Thursday, March 6, 2014

How Do You Make Friends?

I am very lucky that I have a large supply of many wonderful friends. I have friends I work out with. I have friends I go out to dinner with. I have some faraway friends and many who live nearby. I have friends through blogging, through work, from high school (and middle/elementary school) and college… 

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I would say I am pretty good at making friends. 

However, there is one friend making method I just totally fail at: forced friend making situations. I'm not sure why this is. Is it because I prefer to take my time getting to know someone? Is it because I just find those kind of situations awkward? Is it the pressure of "we must be friends!"?

I first discovered how bad I was at this in college. Before that, I just kind of made friends in classes or through friends of friends, and never gave it much thought. Then I went to college. I immediately befriended my roommate and a few others from my dorm. But, at BC it was a big thing to go on weekend retreats and become OMG BESTIES with everyone you went with. So I thought I'd give it a try. I'm sure you can imagine how that went. Then I tried doing some volunteer things to make friends… again, nope. It seems the more I TRY to make friends, the less I actually do. 

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I bring this up now because I am obviously in a new "phase" of my life. At first I thought, I really don't need any more friends, especially because several of my current friends are having babies right now anyway. But then, week 1 of maternity leave went by and I'm like I NEED MORE FRIENDS (specifically stay at home mom friends). So, I decided I'd start going to a moms group and see if I could make friends that way. I blame sleep deprivation for this temporary lapse in judgement. 

So, I've been to this moms group twice. There are some great people there, and some completely ridiculous/weird people there. I handle the structured part well- the guest speaker and the check in, but then when it is time to just mingle, I find myself feeling super awkward. I fiddle with Max's car seat straps to avoid eye contact. I glance at the clock to see when would be an appropriate time to leave. I try to make small talk, but… I hate small talk, and small talk about babies is a special kind of torture. I love Max, but he has not increased my excitement about poop and sleep schedules (unless you know a way to get him to sleep longer at night, then I'm all ears). 

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I know I could continue to go every week and give it more of a chance, and maybe I will. But in the end I know myself, I will not make friends this way. Let's be honest, I only have 7 weeks left of maternity leave and then the last thing I will need is stay at home mom friends, so it really doesn't matter. Yesterday I had lunch with one of Eric's friend's wives who is also on maternity leave. It was super fun and I didn't need to fiddle with the car seat or glance at the clock even once. 

How do you make friends? Are you the type that can go on a weekend trip and come back as best friends? 


  1. Love this post, Kelly. I'm pretty good at making friends wherever, whenever. In organic situations and in "forced" situations. But, parenting brings out a new breed of social interaction, even with some of my very best friends. There are a lot of judgments related to parenting choices, which turns seemingly normal moms into women who are out to prove they are great parents. I've seen it happen with very good friends and with complete strangers. And, I don't like it one bit. So, yeah, I agree with you that I never made friends through any of the moms groups I taste-tested when Gavin was young. Then again, I found most of these groups really catered to the stay at home mom - a great resource for them, but not so much for the working mom whose hours and availability are much more limited.

  2. So I've been to random things in the last 2.5 years and have not made a new friend that way at all. But I'm also the one who avoids eye contact and conversation, soooo. I never made it to the newborn group our hospital offers but my more enjoyable adventures are story time at the library because duhhh. Anyhow, I just make friends on the internet and all is good.

  3. I think I am pretty good at making friends, but my biggest challenge right now is finding places to do so. I have zero work friends (there is only 3 of us and that just wont happen) and I dont really do much outside of work to really help my friend making. It was so much easier in school...

  4. I am not good at making friends. I am the type of person who has a small group of friends but those friends are very important to me and our relationship is very loyal. Most of my "mom" friends are people in my online mom group who have kids the same age as Grace.I ask questions and exchange stories, but it's pretty anonymous. I have some friends in real life with kids her age too, but honestly we don't get together all that frequently. They are even teachers AND have kids the same age and still it's not like we're hanging out all the time. I also hate small talk and feel like unless someone is a teacher, I have a really hard time finding common ground. I wish we could go on mom dates!

  5. Hahaha you are so funny. I love this post! A huge part of my job is building relationships/networking and being friendly to people all over the place and sometimes I'm so so SO over small talk. It doesn't help that Eric really hates random small talk and I have to drag him along with me to lots of work related events haha. Anyways, that is not really about making friends as much as it's about making small talk, so moving on...

    I also feel like I have enough friends to fill my quota right now and even the friends I have it's sometimes hard to balance it all because we all lead busy lives and it can be hard to fit in social time on top of everything else. I feel like I'm at a point in my life now where it will be hard to make anymore really good/best friends because I just don't have the time (or make the time) to devote to that kind of new friendship. I think good for you for putting yourself out there with mom's group though, you never know, there could have been someone there you really clicked with so it's good you tried even if it didn't work out!

  6. I can't stand those kinds of forced things: I have had to go to a lot of networking events over the years and my goodness, they drive me nuts. There's a lot of people watching for sure, and a lot of back patting and "in crowd," stuff that isn't my favorite. I totally get where you are coming from!

  7. I am not good at making friends in those forced situations, either. Like meet up groups or networking events. I just can't be 'on' in those situations and I tend to sort of clam up and be extra quiet. I do better when friendships form organically. One exception to this is the running club I joined. I joined to have some company on my runs, but also with the hope that I would make some new friends, and I really did, but that is because you aren't forced to talk a lot of the time because the workouts would be so tough. But you'd have snippets of conversation and got to know others well enough to know who you would click with and then I'd try to run w/ those people on the longs.

    I found myself needing to make friends when I moved to Charlotte and I have honestly really sucked at it. I have made a handful of friends, but in general I don't make much effort because it just exhausts me honestly. There are 1-2 people I have really clicked with, but besides that, it feels so forced and I feel like I am wracking my head for things to talk about and all I can think is that I have all these friends back home and scattered across the US/Canada where it doesn't take effort to make conversation and I just think 'screw this, I'm done'. So I make no effort as a result and have very few social plans as a result... but so it goes.