It may come as a surprise to those who know me that I have a difficult time making friends. Acquaintances, I have aplenty. People I can call in the middle of the night to share woes or partake in shenanigans, few.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m an anxious introvert, or because I have a low tolerance for dumb and ignorant. It’s probably both. Either way, I guarantee an awkwardly good time the first time we meet.
And trying to make friends with other moms, EXPONENTIALLY HARDER. I show my trustworthiness to watch your kids at a party or share a smile at a school event. But a lengthy conversation ranging from what’s happening on “Grey’s Anatomy” or a philosophical discussion on life? That’s rare.
This isn’t to say I don’t have ANY friends. I do. However the Village that Raises Children is a tough act to fill. My friends are not nearby, some don’t have kids, or our lives have changed so much we only keep in touch online.
Adult friendships are the new relationship goal of the modern parent. It’s like dating: you flirt over a shared experience, you court each other to see what you have in common, you exchange information and cross your fingers that THIS IS THE ONE! This person will be your NEW FRIEND! Someone to text with, maybe shop and have coffee with. Maybe even—gasp!—have a Lady Date with! You wait anxiously for a reply to a text or email…and then nothing.
Here’s an example:
I attended an event a while ago where I knew a handful of people. I made the rounds, smiling, making small talk (which is extremely painful to me), trying to find the thread that could tie us together briefly. And it worked! I made a connection with a woman, also a mom, also trying to find her way in the crowd of others who seemed like they had it all figured out.
Not wanting to seem to clingy (BE MY FRIEND, PULEEZE), I wandered a bit to look for snacks and get a drink refill. Talked to some ladies I knew on social media (and admire, trying not make a buffoon of myself as I answered questions about my kids and my job), then made my way towards New Friend. We exchanged cards and a joke and went our separate ways.
I was so excited to meet someone my age, with similarly aged children, experiencing similar career stresses, and interested in some similar activities. I emailed her at the week’s end, sharing something funny about my kids, and asked if she’d be interested in a coffee.
I never heard back.
I admit, I’m very self-conscious and make awkward comments when I’m around people I kind of know. I know I’m still the kid on the playground reading books under a tree trying to figure out how the cool kids have so many friends. My handful of friends from that age, we all live so far apart now. Same with my college friends—the ones who see you transform from one awkward stage to the next and are still there.
So, I ask you: How does one make friends as an adult? Not just on social media channels, but in Real Life? Meet at least once a month for dinner and drinks? Friends who we can BBQ with regularly, who can help at a moment’s notice with your kids, who are there on holidays? Are you interested?
Here’s my application:
Age: older than 30, younger than 45
Family: husband; two girls five and under
Location: Far Westsidish
Occupation: owner of a doula agency; full-time family circus manager; grumpy optimist
Hobbies: yoga; drinking beer, wine, or bourbon; reading whatever is on my newsfeed; Cheerio Hunting; gardening; keeping sane with all the noise in my house
Chips/Salsa or Hummus/Veg: Both. Will there be wings?
Bakery Lorraine or Bird Bakery: Depends on the featured treat.
Weirdest thing done due to lack of sleep postpartum: Left the remote in the freezer while hunting for ice cream
Recently binged watched: “Suits,” “Greys Anatomy,” “Madam President,” “OITNB”
Typical outfit: workout wear or jeans/silly t-shirt/Converse
Why am I weird: I’m a deep thinker and can be very passionate about some topics, so I tend to sit quietly in a room with new people (unless there’s wine). I try not to be judgemental, but I’ll embrace it when I am and cop to it. I believe in traditional AND Western medicine. I call out BS often. I have a pretty epic resting B face. There’s more to know after a few dates.
Will there be shenanigans?: Usually. We will be home late.
If you see me approaching, I promise I won’t Mom Friend Stalk you. But I would like to have a margarita with you, maybe wear some judgy pants, and scan the room we’re in. It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.