I’m the new girl in town. Again.
This is not a new venture for me, though each time presents unique challenges. In the last seven years, my family and I have moved four times; each time to a different coast. Unpacking boxes and trying to decide which cabinet my beloved Crock-Pot belongs in is the easiest part about moving. The biggest challenge of being the new girl is making friends that you can go shopping with and have them help you take your spanks off in the fitting room.
The kind of friend you bend over in front of and ask, “Are these leggings see through?” And you know that even if the answer is “Yes,” they will still hang out with you.
We moved about three months ago, so I find myself as the new girl once again. A pivotal moment for me recently was when I started thinking, “I don’t need friends that bad. They will come along sooner or later.” Then I took a look around and it hit me as I was drinking wine in my husband’s sweatpants watching The Voice with my three-year-old – “Hello introvert, you need some friends.”
But shopping for friends is like shopping for a bra.
It can take a while to find the right fit. You want to be sure it’s comfortable and that it’s going to last (because Lord knows when you are going to Target alone again).
Something happened to my social skills after I had kids. It’s no secret the reason is that I am completely out of practice. It took me a long time to embrace the fact that I’m an introverted personality. I’m pretty quick to admit that my idea of a good time is staying at home, eating cheese and bread and chocolate, washed down with a good Cab. But I’m not a total recluse. I like going out, but social situations where I don’t know anyone can be so draining.
Small talk makes me feel like I’m on roller skates with marbles in my mouth.
I would so much rather sit down with a cup of coffee and nod in agreement to someone telling me about how much laundry they have to catch up on because they blindly washed a glittery tutu with the rest of the clothes, and now it looks like the tooth fairy barfed all over everything.
I know there are opportunities to meet some other moms at playgroups and other kid-related activities. But I’m a mom of young kids, so trying to hold a conversation with someone while holding onto the back of my one-year-old’s diaper so he doesn’t take a leap off the play gym (again) is seemingly impossible.
Sidebar – trying to foster relationships while you’re disciplining your kids warrants a completely different blog post. Something titled, “Don’t judge me, I still don’t know exactly what to do when my kids don’t want to share.”
Last week, I gave my number to a mom at a barbeque place because I thought we shared a moment over the Chick-Fil-A place mats and their cringingly slow service. I haven’t heard from her. Which isn’t surprising, considering that I wrote my number in crayon on a sticky note shaped like a puppy.
I just don’t know how people make good friends fast. But I’ll keep pressing on and putting myself out there. I’ll keep attending the mom groups, play dates, and church events. I’ll give my phone number out on wiener dog sticky notes all day long. Especially if it means I have a chance at making that one friend that will sit with me in piles of tiny, unfolded t-shirts.
I wish I had some quippy quote to leave you with about making friends in the midst of motherhood.
But mostly, I just want to know I’m not alone.
I want to meet that other awkward mom that just shrugs with her mouth hanging open when her kid starts playing the harmonica in the middle of the grocery store. My hope is that I can update this blog post a year from now (when I’m no longer the new girl), and talk about all the good spots to start meeting people without feeling like your shopping for a bra.
Have you been the new girl in town before? What helped you make new friends?