Ask Jen Anything: Finding New Friends, Love & Food
As the seasons begin to shift once again – both psychically and in the NFL – I’d like to officially welcome you to the first edition of “Ask Jen Anything” (“AJA”).
“AJA” is my new offseason column series where I’ll be answering questions from readers about anything from relationships and being a mom to fantasy football and travel. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to do my best and lend my expertise to your questions and offer my advice to any situation you might be pondering.
Without further adieu, let’s get this solicited advice party started!
Making New Friends
“How in the world does someone make In Real Life (IRL) friends in their late 20s? I’m an introvert and live in a small town, plus pandemic, which I know doesn’t help, but any tips are greatly appreciated!” – A
My first suggestion would be to make a list of activities you enjoy. Write it down. Then, I would think about the kind of people who might enjoy those activities and if I would enjoy being around like-minded people. If it’s a “yes,” then circle that activity. If it’s a “no,” obviously toss it aside.
With your “yes” list, consider joining a Facebook community in your area with people who also like that activity. You’ll instantly connect with those people because of your shared interest. That can be the most challenging part of meeting new people – finding someone with who you have something in common.
You’re not alone in your setback with the pandemic. Most people “lost” two years of their lives, and for someone who is already an introvert, I’m sure that being in lockdown certainly didn’t help.
Lastly, consider trying something new. You’ll meet unlikely candidates in places you would never have thought. Join a martial arts program, a book club, a Zumba class or a photography class. Just join something. And, if you hate it, you have permission to quit and keep looking for another activity to join!
“Where does a single 40-year-old guy go to meet a lady? Online hasn’t worked out. Live in a small town, so not a lot of easy places. Just lost 90 pounds, am I just not good-looking enough? – J
Congratulations on your recent weight loss! You must feel very proud of yourself! Meeting people and dating is tough, no matter what size you are, and I can empathize with you. In an age of dating apps and swiping left or right, it can be hard to find a good match. It can also be tough to get out there in the world and meet people face-to-face.
You need to put yourself out there, though, because the perfect person likely won’t walk up to you and ask you to dinner. Eliminate any thoughts that you’re “not good-looking enough.” Questioning yourself and having low confidence will only likely sink your ship quickly.
If online dating apps haven’t helped, you’ll need to meet people the old-fashioned way, by hitting the pavement and making moves. Just because you’re from a small town doesn’t mean there aren’t unique ways of putting yourself out there – like concerts and events at local venues.
You might surprise yourself by trying new things and meeting new people. Plus, you’ll be more interesting and have more topics to discuss when meeting other new people. Throw out any ideas of who you think you might want to date. Keep an open mind and widen your net a bit. It’s never too late to make a connection with someone.
“Hey, Jen. What’s your favorite meal to cook in a crockpot?” – Jeff
Oh boy. The better question is, “What is my favorite crockpot meal that is cooked FOR me?” as I don’t cook. Luckily my husband does all the cooking in our house. My favorite meal that he does in a crockpot is thick pork chops with gravy, asparagus and mushrooms. The recipe is provided below.
Nate’s Smothered Crockpot Chops For Two
• 2 pounds boneless loin pork chops
• 2 T olive oil
• 8 oz mushrooms
• 1 can cream of mushroom soup
• 1 envelope country gravy mix
• ¼ cup ranch seasoning mix
• Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Brown pork chops well on both sides. Place in a 5-7 quart slow cooker.
• In a small bowl, mix the soup, gravy mix and ranch seasoning mix. Spread on top of the pork chops.
• In the same skillet, brown mushrooms.
• Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup water. Add the mushrooms and liquid to the slow cooker.
• Cook on low 6-8 hours high 3-5 hours.
I’ll be here every six weeks to answer any questions you have and to offer my advice. You can send me a direct message through Twitter, or click here to submit your inquiry. I look forward to connecting with all of you!