Making friends is hard to do

Close friends are a bit of an elusive thing for me these days. What a surprise! said no one, as they read her 10th consecutive day of talking to her computer.

When I quit my job nearly two years ago, I lost most of my day-to-day friends. I knew that was going to happen, but I didn’t realize quite how isolating this stay-at-home gig would be. (For the record, I have loved the chance to be home with my kids and would do it again in a heartbeat.)

It’s not that I haven’t tried to make new friends. Last year I joined a local moms group. Small talk with strangers is not my jam, but I thought the play dates would be a good way to entertain my kids, and maybe I could meet a few friends too. I paid $25 to join. Unfortunately I think I’ve gotten maybe $4 worth of friend-ish interactions out of it.

Befriending other moms at the park is not very realistic. I lack the social skills needed to accelerate a conversation from “Cute shoes!” to “Do you want to hang out sometime?” in the span of a playground visit without sounding like a creeper.

I’m also not the type who chats up the person next to me on the treadmill at the gym. Partly because I’m never at the gym.

So I’ve spent the past two years talking mostly to myself, my kids and strangers on the internet. Oh – and my husband. We usually get a chance to speak between 9:00-9:30 on Sunday mornings.

But I had heard that when your kid starts kindergarten, it can be an introduction to a whole new social circle. I was mildly excited about this prospect but wasn’t holding my breath for fear of disappointment. Two months into it, and my elementary school socializing has been limited to hallway chatter, but that’s about it.

Then today I spent some time with another mother on the playground after drop-off. Her oldest son is in my daughter’s class, and her younger son is the same age as my youngest. She quit her job when #2 was born, just like I did. We commiserated about how disconnected we have become from other friends and ‘real world’ activities, how nice it would be to have our income again so we could take a vacation, and how we both tend to wear the same clothes every day because who cares? Yet we both agreed we wouldn’t trade it.

I also really liked her sneakers.

So I guess what I’m wondering is, is it too soon to ask her to be my BFF? Or should I just play it cool and give her my phone number on the back of this photo?


14 thoughts on “Making friends is hard to do

  1. We are the same person. I can force the small talk (although I hate it) but I can’t seem to get over that hump to friendship. I always say if it weren’t for extroverts I wouldn’t have any friends because i need others to reach out to me and get me to hang out. It sounds snobby, and I’m sure I seem rude sometimes, but it’s just hard for me. BUT…the socializing aspect of kindergarten scared the crap out of me. I knew the girls would be making more friends and I would have to get to know more moms, and that made me so uncomfortable. I just want to keep my girls in my own little bubble of friends. But the moms I have met, mainly from walking to school, have been very nice. So maybe it’s worth it.

    Also I have had a post brewing about this very thing, so don’t be surprised of you read this exact comment on my site soon. I guess if I sat down and actually WROTE like you are, I would get it done! 😉

    • Many of my best friends are extroverts. Yin and yang. Simon and Garfunkel. Hall and Oates. (no idea what I mean with those last two)

      I look forward to your post so I can give my standard “Amen you are my sister from another mister” type of comment.

    • I relate to this so much. I am secretly dreading kindergarten for the same reason. I’m good at faking small talk, and sometimes making friends, but I always seem to get what I call “cling-on” friends. They want to be together every second and then we burn out because I need space. I am always afraid to reach out and get a cling-on. Plus, it’s just exhausting having friends sometimes, even when adore them!

      • My experience has been 98% positive so far, in part I think because the parents at my daughter’s school come from all backgrounds and it doesn’t have any clique-y vibes (that kind of environment drives me right back into my shell). But I have enjoyed talking to adults again. You might be surprised. Just don’t be TOO darn nice and then you won’t get the cling-ons. 🙂

        (I am kidding about that last point. Mostly.)

  2. I don’t have kids, but I can relate nonetheless! I am horrible at small talk and making friends. I definitely need someone more outgoing and extroverted to drag me out of my shell.

  3. Way back when it was just B I was really missing the daily interaction with my teacher friends. Even the ones that stayed home when we all had kids at the same time lived like an hour away. I remember the giddy feeling when meeting a new mom, like if we would ‘date’ and what not. I don’t know- I think I am the extrovert in the relationship although extremely awkward in an ‘I don’t speak to adults much anymore’ kind of way.

    Here I am today- almost 5 years in and I like the way I have it. I think I have gotten so used to NOT really having many friends, that the idea of hanging out, etc. cramps my style and takes up my precious ‘me quiet time’. Isn’t that weird? I have gone out of my way to avoid people.

    I have made a few friends here, and am thankful- but I think that’s also why I’m not getting super lonely without some kind of social scene. I like my me time. And if that’s your thing, there’s nothing wrong with that either.
    Now excuse me. My computer is feeling neglected. HA!

    • Hear, hear. I LOOOOOVE my me time. I am very good at avoiding people if I’m not in the mood. For the most part I haven’t terribly minded this break from daily adult interaction. But every once in a while I can tell it’s good for me to get out again, be social and change my clothes.

  4. That was pretty much my experience with mommy groups; 95% of them never made it past that date, although I’m happy to say that I made one genuine friend out of all those groups haha. I always thought meeting parents was like finding someone to date. You feel each other out, chit chat, drop the digits… I’m lucky in that my family and friends are all here.

  5. Pingback: Napsnatchers and the reason children swear | Banana Wheels

  6. Pingback: I went on a friend bender. A friender. | Banana Wheels

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