disillusionment has brought the honeymoon to an end. The great value of the marital vow is in keeping the couple together during the first quarrel; it tides them over their early period of resentment, until they get the second wind of true happiness at being together. Marriage joys, like all great joys, are born out of some pain. As we must crack the nut to taste the sweet so, in the spiritual life, the cross must be the prelude to the crown.

Is there anything Fulton Sheen wrote or said that is not pure gold? I’m pretty sure there’s nothing.

For up-to-the minute recommendations from what I read, follow me on Pocket.

7 Quick Takes on Appliance Breakdowns, TopGolf, and Productivity Pros

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

No Jeopardy! clues this week, but I am happy to say that I was on a hot streak this week. Since my audition in April, I’ve been practicing continuously. I go out for pub quiz, Mr. Man helps me with the J! Archive, and I play J!6 every day. This week, I managed so many 6/6 scores that I finally brought my overall accuracy up to 83%. I still need to work on my presidents and world leaders, though. There’s just so many! #girlmeetsworld

Also, there was this little gem from the reigning Tournament of Champions winner, because Twitter makes the world seem so much smaller:

Alex Jacob fist bump

— 2 —

After almost six years in Texas, I have finally eaten at Taco Cabana. I don’t know how I missed it for so long. The verdict: tasty, fast flautas; delicious tortillas; meh sides. I love flautas, so that was a big selling point for me. Overall, I was much happier than I’ve ever been eating Taco Bell.

— 3 —

We are blessed to have a variety of priests and deacons to offer Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at Spirit & Truth three weeks a month. Sometimes they just bring Jesus out; sometimes they stay after to give a presentation or Bible study. One of my deacon friends came this week, but he was unable to stay for Bible study. To say sorry, he brought us Tiff’s Treats! I was flabbergasted, and I kind of felt bad for all the people who rushed out the door right after benediction. They missed out on cookies! Granted, church does not usually have cookies, but they might have stuck around for a warm snickerdoodle; I don’t know.

— 4 —

Our hot water heater is broken. I had to take a very long, very cold shower yesterday, and a shorter, still cold one this morning before work. Soon after I publish this post, I am using the spare key to my friend’s condo to take a hot shower at her place. She initially gave it to me because (a) someone should have your spare key, especially when single-girl life hasn’t left you without someone to keep it for you, and (b) our dryer broke a few weeks ago, so I have a backup now that is not a laundromat. I like living in this house, but this year has not been great for appliances.

— 5 —

I read and listen to a lot of productivity talk. Recently, I found myself getting very frustrated that all the productivity pros are married freelancers. I have seen exactly two places even mention the time and energy that goes into actually getting married—not planning a wedding or completing marriage prep, but finding someone to marry if you haven’t already locked it down (a.k.a. the story of my life). One installment of the excellent GTD Refresh series at Lifehack mentioned that dating takes work, and there are various mentions in articles at Asian Efficiency. I could stand for a nod here or there to us unmarried people.

As far as freelancing, I encountered my first productivity speaker who has a regular job working for The Man, Jessica Turner, just last month. I would bet dollars to donuts that most of the customer base for these outlets consists of people with regular jobs. Why doesn’t that get more acknowledgement? Maximizing your time and organizing your life looks different when you’re at the mercy of one big boss versus dozens of tiny client bosses.

— 6 —

Despite my frustration from the last Quick Take, I do still read and listen to all those productivity pros. This week, I found cause to grumble at Asian Efficiency. They’re on a promotional swing for the 12-Week Year, a concept from the book of the same name. In the most recent email, though, they came down really hard against GTD.

Many of the smaller e-newsletters I subscribe to invite replies. They actually work by just hitting “reply,” which is a pretty sweet technological trick. I went through a similar “I think you’re seeing GTD as more rigid and less useful than it is” debate with Mike Vardy of Productivityist. When I tweeted my comments, I wasn’t expecting a reply from Mike himself, but I totally got one. Similarly, I received a reply to my 12WY-versus-GTD comments from Thanh Pham, co-founder of Asian Efficiency.

So I get frustrated, but I do my best to keep to the most direct, private channels I can find (which I consider the principle of subsidiarity in action), and I get real responses from actual humans. That is something I completely support.

— 7 —

My company sponsored a social event this week at TopGolf Austin. It was actually pretty fun. I managed to hit several balls, and I think I even made one straight into the target one time (as opposed to two or three others that just rolled in). It was nice to not have to give up my entire evening for an event like the Christmas party. It’s also astounding to think that, not that long ago, the GPS trackers in every ball were classified military technology. Now, we use it for fun times.

Altogether, considering TopGolf and mini golf, I think I prefer bowling. My parents met bowling, so I am not awful, but also not great.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Booking Through Thursday: Marginalia


Do you write in your books? Highlight? In all books or just things like college textbooks?

Just under the wire on this one, but I like the topic a lot. I have very specific rules for writing in books. I don’t write in hardcover books. I don’t highlight books. I don’t write in pens. I didn’t even do any of that in college.

For books I own, especially theology, I sometimes write in them. I underline in pencil, I write short notes in the margins, and if I struggled to get through the page, I summarize that page at the bottom of it. I would never have made it through Orthodoxy or the confusingly-named Theology for Beginners without those bottom-of-page summaries.

In my ordinary, day-to-day reading, I make no marks. I’m not a heathen. That is what Goodreads status updates are for.

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.

Sunday Style: So Short!

It felt strange but good to be back at my regular parish for the second week in a row. It’s been a while since I’ve managed that! They even changed up the music in my absence. Am I the only one who enjoys using the same music for the Mass parts all the time? I can tell the season has changed by the priest’s chasuble. That’s why it’s colored and why it changes from day to day. I don’t need the music to do more than be musical.

I did need a wardrobe expansion, though. Summertime has brought back this pretty:

Sunday Style for June 19

Dress: Mossimo for Target
Tank top: Old Navy
Shoes: Fergie (same ones as last week)
Necklace: souvenir from Belize
Earrings: ancient purchase from a tiny German accessory store

I have been wearing pants, leggings, and maxi skirts for so long that this dress was a palate cleanser! For a second, my skin was like, “Whoa! Are we leaving the house like this?” I had to remind myself that this is a totally acceptable skirt length. It’s a kimono dress; it’s supposed to fit like this.

Back when I started Instagramming my Sunday outfits, I commented that this one (with the coordinating hair clip I forgot to wear) seemed like “a great date outfit, but…. See the blog for details.” What I meant was “this would be a great date outfit, but I’m not dating anyone. The details of where I got these items are listed on my blog, as usual.” What my roommate read was, “This would be a great date outfit. See my blog for my details on my dating life.” It was funny and sad.

Fr. Associate Pastor gave a solid homily. He had a lot of directions to work with. Due to my friends’ recent, tragic loss of their son to stillbirth, I was reeling from the references to mothers losing their sons over the last two Sundays. Hearing that can’t be easy for my poor friend.

Fr. AP focused on the theme of our relationships with Jesus and with one another in Jesus. Jesus didn’t ask the disciples if they knew about him. He asked if they knew him, if they knew who he was. Many Christians (and others) know about Jesus, but our real challenge is to know him. Our Protestant and evangelical brethren do much better at leading people to know Jesus than we Catholics do. Our challenge is to get to know him ourselves, and then to introduce other people to him and the fullness of his Church.

He also gave a nice shout-out to the psalm and second reading. I love it when homilists talk about more than just the Gospel! He said that we should all make the psalm refrain our petition so that we are thirsting for God. Thirst is such a vivid image: a parched, dry land that is waiting to be reinvigorated, revived, given life by the God who made it/us. St. Paul says all of us who know Christ are one in him. We are all one in baptism. We all share in taking up our cross with him. We are united by each carrying crosses as we walk alongside the Lord.

I tried not to let the awkward end-of-homily story ruin the experience for me. I’m pretty sure he used the word “negro,” which is not okay and suggests that (a) he needs to get some more modern stories, (b) he needs to pick better stories, (c) he should just stop trying to tell “relevant” stories, or (d) someone needs to clarify current American cultural slang for him. (Fr. AP is from India.) The ultimate point about not being able to change the color of one’s skin to fit in with the body of Christ was valid, but I was busy trying to figure out whether he actually said what I think he said and trying not to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

I have to hand it to the liturgical ministers, though. The servers were extremely short-handed (three instead of six, and no deacon), but it was barely noticeable. No one panicked, and all was well.

For more Mass fashion and commentary, visit Rosie at A Blog for My Mom for My Sunday Best.

My Sunday Best, hosted at A Blog for My Mom

5 Things You Should Do at the End of Mass

In my five years of blessings as a contributor at ATX Catholic, I have taken one post per year to write something that is not a review. Instead, I write about something a little closer to my heart. They’re more like the things I post at my personal blog.

  • In my very first post, I introduced myself and expressed a desire that we not just show our Christianity through our love, but through perhaps more obvious signs.
  • In 2012, I wrote about media discernment for Catholics. Yes, I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. I’m in until the bitter end at this point.
  • In 2013, I wrote about preparing for Mass. I still do all of those things, although I’ve moved my pre-Mass readings a little earlier, and I read the Gospel in Spanish.
  • In 2014, I gushed about why I love Augustinian spirituality. I’m still enamored with Augustine.
  • Last year, I wrote about preparing for and going to Confession. I’m still a sinner.

So first, I offer a big thank you to ATX Catholic for having me as a contributor for such a long time, and a thank you to everyone who has been reading, even if this is your first post.

red door

Welcome! Welcome back! Stay for the rest of this post… and for the rest of Mass.

This year, I’d like to share my tips for what to do at the end of Mass.

Read them at ATX Catholic.

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