Humiliating Confession: I Suck At Making Friends

Mom Moment 92

I was flipping through a magazine the other day and came across an article featuring a roundup of fashion picks for a girls' night out. I lingered over the photos of cute dresses and chunky necklaces and thought about how my typical wardrobe consists of yoga pants and a Humane Society t-shirt featuring an unfortunately boob-centric cartoon hamster design on the front.

I also thought about how my last girls' night out was seven months ago, when I went to BlogHer in San Diego. The girls' night out before that? BlogHer 2010, I think.

I don't get out very often, is what I'm saying. Or more accurately, I don't socialize much outside of my family. Or more (humiliatingly) accurately still, I have virtually no local friends whatsoever.

This isn't really by choice, although it's true that I'm shy and socially anxious and introverted and I have a nearly pathological fear of rejection that makes it very difficult for me to reach out to people or even accept their overtures. It's also true that I'm great at making excuses! If you need more: I have an isolating work-from-home job, everyone I know in Seattle lives at least half an hour away, and a tiny yet deadly robot has been programmed to follow my every move and thwart any burgeoning friendships I may attempt.

More from The Stir: 4 Horror Stories From Moms Dumped by 'Friends' Without Kids

(I admit I have no actual proof of that last one, but it sounds better than admitting that I utterly fail at Adult Human Contact 101.)

This feels like one of my more embarrassing confessions, and believe me, I've gone public with more than a handful of personal shortcomings. It's just, you know, what kind of loser has no friends—at 38 years old?

It's been so long since I've struck up a relationship with someone outside of the Internet, I wonder if I haven't completely lost the ability. At school pickups and dropoffs, everyone has the faint Do Not Disturb vibe of impatient passengers at a bus stop. At playgrounds, I can't imagine inserting myself into a group of chatting moms in order to join the conversation. At the grocery store, I'm too focused on corralling my feral aisle-rampaging children to bond with another adult over the deliciousness of Deli Rye Triscuits.

More excuses, really. The fact is, I keep to myself, and other than offering a quick smile, I never approach other people or say hello. That's just my nature, and it's not because I'm purposefully standoffish, it's because I find it nearly impossible to overcome my inherent shyness.

I wonder, though, if I also created this loner existence because I've come to value alone time so much. I'm surrounded by so much noise and chaos on a daily basis, my idea of heaven is an silent hotel room, a pile of trashy magazines, and zero obligations to fulfill. Do I choose to live a life that's devoid of girls' nights out because I recharge by solitude instead of socializing? Or am I missing out on important relationships that would provide some much-needed balance to my parenting-centric life?

I'm honestly not sure. Ironically, the thing that makes me feel the most alone is thinking I'm the only one who's like this—generally happy, busy, and surrounded by love ... but completely lacking in the friendship department. It makes me wonder, sometimes: is there something wrong with me?

Can you identify with this at all? Or have you always had a thriving social life?

Image via Flickr/alexfrance

emotional health


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Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

I completely understand where you are coming from. I'm 26 and have lost most of my friends due to becoming a parent. I realize that is a good thing, who wants people in their lives that don't care to be a part of it? But it's been difficult to make new friends since a lot of moms I come into contact with are all older and more set in their ways. I've always been an "old soul" and it's been difficult to find someone my age who gets it. I've also been let down by a lot of "friends" so I'm very wary of letting new people in. Also, in my area, the moms can be very snobby and instead of looking at you they look at what you can bring to them or materialistic advantages. So in short, it's been a rough road. I have a few close acquaintances but nothing more. I miss having bff's and girls nights out, but I wouldn't trade being a mom for anything. I hope one day I can find someone that will be as good of a friend to me as I am to them :)

jessi... jessicasmom1

I agree , after child birth comes , your friends go hey wire ... unless they are parents themselves .. 

nonmember avatar Chicago_Dude

Is it possible you have set yourself on a pedestal and your expectations too high, of what a friend ought to bring to YOUR life that you've (or are) losing sight of what friendship is about?

It isn't going to kill you (I promise you) to revaluate that aspect of your life. Be honest with yourself, then challenge yourself to be better.

Smile at that elderly lady next time you see her.

Wink at yourself in the mirror, then to the clerk at the checkout counter.

Wave a hello to the child in car next to you (at the stop light).

Baby steps, and you'll be on your way to not only be relating to someone outside of your famil but potentially making someone's day/perhaps a new "friend".

babya... babyanderson

Being a mom is a big part of it. Although there seems to be little time for friends, I also seem to prefer to spend what little extra time I do have in my day with the hubby and kids. When I am away I almost feel guilty for not being there to make sure everyone else is taken care of. I really wouldn't trade it for anything but sometimes it would be nice to have people to let loose with.

Kelly Boyd

I have moved a few times in my adult life and find it hard to make friends.  I have a lot of moms that I can say "Hi!" to, but the "going out for drinks" type friendship or "going shopping" friendship, nope..... none of that.  And that was BEFORE kids.
And all I have to say about this:  "my idea of heaven is an silent hotel room, a pile of trashy magazines, and zero obligations to fulfill"  AMEN!!!!

fave82 fave82

Reading this is like reading the story of my life! I'm 29 and have 2 best girl friends and in a matter of 3 months they've both moved out of state for work. I still have sister in laws and cousins I can call.. but none are particularly close by. There are the looser friendships I have with old coworkers, old high school friends. But I never really do more than a lunch here and there with these girls and I'm afraid to admit I find the effort I have to put into maintaining those friendships to be tiresome. The majority of the time I end up hanging out with my mom, which makes me sound like a massive loser. The worst part is that my husband has kept in touch with every buddy he's ever made. He has like 900 friends and I'm hard pressed to find someone to go to a movie with, lol

TeganB TeganB

Right there with you. I have maybe one friend who lives 14 hours away, whom I only occasionally text and who doesn't take part in any social media, (but I know she is my one good friend that I can count on), but other than that, nothing. We live probably 1000 miles from anyone we know, and I don't make friends very easily. In my head and heart, I am very friendly and loving, but my words and body language I don't think conveys this. 

One time, at a playground (with my very friendly husband, or this would have never happened), I got the phone number of another mom who thought we could have a playdate or something. I've never called because it felt funny to me, no time every seemed "right," and now, so much time as passed that I feel ashamed that I didn't call earlier. 

junecat junecat

OMG - I am the same way - I read all the articles about friends and best friends and I feel like I'm missing out, but I really deep down don't care!!  I am perfectly happy with my family and I have sisters and I just enjoy my own company!!  I am so happy to hear I am not the only one who feels like this!! 

nonmember avatar Nolamama

I was so surprised to see that you were the one to write this article! You are by far one of my favorite writers! I guess I assumed that you were one of the popular moms in your circle. You are so gorgeous and hilarious! I guess I never thought about you as being the kind of person with social anxiety. Sometimes making friends takes a huge leap of faith. I've been burned by "friends" more times than I care to count but I have not let that stop me from trying! Never let your fear of people be greater than your faith in people. I'm sure there are many women out there who relate to your stories as I do! Chin up, Lynda! A lot of my friends read your posts as well and think you're awesome! Now, if we could just get you to see that too! XOXO

lucidkim lucidkim

Yes! Just the same!  I was thinking about this just this week - and part of it is having moved a lot - but part of it is I'd rather spend time with my kids (or enjoy alone time...!).  Friendships often take a lot of work to maintain and I don't even feel like making the effort - and I wonder if I'm antisocial and weird for not wanting to make the effort.  Even if the answer is yes I'm not likely to change!

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