Inside, looking out

So. I haven't heard back from the mom I emailed on Friday. Because, OF COURSE NOT.

It's all sorts of sad and predictable and YES I talked about it in therapy with a new therapist on Saturday. As pathetic as it seems, when the therapist asked me what I hoped to accomplish in therapy, I looked right at her and said "I'd like to talk to a grown up, in person, other than my husband."

That's pretty much what I've resorted to: paying someone to have an in person conversation with me.

Listen, I have good friends. Really, I do. It's just that they don't live HERE. Plus, they have jobs and families and there are time zones and I hate the phone and, well, it just doesn't work out for me to talk to them very often. I need friends who live here, who I could actually see in person from time to time. I'd like to get a pedicure, go to a chick flick, exchange favorite books, ET-girlie-CETERA with someone local.

And it just so happens that we moved to a small town. A small, apparently conservative, apparently religious town. And I'm not conservative or religious. So I go to mom's groups and try to simultaneously be open minded about being friends with someone who doesn't think exactly like me while also trying to slyly scope out who might be of the more liberal, humanistic persuasion.

Anyone for a Democratic rally that meets on Sunday mornings?

I've made several efforts to reach out to various nice moms I've met. But it takes ENORMOUS effort on my part to pick up the phone or write the email and invite someone for a playdate. And when I'm rebuffed? It takes another month for me to muster the energy/confidence/gumption to try again.

CG keeps reminding me not to take things personally. When someone doesn't call back, maybe they're busy? Or sick? Or didn't get the message for some reason? When someone doesn't email back, maybe she did see it? Maybe it got sent to a spam folder?

Or maybe, she's just not that interested. Which is also fine, I can't expect that the first person -or first FOUR people, AHEM- I meet and reach out to will be my long lost best friend. But I can only do this so many times before I start thinking that there must be something HUGELY wrong with me that everyone can see.

I know that this time of year is the worst for meeting people. There are no low-key playgound chats. There are no easy, low pressure Hey we're going to the outdoor music festival? Want to join us? type invitations. I know that spring will bring everyone outside and increase the chances for natural interactions. We're heading to the pool? Maybe we'll see you there? Hey, we're grilling tonight and would love to have you and your family join us for some carcinogenic burgers and non-political, non-religious conversation, if you're free?! See? I'm practicing it in my mirror already. NOW WITH NATURAL FACIAL EXPRESSIONS.

I just hope that all this hibernating with my little ones won't leave me completely devoid of all social skills. I didn't have many to spare to begin with.


Fran said...

We are so much alike! I wish we lived close to each other, I would TOTALLY be your friend! Here's hoping that the Spring thaw will bring you new opportunites to meet someone nice who can fill in the gap in your social calendar. Until then, you've got us babe!

Swistle said...

Ack, it IS so hard to make new friends! ...In fact, now that I think of it, I don't have any. I have my old friends, and we've all moved away from each other. No new.

Grateful Twin Mom said...

I love how you posted about this. I think we all have that fear of putting ourselves out there. I admire the willingness to do it again and again. I love how you logically know that friendships will come in time, and you know that, but you want to share how sucky it feels right now. I hear ya.

Marie Green said...

Dude, just face it. She's just not that into you!

Ha, ha. I'm kidding.

Listen, and I mean this very seriously: I live in a SMALL SMALL conservative, AND religious town and I DID find cool, like-minded people to hang out with. And not just two. Like, 12.

I SWEAR that if those people exist here, they exist there and YOU TOO WILL FIND THEM. And yes, that does deserve all caps, because finding one's tribe is SERIOUS BUSINESS.

I met many of the (AWESOME AWESOME) women at the state-sponsored "Mommy and Me" type classes. Do you have anything like that in your area?

Your tribe is coming. Be patient. They are coming!

Anonymous said...

Or maybe they got the email and the voicemail and it made them so, so anxious just like you. They're trying to rev themselves up to talk to you, but they're so comfortable with the same dumb idiots they always hang out with and as much as they'd LOVE to get to know a new woman who seems really cool, it's so much work, it's so hard, it's so butterfly-in-the-tummy, and now? Now they've waited too long to call or email back and they'd just look dumb or they'd just look desperate and they feel just as lost as you...but lost in the place they've been forever.

bat7mess said...

Okay, please, pretty please can we arrange a half way between us meet up? With or without our girls. You can email me at sgm115 at gmail dot com.

Anonymous said...

I really admire how brave you are, reaching out to other moms. I'm in a similar situation, a liberal girl in a conservative/religious city, with no new friends. But even though I've spied a few possibilities over the last few years, I've never had the nerve to reach out and ask for their email or phone number (I hate the phone, too). So thanks for the inspiration and keep trying - I hear it gets so much easier once they start school (I'm trying to convince myself of that, anyway).

Shari said...

Why didn't you move to MY town? I would LOVE to have a friend to go shopping with or to lunch. I do know people, but they are mostly my husband's friends, and while I like them, they aren't what I would call FRIENDS. Doesn't help that I work all day nearly an hour from my office. Opportunities to meet others in a small town, especially on the weekends, are severely limited unless you attend church...I hear ya.

Eleanor Q. said...

"Now with natural facial expressions..." I was laughing out loud.

I do think you're right that its so much easier to meet people in the summer at the park or playground. But for now, my best advice is to keep at it. Its so hard to make new friends but eventually, one of those emails will come with a reply of "I'd love to!" and then your set.

pywhong said...

oh cmbh - this last entry made me so sad that you left! i hope things look up for you! i'm not sure that you cloth diaper (CD) - but this site www.diaperswappers.com has some meet up discussions and new moms moving to different areas looking for some people to hang out with. i have corresponded with a ton of mamas and most are super friendly and people i think i could be friends with. i hope this might help just a little!!

Joanna said...

You continually amaze me with how brave and vulnerable you are at the same time. Thank you for your honesty! I remember when I first tried to start making mom-friends I had to repeat to myself over and over again, "This is not junior high. This is not junior high." Unfortunately some of the moms you have tried to reach out to seem to have forgotten that. When I read your posts I always think that Z and my Maggie would get along so great and how I would love to hang out with you. Anyone would be lucky to have you ladies as friends.

Erin said...

Making friends gets SO much harder as we get older. I totally sympathize.

That little Eliza butt! I can hardly STAND it, it is SO CUTE.

Amie said...

I have thought of doing the same thing! I have actually thought about going to a therapist on Saturdays just to get out of the house and talk to an adult. I too moved to a conservative place and while everyone seems friendly enough, I am afraid to open my mouth for fear my liberal ways might be exposed and I'll become the crazy lady on the block and be totally banished from all playgrounds in the neighborhood.

Astarte said...

I used to do that - talk to a therapist because he was a real adult that I could say something to other than generic pleasantries. I have heard of several other women who have done the same. I think there is a huge link between the (generally) innate woman's need to communicate, the breakdown of social relationships, and the high instance of so many of us being on antidepressants.

I don't think you should take it as being you being at fault. I know it's really hard not to, but I think that many people are in kind of in a rut, both socially and mentally, and especially at this time of year they're just not feeling like breaking out of their ruts, even for a wonderful person like you. It's their loss, really. It doesn't help that there's a fine line between being trying to be casual so hard that you never get anywhere and coming across like a total friend-clinger type.

Suki said...

I hesitate to say this and sound strange, but since you put yourself out there, I'll try and do the same:) I live in the Washington, DC area and while I am not a mom, I do have a few mom friends and I love kids as well as mani/pedis, girly movies, liberal politics, etc. I just started reading your blog, but my sister-in-law loves it and if she says you're good people, you're good people! Wanna get together some time? Great, now I feel like I just hit on you :) I'll shoot you an e-mail so you'll have my address without it being plastered all over the internet.


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