I am, admittedly, an introvert. I always have been. That never stopped me from having a lot of friends growing up. After high school though, it started becoming obvious that a lot of friends and I had subtly parted ways. Sometimes it was due to a friend moving away to attend college or to start a career. Later, it seemed that a lot of friends were getting married off and no longer had time to hang out with us singletons. Then a division formed between the friends who had children and those without. Eventually, I noticed that I was kind of hanging out by myself or just with my husband more often than not.
Now that I am a mom and need a break or just someone to call and talk to, I honestly don’t really have anyone. And it sucks.
My husband will say, “What about so and so? Why can’t you do something with them?” Most often he is referring to a work colleague. I look at coworkers as a different class of friend… important and invaluable, but not necessarily the type you want to have a cup of coffee or glass of wine and really talk to about some things. Don’t get me wrong, some of the people I work with are great and I would love the chance to get to know them better- but no offense to my coworkers, I want a friend that I can honestly talk about stuff with and not worry about the contents of our conversation being shared around the water cooler. I don’t mean to sound so pessimistic and stuck up, it’s just that I have been burned multiple times in the past by coworkers who I thought were my friends. Plus, sometimes the image of yourself you try to project at work and who you really are aren’t always the same. I want a friend that will make a weekly date with me to watch Girls or Doctor Who, or some other that my husband doesn’t like. Someone who will have a serious conversation but also be incredibly silly. Someone I can call when having a bad day. Someone that I can go shopping with or workout with. Someone that knows me well enough to know what I’m thinking with just a look.
I have tried to put my introverted ways aside and be more outgoing. I have met other women that I could picture being friends with and invited them for coffee in the attempt to get to know them, but each time it feels akward and forced and nothing has really ever come from it. (Perhaps it is because I am incredibly bad at making small talk. That is one social skill I have yet to master.) My husband and I were invited to a birthday party with other parents of young children but both of us are relatively quiet and thought it felt artificial and unnatural. I tried joining a mom’s group but only one person besides the person who invited me came to the meeting; they knew each other and were rather talkative. I felt like a third wheel.
Why is it so hard to make new friends as an adult? Have you ever been in this situation? What has worked for you?