The other day, a mom friend and I had one of those conversations where we needed to clear the air. My feelings were hurt because of miscommunication on my part and lack of communication on her part. During our “clear the air” conversation the mom said, “I’m still trying to navigate the mom friendship thing.” This got me thinking as to why two successful career women in their late 30’s and early 40’s still have trouble navigating friendships. Why do we still get our feelings hurt, feel left out or get angry when someone does not like us? I thought after middle school, high school, and 4 years in a sorority the friendship thing with other females would get easier. In some ways it had. For instance, I am secure in my friendships with certain women, some of them I have known since the 5th grade. With these friends, I can always be myself and know they will be with me for the long haul. There is no question in my mind these friends would drop everything to help me if called upon. We have laughed, cried, watch each other get married, divorced, have children and be there no matter what. These friends require little effort because it so easy and no navigation is need.
But, I am not talking about these friends. Instead, I am referring to another set of friends. The friends or acquaintances you have because you live on the same street or your kids go to the same school or play on the same sports team. These are the mom’s who don’t necessarily seek out, but you happen to be around because of circumstance. These are the moms who can make me feel like I am back in my first day of 9th grade when my best friend decided she did not want to be my friend any longer because I was no cool enough. These are the mom’s who I have to start from the beginning and decide whether or not to form long lasting relationships.
When my son started kindergarten two years ago, I thought I was going to walk in on the first day and meet my newest bestie. I was going to connect right away with a mom and we were going to be thick as thieves from that day forward. People would ask “did you two grow up together because it seems like you have been friends forever?” Of course, that did not happen. Instead, the room was full of parents who seemed to already know each other and were enthusiastically chatting among themselves (later to find out 6 kids in that class had gone to the same preschool together). No, it took me a good three months to finally meet a nice mom who’s son was in my son’s class and set up that first play date. Three Months!!! But, then again, why did I care? Why was it so important to me to meet new friends and be one of those moms who everyone wants to be friends with?
When I posed this question to my Life Long Girl Crew or Lifers, Candy* responded “no one likes me except you guys. I am OK at acquaintances but not good at getting past that.” But, what if I want more than that? Why can’t I just be happy with just having acquaintances who may or may not invite us over for a swim and some cocktails. I hear about groups of moms getting together every week for a beach day or park outing. Yet, I don’t seem to have that steady group of mom friends. Is it because I work and can’t get together during the week? (Note – stay tuned for the working moms verses non-working moms post in the near future). Is it because I am expecting too much from other moms or, even worse, am I still not cool enough?
Chantel, another lifer, said “I think, it’s hard, too. Making friends, at least good ones, who you can actually relate to. I think social media plays a role in that, both good and bad.” Whatever the case I am still working on my navigation skills. And, no, contrary to my husband’s belief, I do not need to or want to me friends with EVERYONE. But, I good mom crew would sure be nice.