"Contrary to general belief, I do not believe that friends are necessarily
the people you like best, they are merely the people who got there first. "
A recent post on Silicon Valley Moms really hit home for me. I've read a couple posts about how making friends these days is like dating. Here's what she said.
It's just like dating. You dance around each other, wondering who's going to talk first, who's going to make the first move. You're terrified to start; what if she hates you, what if she doesn't feel the same connection? You're scared to come off as needy, desperate. That fear of rejection, of ridicule, is exactly the same as it was back when you were single and it was a mate your were seeking. It's just easier to smile, move on, and imagine the what ifs. In my mind I have a ton of great friends. In real life I have a plethora of missed connections.It seems like lately I can't even get a "date". I've been in playgroups and playdates and I'm really not sure why, but I often feel like the third wheel. Sometimes it's like my job or house is not cool enough. Or the mom's have two calm kids 2-3 years apart and there I am chasing my two boys who want to explore every inch of their house. Several times I've gone to playgroups and there will be women there who are already friends, with kids of the same age and same sex, maybe neighbors, and it's like I just cannot compete. We might meet for occasional playdates, but there is little opportunity to really develop a friendship.
I remember joining several mom's groups after the kids were born. I met some great women at the new mom's support group, but I lost touch after going back to work. And several times I would volunteer and they'd ask if I had a friend to bring along. "Uh, that's why I joined and am volunteering. I was told it was a great way to meet people." Perhaps is was trying to cram in too much at one time...socializing the kids, volunteering, getting a break and "finding friends" at the same time.
I know I'm fortunate in that I have my parents around for backup babysitting, but while I wish it could be otherwise, they are not people I want to voluntarily hang out with. I work full time, but haven't made many friends at work, and my husband works a lot of the weekend, so that doesn't leave much free time to really hang out at my leisure. I've been to mom's nights out and met some great women, but again they are often already friends and seem to live close enough to just visit on short notice. Lately it's all I can do to get the kids out of the house before noon on a weekend , much less remember to arrange a playdate for them with friends who don't live close by. I've also started a networking lunch with fellow alumni, but again it's hard to find time "after hours" so to speak.
I'm not giving up. I'll be looking for a house soon and really want to choose a neighborhood where maybe they'll be some parents with kids in my son's school or I know already. I hope I'll "stumble" into one of those relationships where 10 years down the road we'll be the ones telling people how we met the week I moved in, our kids clicked and we've been friends ever since. Fortunately my boys have built in friends (each other), and seem to make them fairly easily, unlike what's happened to their mommy.