Just talked to a friend back home today, and it gave me a pain in my gut. I do miss having friends. And I don’t mean people I talk to now and then at the Parenting Center or at meetups. I mean a friend.
Both she and I are too busy with kiddos to talk much, but when we do talk, it always feels like holding back a flood. We have a gigantic backlog of things to talk about that we’ll never even get to. That’s what I mean by a friend.
When was the last time you actively made a friend? Me, it was about 8 years ago, when I moved to Cordova. But I was still so young and wide open. It sure has gotten harder as I’ve gotten old, closed and bitter…
When I had my first babe, two and a half years ago, I entered into one of the loneliest periods of my life thus far. Being a mama, at least a weird mama, is lonesome. There’s plenty of mamas in the world, and it is cool to feel like you have something to share with all of them. Some kind of basic human commonality. But there isn’t very many weird mamas. And although I already had my lovely subset of weirdo friends, none of them had kids. There just isn’t very many whatever-I-ams out there. I know. I’ve looked. Hard.
And the problem is that, when I do find one, I get all shy. I get a tongue-tied friend-crush.
Finding a friend is actually a lot like dating, much to my dismay. I get all nervous asking for a phone number, then feel like I have to play hard to get, or at least hide my desperation. After asking the chosen person on the first “date” I am paralyzed to ask again, and then wait, breathless, by the phone for them to call and ask me (this doesn’t work as well with cell phones). On the actual date, I feel flustered and talk too much, show off unintentionally and later am seized with embarrassment.
It’s downright obnoxious.
I knew this would be a problem for me moving to a new place. People said, “Oh, you’ve got kids. You’ll be fine! You’ll meet friends easy.” But that goes back to the weird mom bit. I knew that I don’t feel a connection to very many people, and in a city, probably less. So I have forced myself to be extremely gregarious here. I have called people who’s numbers I got from someone else and invited them to lunch! I’m quite proud of the effort I’ve made, in fact. And I have met several likely prospects. Maybe someday I’ll even make it to second base.