Friday, August 09, 2013

I am a Bad Friend

When I was young, I had a lot of friends. I had this whole group of friends through grade school, middle school, and high school. I was always hanging out with my friends and I was always busy and dare I say... popular? Well, popular in my own genre, not in the entire school sphere. Then, when I went to college in Hawaii, I made new friends and I had a lot of them. I had a whole group of on campus friends that I did things with all the time. We were really tight and I never felt left out or alone. I was always in the loop, and I loved it. I loved having a lot of friends, always someone to call on to hang out or play games or eat food with.

Erin, friend from Dentrix... who I no longer talk to.

Lisa, college friend, who I email once a year

And then, I moved back to Utah for my last two years of college and I suddenly became bad at making new friends. I made a few new friends at my job, and a friend (one) who lived in my apartment building, but I wasn't the same social butterfly that I used to be when I was younger.

And then, I met Matt and got married and I became a... bad friend. My life had changed in many ways when I got married and I couldn't do the same things that I did when I was single. Nor did I want to. I didn't want to stay out all night or have a girls night out or... I don't know... do the things that I did when I was single. And I didn't fit in the same way that I did with my single friends. I felt a little awkward hanging with my single friends because I was married and Matt was with me at my social events and it wasn't quite the same. So, I stopped getting invited to a lot of friend things. And, I stopped having friends over to my house because my gatherings were... not the same as they once were.

Matt, my husband friend

So, I started to lose touch with a lot of the friends that I had had during my childhood and college years. And many of my college friends went on to get married themselves and I thought, 'yes, now I can hang with other couples.' But, it turns out that when you are trying to arrange getting together with another couple it is all complicated because you have to organize around schedules. I became all busy with a career and owning a home and being married. And I just didn't take the time to be with friends more... or call them to chat or email them or facebook them. I think that this is because Matt is my best friend, so I am with a friend all the time and I ended up not having my old friends at the front of my mind.

And then I had a kid and things really changed. Not only was I working and married, but I also had a kid to think about and take care of and that is not a small amount of work. And, for some reason, single people are not that interested in hanging around kids. It is like they are single and stuff. So, if I wanted to hang with my single friends, I either had to abandon my husband with the child... or I had to find a sitter (which has never been an easy task with Nicole).  It was a lot of work to go out with friends. I would invite friends over to my house for dinner occasionally, but I often felt quite lame as it was just sitting at my house and often watching me take care of my kid.

My kids can be my friends... right? I spend time with them the most.

And then, Matt went back to school, I went back to work, and then I got pregnant and had a second child and our lives got even more busy. I found it hard to not just see my old friends, but to keep in contact with them at all. I have always kept up on my blog and my friends who have blogs themselves I have always kept reading and commenting, so I always felt close to them, but the others, I was just lost in their lives. Facebook helped in that I could read up on what they were doing occasionally, but as Facebook is blocked at work, I didn't really get to read it very often. And I don't find a lot of time to get on the computer at home.

Do sisters count as friends?

And, during all of this, I have found myself having a really hard time making new friends. In fact... I have made zero new friends since I have been married. I just don't know if I have changed from when I was young and making friends was really easy, or if I have just been good at making one friend and that friend makes me a lot of other friends. Or, maybe how to make friends has changed and I didn't get the memo. I have made friends with my sister Marie's friends as she seems to have a lot of friends that are in the same place in life as we are (married with children). But, I have yet to make friends in my neighborhood or my ward. I have the moms that were in the preschool group, but they were the preschool moms, not social friends. I think maybe I have forgotten how to make a new friend.

Now that I am not working, and I am home with the kids, and Matt is no longer in school, we finally have free time and I find myself longing for friends. Someone to hang out with on the weekends or to have playdates with on the weekdays or to play games with. I have my family, of course, but I feel like I need more than just my siblings, I need friends. But, I don't know how to make new friends and I feel like it is too late to try and reconnect with my old friends. I have been out of the loop for six years now and maybe it is too late. I am finally out of "survival mode" that Matt and I have been in for these last three years and... I want... a life, not just a busy mommy life, but a social one. I feel... lonely I guess. I have my children and my husband, so I am not really alone, I have my family who loves me and needs me and I am immensely happy, but I feel like there is finally room in my life for more people. I don't have to be solely focused on me and my kids and my husband and our lives, I have room for more, I have time for more.

So, after being a bad friend for so long... how do I get back in it? I don't know. But I want it.


Marie said...

Sisters count as best friends!! (And thanks for putting up such a good picture of me!) It's really nice to have good friends that you can talk to and hang out with. Especially ward friends that live near you. But sometimes making friends means that you have to ditch your husband and kids to hang out with them and/or going out with them with your kids to do different things.

Sarah said...

I have recently come into a big batch of friends. In fact, I feel like I am consistently making new friends, so I have lots of tips. Contact, contact, contact. That's tip numero uno. I don't know if your ward has a facebook group, but if they do, become a part of that business! Then you post things like, "Hey, going to the splash pad Wednesday at 10 a.m., anyone else in?" And then other mommies are like, "YES!" and then you're friends. If your visiting teachers or teachees have childrens around your childrens ages, you say, we should do a play date. Does Thursday in the afternoon work for you? If you feel chubsy (or preggo) you say, "Hey, I'm going walking Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 9 am. Anyone in the neighborhood is welcome to join!" Invite a big group of people over for a food and game night. Become besties with all of them. Essentially making friends equals planning at the beginning. You plan, you invite, voila, friends. Then they'll start planning. They'll start inviting. Girls nights are good too. My ward just started doing a bunco night every other week. FRIENDS. For 1.5-2 hours every other Wednesday I hang with ladies, we talk, find common interests, become friends, now we hang. Bing bang boom. Go forth and friendify. Facebook is a beautiful tool also. Friend people on Facebook, make a Facebook group for mommies in the ward, start posting all the fun things you do with your kids and inviting everyone in the group along.

Rebecca Susan said...

I soooo get this. I'm not terribly social or outgoing to begin with, and we live in a little bitty town with an even more little bitty ward (which is mostly composed of old and middle-aged people). Its challenging.

I have started to make friends through my kids. Not intentionally, but my oldest daughter is SO social and outgoing, and she seems to pick really nice friends (I really like all of her friends that I know), and they tend to have really nice parents, so getting kids to things together has given me an opportunity to get to know people I otherwise wouldn't have even known existed!

claudia said...

I want to be your " mother-in-law friend! I loved going to get pedis and eating " Vegan Tacos".
What a cute blog. I have decided to start mine up again. I was touched that you tried keep mine up too. It has taken a while...but I think I will begin again. Love you. xoxoxo