I went on a friend bender. A friender.

I took a hiatus from NaBloPoMo. I am doing NaBloPoMo Light,* which allows you one break midway through the month so you can take a quick trip and not have to worry about posting while you travel, or worse yet, writing posts in advance like some sort of super organized and efficient person. That sounds hard.

I spent the weekend in Minnesota, where I attended a 40th birthday party for one of my best friends from high school. She didn’t know I was coming, and she hates surprises. So of course I nearly gave her a heart attack and jumped out of a hotel bathroom right into her face. Because I am a good friend. She screamed. She cried. Good times were had and it was a great night reminiscing and celebrating with some of my oldest friends who knew me when I had big, terrible hair.

As luck would have it, I was also able to get together with a gaggle of college friends on Friday night. I don’t know the technical definition of a ‘gaggle’ but in this case there were seven of us. I love those girls something fierce and it was so fun to spend time together. They knew me when I had short, mushroomy hair and they still befriended me, so I’ll never let them go.

Yes, my life story is punctuated by a series of horrendous hair choices.

I am still high on friendship fumes, which I’m hoping will sustain me through the winter. Quality time with lifelong friends is invigorating and soul-filling. I need to do it more often. One year ago I wrote about the challenge of finding new grown-up friends in this weird world of parenthood. Not surprisingly, that post also had a photo with an atrocious haircut.

BFFs

Such a warm and friendly smile. I still think I should put this photo on a business card to hand out to potential friends, or drug dealers, at the playground.

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* I made this up but I do think it’s a solid idea to offer tiered NaBloPoMo plans to remove some of the guilt and failure for we flaky people. 

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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?

BFFs