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?