Lately, I’ve read several good articles and blog pieces about the difficulty of making new mom friends. I can identify with these authors because last year seemed to be my year of constant angst about friendships. Do I have enough friends? How can I make new friends? Does it really matter? That was the broken record constantly re-playing itself in my mind.
I don’t think there were more than a few days that went by where one of those questions didn’t cross my mind. I’m open to new friendships, unlike some moms. I don’t have a tight circle of friends who do everything together. But, I do have a small group of amazing girlfriends who are smart, funny, supportive and generous. They don’t all know each other and we don’t do “girls night out,” but I treasure their individual friendships. So why do I constantly feel like I’m missing something? Like I don’t have enough friends in my life?
At my kids’ school, making friends has been nearly impossible for me for reasons I’ll write about later. This may be something that is common at private schools in L.A. Or not. I have two personal friends at my kids’ school. After seven years there.
Looking back at 2012, despite my anxiety about making new friends, my efforts at getting together, inviting people to do things, I made one new friend. One. I really like her, we’re both moms and we have two other things in common that we are both serious about. Her sense of humor has me falling down laughing. We met through a blogger’s group. If you write a blog, there are friends IRL (in real life) and online friends. I’m talking about real-life friends. But, I think its wonderful when online friendships evolve into real life-ones, like the one I just described. After all, how much can you really say in 140 characters on Twitter before you decide you want to get together?
Another new-ish friend and I started walking together one morning a week. A hike, friendship and coffee. That’s all I need. We met about two years ago and our families get together, our kids are friends and we always have fun. These are friendships that moved easily from the acquaintance to friend category, not something that’s easy to do for me. That’s what I want -- and need. Reading the pieces I mentioned above tells me some other moms want the same thing. Recently my closest friend from college came to visit and we had so much fun over dinner at my house with our families. She lives in D.C. but we’ve planned a visit to her house in June. I can’t wait!
Near the end of 2012, after being asked to get together by an acquaintance whom I’ve known casually for a few years, only to be blown off, I gave up. My feelings were hurt and I was feeling dejected. I just couldn’t focus on the “mom friend” issue any more. I decided that if new friendships were to happen, that’d be nice, but I couldn’t put any more effort into it. At least not for a while.
Maybe I’m not as open to new friendships as I think I am. Perhaps I seem too busy, aloof, overly-sensitive, disinterested, distant, lack common interests or some other reason new friends aren’t asking me to get together. Could it be that I don’t understand the L.A. etiquette involved with making friends even though I grew up here and I’m in my 40s? Yes, that’s entirely possible. You see, during the time most teen girls figure out the friendship thing and how it all works (and doesn’t work), I was too busy to have friends. My teenage years were spent helping take care of my ailing mom, who eventually died when I was nineteen. I couldn’t have managed to make friends if my life depended on it because someone else’s life depended on me. I never regret those lost years. I’m only now able to accept that the unusual situation in which I found myself may be one of the reasons why I’m writing this piece.
In the meantime, I’m focused on being a really good friend to those mom friends I consider my closest friends. After all, they mean the world to me. And, if a new friend comes along, that’s all the better.
Still, if I want to be part of a book club, I can’t wait for an invitation. I’ll just have to start my own!
Christina Simon is the co-author of Beyond The Brochure: An Insider's Guide To Private Elementary Schools In Los Angeles. She also blogs at Beyond The Brochure.Her work has been Syndicated on BlogHer.
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