Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Check Yes or No

Why is it so hard to make friends as adults? As small children we just blithely joined in with whoever was on the playground, easily striking up friendships and not worrying about being rejected. I guess that it's though. As adults we've had a taste of rejection and that makes it so much harder.

Since we've moved back I haven't made any very close friends. That's four years I'm talking about people. Four years. I've got lots of good friends, don't get me wrong. Nicole from Impostor Mom and I have lunch pretty regularly and I would definitely consider Mir to be a friend. But both of these lovely ladies are at slightly different stages than I am and their kids are not the same age as my kids, so it makes getting together a little more difficult. Add to that the fact that we live out in the freakin' boonies and it just makes having a social life a little more different.

Several times recently I've put myself out there in an attempt to make some new friends. There's this mom at Punkin's preschool that I like. Not in THAT way, but like in that I think we could be friends kind of thing. We always end up chatting at the school functions and at the birthday parties and she seems like the kind of gal I'd like to hang out with. It's a bonus that her daughter is the same age as Punkin and she actually lives in the same general direction that we do, which is huge because nobody else at this school lives as far out as we do.

So, back in May, at a birthday party, I got up my nerve and I asked her out. That's right, I suggested a playdate. We exchanged phone numbers and a promise to call, but then we went on vacation and then life just got in the way. I never called her and she never called me.

It was okay though. When we saw each other it wasn't awkward and we still chatted, just as friendly as ever. When she wrote to thank us for the birthday gift that we gave her daughter, she wrote me a special note about how great it was to visit, gave me her email address and suggested that we get together. So, I sent an email and suggested that we get together that weekend. Unfortunately, she had to travel out of town on business and so we had to scrap our plans again.

So, we've done this little dance a couple of times now, each of us suggesting an outing but something getting in the way. And I swear I find myself analyzing these interactions like I used to analyze my boyfriends' phonecalls. Did I look too needy? Was I too excited when she invited me to the movies last weekend? Was I too nonchalant when she said she needed to cancel?

Good grief.

Why can't there be a matching system for friends, like Match.com. But platonic. I just want someone to say, "Okay, you go with her. And you over there, you be friends with him. And you in the back, you come up and stand next to her and be her friend." It would just be so easy.

But, I must be a glutton for punishment because I have put myself out there yet again. I have extended an invitation to the parents of Bubba's best friend from school. We've only met briefly, but they seem cool and it would be awesome if we could have some couple friends.

I sent a note with Bubba and asked his teacher to send it home in Ethan's folder. Mr. Daddy asked if I wrote "Do you like us? Check yes or no."

So now, we wait. What's the rule for how long I should wait before I call? Three days?


Leslie said...

Yeah, I know where you're coming from. It sounds cliched, but I think modern life makes it HARDER to make and have friends. We have all these things that should connect us, but... My parents have best friends that they've known for nearly 50 years. They travel together, spend holidays together, they're like my aunt and uncle. B. and I sometimes ask each other "who will we travel with when we're older?" Keep trying, though. It's worth it to cultivate friendships. I think people are just busy and overwhelmed, but want friendship as much as you do.

calicobebop said...

I completely understand - I'm in the same boat. It's worse now that my sister got married and moved! Most of my "real" friends are the ones I met in college and I've been out of college for many many years.

Too funny about the "check yes or no" suggestion. I hope things work out for your future playdate!

for a different kind of girl said...

Know just how you feel! It's so tough! I was at coffee with my best friend here Sunday night, and she said something about how she was frustrated with life lately and she asked her husband why they just couldn't move away from her family, and I swear to you, my face fell into a panic state! I literally reached across the table, grabbed her wrists and told her there was no way she could move away from me! I know. Needy much?

Ha! What makes our friendship so special to me is that she is one of those people I met when I mustered up the courage to talk to her. We were in small group together and I thought she was "cool" and I wanted to be like her, but I felt like there'd be no way she'd think the same thing about me. Turns out (she told me) she was thinking the same thing that night.

I'm also friends with a woman I met about three years ago in a playgroup our youngest boys were involved in as preschoolers. We sat and chatted during the hour they played, and the boys still do random playdates yet today, and we sometimes get together or talk on the phone. She said recently, "I consider you my friend," and I was relieved! Even though we'd been quasi-hanging out for nearly three years, I still wasn't sure, because it's not like high school, where you always are together or on the phone, you know?

Long, long story short (sorry!), it's tough, but it can definitely pay off with a good friend as the reward. I say do the three-day thing! :)

AndreAnna said...

You crack me up.

I am the type of person that doesn't have a hard time making friends, ever. Which baffles my shy husband (which incidentally is probably why we have such a good marriage) but I totally get what you're saying about making friends who are at the same point in your life.

I have a lot of friends in all completely different stage sin life, with and without children. My best friend at work is 50 and no kids. My best friend at home is 29 and no kids. I have all races, creeds, and colors, and I love them all and get something different from each of their friendships. And still, like you, I find it very hard to meet "couple friends" who have kids around the same age.

Good luck with your new crush! :)

ImpostorMom said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel. I think we all sort of feel that way at one time or another.

It seems all my old/close friends are moving away from here now and that makes me sad. I no longer have a buddy I can/want to call up on any given Saturday to do a bit of shopping. I have lots of friends still it just seems we all get so busy and caught up in our own lives that the friendships seem to go to the back burner.

The old friends that I do still have here are not quite as close as they used to be. It is hard to make new friends but important to keep trying as well.

Debbie said...

I know the feeling. And it is hard to make friends - especially couple friends. And now that our kids are getting older, we worry how we will make new friends since you tend to make them through your kids. Maybe you're on to something with that Friend.com thing.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it sucks to be a grown up. Good luck with your playdate. Hope it works out and they checked yes.

Mir said...

Well, I totally thought that you and Nicole were BFFs and didn't like me anymore. Like, OMG.

Also, this makes me realize that it has been FOREVER since I saw you, so when are we having lunch? Preferably at the Mellow Mushroom. My treat. Please check yes. :)

Katie in MA said...

Does it help if I tell you that you made me laugh out loud at my desk?

I understand EXACTLY where you're coming from, because that's me, too. Only, I don't have a spouse to help with the adult conversation thing. I didn't even have a best girlfriend locally until this past summer. And I've done the Let's-get-together Tango with daycare parents with much the same results.

Keep trying, hang in there...and maybe have a drink before you meet this new couple. You know, just to take the edge off. :-)

Fannie said...

A little piece of advice; don't rely on the parents of your KIDS friends TOO heavily. Kids grow and change and sometimes grow apart. You may find that without the kids in the equation you don't have as much in common with those folks as you thought!

Laura said...

Sorry, I am no help. My husband calls me the misanthrope. Good friends ARE hard to find.

Esme said...

I hear you! It's hard for me, too. I'm trying to articular (type-iculate?) why, and it's turning into a blog post, so I'll spare you for now and just say that I think you should keep trying, call this new potential friend back if you haven't already, and remember that it's not an instantaneous thing... it's more like dating than like making friends, I guess.

HalfAsstic.com said...

Oh GAWD! And it's all so AWKWARD! I would love to have more friends to hang out with! Mostly I would love to be able to leave the house more often to go and hang out, period. It's just do darn hard to meet people for me. Not to mention the rejection thing you mentioned. Big factor for me. I always feel like I am making some sort of fool of myself.
I was on Plurk a good long while ago and said something that another person jumped on me about and was really a bit mean spirited. It hurt my feelings so much I hardly ever go back there. I guess I am pretty thin skinned like that.
I still think you should keep trying and all you can do is ask people to do things with you and see how it goes.!

DysdHousewife said...

I totally understand this. I have had this problem for years, it just never seems to be the right time, or somebody has to "cancel" it's gets to the place where it just seems like it's never going to happen. Friends & kids just don't mix! LOL.

ekbetsy said...

I can totally relate. I used to be so good at making friends, but suddenly I suck at it! I really miss having male friends. You want awkwardness . . . try being a single girl trying to make friends with a boy. Either they're paranoid or I have a neon sign over my head saying, "Yes, actually, I am that desperate and pathetic."

Jonny's Mommy said...

I can so relate to this. All my friends live away and those who do live close I never see. Guess life gets in the way but sometimes I do feel bad I don't have more people that I "hang out" with or go to dinner with or just talk to. I have one good friend from high school right now and our kids are about 6 months apart so she and I talk a lot. My other friends rarely contact me and only respond to me on e-mail if I contact them. Such is the life of a lonely lady I guess. :-(

Colleen said...

I sure wish we lived closer...we'd totally be buds, especially since our kids are relatively close in age and I suck at trying to make friends, too. Hopefully it's totally just the schedule thing--keep trying. :)