Making new friends (and a link to my first sponsored post)

I just wrote my very first sponsored post up at Moxieville (my column at Babble Voices) entitled "We also bought a shirt with Chewbacca on it". I love the concept of sponsored posts, because it's so transparent: Company pays me to write. I only accept payment from companies I actually spend money with. They only sponsor bloggers they like. This post was for Old Navy, which is where I've been doing a lot of my clothes shopping for me and the kids since I stopped shopping at Target 14 months ago. I was so happy when they ran the "It Gets Better" shirts this summer, so I said yes right away when I was asked if I wanted to write this post.

I was also really happy to be able to do this post because it tied together all the stuff I've been thinking about this week, in a kind of random way: running, worrying about money, the colder weather, feeling like I should be doing more for other parents now that I can pay my rent every month, buying clothes for the kids, and what it was like living with my mom last month. Funny how it all came together, and when I was doing the shopping for the post I had a great conversation with the cashier. This was just a lovely experience in ways I hadn't even thought it would be.

But back to talking about parenting: I have been thinking a lot about making new parent friends. I went to our new school's Curriculum Night this week, and had the sudden realization that I need to (find and unpack and) break out my Mom Cards again. When my kids were teeny I always carried some cards in my wallet that I'd had printed up for about $20. They had my name and number and email on them. Nothing else, just that. Whenever I met another parent I wanted to keep in touch with, I could just hand over my card instead of fumbling around for a pen and grocery store receipt to write my number down on.

I'm an extrovert, so even when I feel awkward in a group I can still force myself to talk to someone else. Thanks to writing Ask Moxie and having heard from all of you, I've figured out that there are people who will never ever make the first move, so I should just jump in and do it. But without being so enthusiastic that I scare them away. I'm hoping there are enough introverts at this school that I can use stealth to trick into being my friends that I'll have a few friends in each of my kids' classes.

Where are the rest of you with regards to making friends? It felt so easy when we were all just desperate for sleep. Now that school has come into the mix, and the obvious-but-ludicrous divisions of WOH vs. SAH vs. WAH and all that external stuff is less prominent, it should be easier. But it feels a bit harder to me.So it's got to be even tougher for those of you that don't feel comfortable just sticking out your hand and starting the conversation.

Thoughts?

134 thoughts on “Making new friends (and a link to my first sponsored post)”

  1. I am just about the worst friend-maker ever. In fact, I don’t really have any friends and don’t know how to make any. I am a major introvert and don’t do well talking to new people. I have a young child and even still I find it hard to talk to other moms let alone make friends. I’ve taken my son to activities but no one ever seems friendly or interested in chatting, and when I try to extend myself I feel like I don’t know how to even bring it up! Honestly, I think going to a very tiny school and being painfully shy contributed to my lack of skills today. I literally knew everyone around me and never had to make a friend since I was in Kindergarten!Sigh.

  2. I am more than comfortable chatting up strangers. I make friendly acquaintances everywhere I go.What I have never figured out how to do is make that leap from friendly acquaintance to Friend. I have one close friend from college that I still talk to about Deep Stuff, but in many ways I feel like that’s the last real friendship I began. If someone held a gun to my head and told me I had to plan a Girls’ Night, I *might* be able to come up with one or two women to be social with.
    I can’t be the only one stuck on this step, can I? It just seems like everyone is So. Busy. Who has time for a new friend? The people I know don’t have time to hang out with the friends they already have.
    I don’t know. I feel like I’m missing some piece of the puzzle that everybody else knows about.

  3. Interesting topic as I join the world of school with my 5 year old son! At my neighbourhood school, I know a lot of the parents and kids. Would many classify as “friends”? No. I can chat them all up, have them over for a ladies night of drinks and apps, but there are only a few I would consider truly as friends. The rest are the mothers of kids my son will be at school with for the next XX years. Some WAH, WOH and many SAH. All are married. I’m divorced with a co-parenting ex around the corner. And I feel there is a boundary to these friendships that does not include being invited to “couple” events. I need to branch out but due to working FT and parenting the rest of the time, not too many opportunities to meet/make friends. I feel rusty in this area.

  4. Jan – I’m right there with you. I can chat with people anywhere, and have a lot of acquaintances at work or through other things. But, I don’t really feel like I have anyone I could just call up and go for coffee/shopping/whatever with.It seems making that leap to “friend” is so hard in the adult years. Everyone is busy, or already has their own group of friends (this is what I have found after moving to a new city about 5 years ago). I’ve talked to a lot of people about it, and most of them are in the same boat, but no one knows why it happens or what to do about it.

  5. This is the single hardest issue for me around parenting. I find reaching out to make friends at my daughters school so hard. And I worry so much about it because I know she needs me to do it so she can develop relationships with the other kids. And even harder is trying to move to socializing more with families since my husband is an extreme introvert. It is really hard feeling like I’m failing her because of my own social short comings.

  6. Oh my goodness, it’s NOT just me? I feel like other folks are so much better at this. I make acquaintances well, but to cross over into friends? So hard. I feel like the last good friends I made were high school and college, and now we all live scattered and that’s just not enough support. And the time thing? Between work and kids it’s really an issue.

  7. The barrier from friendly to friend that has been referenced above is so hard to break! I can never tell if we are really friends or if it’s just convenience. Then I worry if I’m too pushy or not outgoing enough; does the other person know I’d like to be more than just “friendly”? It’s pretty exhausting. It doesn’t help that people are telling me I should be dating (now that my ex and I are split). That just seems insurmountable! I think I’ll stick with homework, reading with my babies, work, figuring myself out, going back to school, and hope there is time for friends (and more!) later.

  8. I’m an extrovert too but I have an intimacy outlier ūüôā on Myers Briggs so I much prefer to connect properly with a few than be more superficial “shopping” friends with many.I’m infertile and met TONS of women at an infertility support group. A lot of us got pregnant and had babies through IVF within a year of one another so we are all friends through that shared experience.
    I don’t have the answer except to say I prayed earlier this year for God to strengthen any friendships from that group that were right for me and I have two good friends out of that bunch now.
    Keen to see what everyone else says. Because it’s hard. And then the whole “what if you like someone more than they like you” thing comes into play too.

  9. I feel just like Ab.I just wanted to throw that out there. I know I’ve been feeling alone and lonely about this stuff and here Ab wrote exactly how I’m feeling. Exactly.

  10. Gah, I am going through this right now having moved across Canada back to what was my home town. I left as a newlywed and have returned as a family – so I don’t know this city from the perspective of being a parent.At drop off and pick up at my daughter’s school I try to say hi to the few that I know and also try to look approachable. It’s hard! Kinda like dating but with potential friends.
    Add onto that a rough experience with a “cabal” of a mommy group in the city that I left, and I have to fight being gunshy about connecting with others.

  11. I’m the extrovert. Maybe it is my babys age, 4 months, but I recently joined our areas La Leche League, and I am dying for more mom friends. To the point, where I think I’ve become a little over bearing, either that or everyone already has their groups that they stay confined to, I dunno. I have had a couple bad experiences though, aka, trying to share some research on AP and breastfeeding on facebook, and getting attacked for it. Apparently I was “knocking other parenting styles”. I hope it ended up helping a few people, I know I wished I would have read it a couple months ago!

  12. Definitely nice to hear it’s not just me. I feel so inadequate in the making-friends dept. I can chat with other moms, and they seem like they are happy to talk with me, but I try sometimes reaching out to moms who I think would be people I could be friends with, who have young kids like me, and they seem to not be that interested. As though they’re just all set with friends. Really, are there people who just don’t need anymore friends? I wish I was one of them. I have one good friend who I connected with in my new mom’s group, and even though she is a mostly SAHM and I work full time, we have stayed friends, which is really really nice and it saves me. But the other few friends I’d had seem to have moved away or dropped away and I look at myself sometimes and say, wow it seems I really only have one friend… what is wrong with me?

  13. Jen, Jan, Alyssa – YES! Me too! I find it generally easy to ‘chat’ with strangers, but very very difficult to take the next step with people and actually establish a friendship. Honestly, since we moved, the only friend I have is Hubby. Which makes venting about him fairly awkward. I rally don’t have any REAL friends otherwise. It’s sad and I get lonely sometimes, wondering why everyone else has all these friends and I have none… but too busy ( /lazy / scared) to do much about it.

  14. Pilot’s wife. Move alot. Tired of making new friends. But I do. I like to chat very superficially with people for 6 months or so. Then I accept an invitation, or go to a birhtday party, UGH! But the way to MAKE friends is to join in on a project you feel is interesting. Hanitat for humanity. Spring school carnival. Painting play props. Filling boxes for the troops. Planting a school garden. Work? There is a project happening Every. Day. Of. The. Week. Even Sunday. My project was a springfest where I made things to sell. I worked with a mom I thought was COMPLETELY on a different page. Turns out, I love her. SHe is silly, and nurturing, and bawdy and like 15 years younger than me, and yet wise.I also s-l-o-w-l-y met moms on the playground. Not the bitches I thought they were, I might add. And I DID think they were bitches. Pardon my entifeminist French.
    try it.

  15. Pilot’s wife. Move alot. Tired of making new friends. But I do. I like to chat very superficially with people for 6 months or so. Then I accept an invitation, or go to a birhtday party, UGH! But the way to MAKE friends is to join in on a project you feel is interesting. Hanitat for humanity. Spring school carnival. Painting play props. Filling boxes for the troops. Planting a school garden. Work? There is a project happening Every. Day. Of. The. Week. Even Sunday. My project was a springfest where I made things to sell. I worked with a mom I thought was COMPLETELY on a different page. Turns out, I love her. SHe is silly, and nurturing, and bawdy and like 15 years younger than me, and yet wise.I also s-l-o-w-l-y met moms on the playground. Not the bitches I thought they were, I might add. And I DID think they were bitches. Pardon my entifeminist French.
    try it.

  16. First I was going to say I feel exactly as Jan does, but then I kept reading and see that we‚Äôre not alone! Wow!I don‚Äôt have any close, intimate, local friendships in my current life. I have a handful of mom acquaintances I know from daycare, early playgroups, etc, but it seems (to me) like they all have their own wild and crazy social lives and I am not included for some reason. I have a ‚Äúwalking buddy‚ÄĚ at work, but she doesn‚Äôt have kids, so it hasn‚Äôt evolved much beyond work ‚Äď but I do value it. I don‚Äôt think I‚Äôm that unlikeable, but maybe I am?
    I keep in touch with my old, good friends from high school and college, through facebook, but we are scattered all over the country so even though I get some fulfillment out of that, it’s not the same thing as having a local friend.
    I work full time and have an only child, which makes me feel like an outsider where I live. I know I’m not the only working mother of an only child in my area, but I feel like it sometimes. It could all just be in my head, too. Maybe I’m putting up false walls or something.
    My husband has the same problem, too. I know he’d benefit from some male bonding, but he is kind of in the same boat as I am.
    Anyone in the greater Boston area looking for friendship? Someone to shop with, see an occasional movie, dinner play-dates? I’m here!

  17. I felt this way for a long time, about the leap from friendly to friends. But I think I’ve realized it’s one of those things you just have to do – pick someone and invite them over. The trick is not taking it personally if it doesn’t work out.I’m blessed though with a friend who’s a social hub and has provided me with ample opportunity to socialize. Watching her and just doing what she does helps. It also helps that she formed a posse I could tag along with.
    My problem right now is time and energy. I love, love my friends. I suck, suck at creating good space to nurture those relationships…which is idiotic of me.
    Sandra if you returned to East-ish Toronto, say so. ūüėČ

  18. This is apropos for me (as Moxie so often is!) – I am a fairly social introvert, but since having a baby I have had a tough – nearly impossible – time making parent friends. I really feel the lack of them, but I… I don’t know, exactly.I think a big part of the problem is that I don’t really feel like I have a lot in common with many parents here in SoCal. We’re hippie attachment parents who co-sleep and still nurse a toddler, but we’re also nerds. And I have a lot of problems really getting into a headspace where I can feel okay about being friends with someone who has vaccine conspiracy feelings… which is most of the people who otherwise parent like I do.
    I don’t know. Does that make any sense? I tend to just feel very isolated and alone in my “our kid doesn’t eat candy or watch TV and we don’t spank, but we vaccinate and use antibiotics” thing, and like I just don’t have a lot of philosophical commonalities with almost anyone. And that’s ON TOP OF the fact that you need to actually dig the other parent as a person to begin with. Ugh.
    I’m hoping this will maybe change once the little one starts preschool in a year or so.
    Man. I’m hoping for some good advice in the comments, because it does really bother me that I have somehow not been able to make parent connections since having a baby.

  19. Wow. I guess I can stop blaming myself for this problem. I see other women meet through our kids’ school, and they become friends, but I don’t seem to be able to make that leap myself. I never find a family with kids who match mine in age and sex, which would help.

  20. My daughter is only 2, so I’m not in the whole school thing yet, but I am definitely going through a transition as far as making friends. I went on maternity leave for two years, and recently resigned from my teaching job to be a mostly stay at home mom. While I’m so grateful to be home with my daughter, I miss my teacher friends, and I miss being part of a social network. I’ve made a couple of mom friends who I think I can make a real connection with, but it seems like friendships develop at a much slower rate, because you don’t see each other on a daily basis, and also because you speak in fragments that are broken up by chasing after your child. It’s so funny that you should post this today; I’m feeling lonely and kind of like I don’t fit anywhere in the world right now. I know it will get better, but I miss my old friendships where I didn’t have to explain anything, because they knew me well; my hangups, my humor, etc. It’s a whole new ballgame getting to know people as E’s mom. Thanks for helping me feel less alone today.

  21. @Cordy, I can relate, although the criteria is different. For me, it’s not about parenting styles or philosophy, but my own issues.We don’t make as much money as the majority of people in our affluent town. We have a small house. I am the bread winner (always have been and likely always will be). We have only one child as opposed to the 2-3 it seems most people around here have.
    I feel like people aren’t interested in being my friend because they are either SAHMs or work part time while their husband brings home the big bucks and they chill out in their bigger better houses. In other words, we’re different.
    I know myself enough to know that I benefit from having a very small group of close friends as opposed to a huge social life. And I also benefit from commonalities. I realize I probably just need to get over myself.

  22. Not to take over the comments section, but I feel the need to expand on what I said above:It feels to me like early motherhood is this all-defining thing for women in a way it just isn’t for men. I know my husband has trouble making close friendships in adulthood (he is awesome. I think the friend thing is just near-universal after you leave college, unfortunately) but I just don’t think that “the way I am a father” feels self-defining to him or other men the way motherhood seems to feel to women.
    So… I notice that women get weirdly lecturey and competitive (“Do you feed your baby organic milk? WHY/WHY NOT/hurt feelings ensue.”) about stuff that men wouldn’t even… Like, I have watched my husband tell other men that our kid is breastfed. It’s no big deal.
    But for moms, saying “My toddler still nurses” seems to mean that you’re staking out a territory and saying “THIS is right and proper, what are you doing?” and then the other mom can either feel bad about herself because she formula-fed, or she can attack back (“You’re a weirdo for still breastfeeding!”), or… you know?
    I just get so sick of that, all the weird sniping and competition and second-guessing. I just want to hang out with women who are trying to parent gently and consciously, and who feel like everyone is making the best decisions they can for their family.
    So – when I say that I feel awkward hanging out with people who don’t vaccinate, it’s not even… look, I don’t care! Don’t vaccinate, it’s a free country! But I am making a different choice for my child, and, as I said, it seems like mothers of young families tend to be very into defining themselves in terms of their choices being morally correct and best.
    It feels very complicated. And hard to form bonds with people who are doing things differently. And sometimes like it’s safer to just not have deep relationships that involve parenting.
    Motherhood is surprisingly lonely!

  23. Anyone in Maine… hit me up! :)I had a baby a year ago, and though my friends are still my friends, I never see them, they never call me and I never call them. I never thought I’d say this but it can be hard to connect with friends who don’t have children. And I feel like I never have time/energy/money to hang out with my friends the way I used to, like going out to dinner and drinks. Only person (thank goodness) that I still talk to regularly is my BFF (known her since 1988!) on atleast a weekly basis. Thank god for her!

  24. OT – Moxie, I’m trying to get an RSS feed of your Babble posts, but I can’t seem to find it. Is it just me? I have been having a lot of “duh” moments this week.

  25. I’m, ya know, not from around here — here being Paris, of course — and I don’t honestly know if this is why I’m so terrible at making friends or (more likely) just a decent excuse for a problem I’d have anyway. My son is in his second year of nursery school, and beyond chatting a bit on the playground or exchanging a rare e-mail, I’m not at all connected with other parents in town. It probably doesn’t help that I live in a densely populated urban neighborhood and people are anchored in anonymity. Plus, I’m shy (even though I’m a chatterbox when I’m actually in front of someone), so when I finally start getting to know someone I’m constantly worried that when I recontact them I’ll just be bothering them.Like other commentators, I’m also one of those people who doesn’t know how to take the step from friendly acquaintance to true friendship. And I hate the sort of relationships that are based on endless reciprocal dinner invitations, trailing husband and kids… ugh. What I need is a girlfriend I can meet for coffee on a moment’s notice. Or at least a week’s notice, let’s say.

  26. IN the process of doing it now. I find that you have to make yourself avilable. The girls and I will be going to the school playground as soon as it is cooler. All the mom’s/dad’s who can do it, do it. Also, I am going to try to ask a nice mom that I met if she would like to volunteer at the same time. Carpool. In common bitching and moaning helped me connect with a nice woman.I do, fortunately, have a friend that I have know for a few years but we have become incredibly close the past year. She and I things are easy and I feel like because of that relationship I don’t feel like soo much is at stake. I am taking it as it comes and I know in the 6 years my girls will be at this school I will find the right people/fit for me and the girls and conor.

  27. I moved to a new town about six years ago with one child (I now have three) and it look a LONG time for me to feel like I had fully integrated myself into my new community and made a nice group of friends. And, I consider myself to be a major extrovert! It’s just that once you have kids, the mom “dating” thing takes much longer. I mean, every single time I was with another mom and was trying to get a feel for whether we were friend compatible, we were interrupted 10,000 times by our kids and it felt like it was only when I made the extra effort to ask a mom “out” for dinner that I was able to sense if we had a connection or not. And, sometimes these dinners were awkward as it was clear there wasn’t a love connection. But, I kept at it. I’m one of those people who generally has an instinct about who I’ll hit it off with and then I kind of pursue that person. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I remember about two years into my new life here complaining to my husband that I was sad that I did not have the kind of “sister” friends that I was used to having in my old city– the kind of friends that you could drop in on at a moments notice, call 12 times a day if you were stressed, etc. and you would immediately feel better. But, as the years passed, I did develop these relationships and am very happy with my new life. I think it really does take time, and there is truth to the fact that people do have busy lives, their own friends, etc. but I would like to think that most people remain open and responsive to new, interesting people. But, it definitely does take effort. A lot of effort.

  28. I’m an extrovert and I’ve realized reaching out to connect is the way I cope w/ stress, fear, uncertainty. Still, it takes a lot of effort to be social even as a person who enjoys it. It’s tough putting yourself out there because every time you do you face either possible rejection or the possibility that the person you thought seemed cool is not really your type and then it’s awkward. Kinda like friend dating. It helps me to remember that no one friend can be everything for me (including my husband– it helped our relationship a lot when I stopped expecting him to be my alpha and omega). I have my Mom friends to talk about Mom stuff with, my PhD friends to talk about research stuff with, my sporty friends to talk about running and biking with. Some of them I hang out with only in certain contexts (at the gym or at school), others of them I socialize with only with family in tow, and others I socialize with completely separately (I have an awesome “Mom’s Night Out” group that, corny as it was to get going, has been an incredible outlet over the last two years). I guess what I’m saying is that I think it’s ok not to have a “best friend” that totally gets every single thing about me and who will drop everything to have coffee with me at a moment’s notice; maybe that’s too much pressure to put on a friend, you know? Taken together, my friends and various groups of friends rock, but no single person or context fills all my friend needs, you know?It just occurred to me though that my very best friends across all the different circles I’m in are the ones I can share dirty jokes with. Why is that? It’s like, if I can’t make a joke involving the words “ball sacks” and know my friend will burst out laughing, then we’re not really close friends. I’m sorry, I guess I’m have the mental age of 9.

  29. @Moxie, as an introvert, if I was a mom of a kid in your sons’ classes, I would so welcome you starting the conversation.This is the hard part for me…first introductions .I generally don’t get to know people or make connections in 5 minutes (or even the first few times of meeting you).. So if you’re the kind of person that moves on if I’m more reserved at first, then we generally don’t become friends. If we do become good friends though, we will likely stay friends for a long time (even if we’re in a different city). I’ve found over the years that there are just some friends you can go a long time without talking to, and then when. you do it’s like no time has past.
    I’m much better at turning acquaintances into friends, if I think we have enough in common. Sometimes there are awkward moments in that first dinner or event alone with the other person. But in general I just try to build on small stuff that’s come up in conversation. Also, I’m a total chicken about making friends with people I don’t know at all. I’ll tend to build on acquaintances or on friends and acquaintances of DH’s ( that aren’t our shared acquaintances). Pretty much all of my Mom friends are acquaintances that turned into friendships, sheerly by the fact of being new parents, and offering help/an ear (either by me or by them). Sometimes it hasn’t worked and we’ve just stayed acquaintances. But it’s worked enough times. And I’ve also known them pre-kids, so I had a good sense if we’d hit it off.
    There’s definitely not enough time to develop many new close friendships since DS was born. But I’m trying to keep things alive with the people I enjoy talking to/spending time with so that as DS gets older I’ll have a base of people to build on.
    I’ve been in this city for 10 years and I find that I’m just now amassing enough friends/good friends to have a good support system. Apparently 5 (in your city) is the magic number, and I’m just about there. But it sure wasn’t quick!
    School will be hard as both DH and I are introverts. Right now, I try to meet the other parents of DS’ daycare friends through events – so, playdates, birthday parties or we also like to have Xmas parties. When there’s a whole bunch of people in my house I find it’s easier to be a bit more extroverted when I’m playing host. Also we love food and cooking, so we ply everyone with good eats. That’s usually a conversation starter.

  30. We’re at a new school too this year – it helps that it’s very small (first year experimental private school) but it’s still been a lot of social stress for me. Meyers Briggs says I’m just over the Extrovert line but to me that means I can fake it pretty well but then I have to go home and lie on the couch with a book for a couple hours. But I also do a lot of social stuff for work so I’ve gotten practiced skills at starting conversations and I use them. I try to figure that most of them won’t work out to that level, but many will be friendly acquaintances and those aren’t bad. And it’s partly me – I’m pickyish as far as close friends, though I’ll have coffee happily with most anybody.I think the advice to work on a project is great – we had some struggles getting the school ready to open this summer and that really brought people together in a way that would never have happened so quickly otherwise. But we still haven’t hung out with anybody outside of school and a couple playdates. I guess you do have to start somewhere.
    Nobody else will ever be my best friend J who has a daughter exactly the same age as Mouse and who moved across the country 5 years ago. But she’s not gone, just farther away.
    Also, for all the women-being-hard-on-women reasons people have mentioned, sometimes it’s easier to make friends with dads first. (Disclaimer: everybody is not in a mixed couple of course!!) And then be eager to meet the corresponding moms, in which case if you and the dad hit it off you can meet the mom with a recommendation in your favor. And sometimes the opposite-gender thing works too on its own – Mr. C and I are both prone to mixed friendships, so it’s extra super fun if we meet a couple where it works out that way and they are both OK with that.
    I am no help – I really don’t know how I make friends.

  31. Also: Facebook. I find it easy to be myself in writing even if it’s hard in person. Not that that’s everything but it’s another sort of backchannel for getting to know people that you only see for a few minutes at a time. People who put up with the dorky haikus, SF transit horror stories, and tech industry weirdness I post can get a pretty good idea of whether they actually want to know me better.

  32. I’m so glad it’s not just me. My kids are 6 and 9 and I have so few friends. I’m pretty outgoing, even though I have introverted tendencies. I used to make all my friends at work, but I’m home now and writing, as well, which is pretty solitary work. My former-work friends have all moved away now. I have one very local friend (same town) and lots of acquaintances via school. But very few of them will ever morph into friends.It’s funny how we seem to segregate ourselves based on our children’s activities. My kids are athletic but no so into team sports, so this puts us on the sidelines in our very sports-centric town. My friends in the nearby small city where we used to live are busy in their own small circle of school-after school activities-work and we only manage to hook-up a few times a year, even though we live only 20 minutes away from each other. One of my closest friends is in Mongolia for the next 2-3 years (seriously!).
    Part of me says, “Screw it, I’m too busy for friends anyway.” But really, it’s so isolating. Moxie, I was just thinking this very morning that maybe I should get cards made up to I could potentially connect with people! So weird that you mentioned that…
    I have a blog where I write about lots of different things, including motherhood and isolation, but even though I know I have local readers, most of the commenters are from far away. And I love them. They really do make me feel less lonely. Does that sound pathetic?
    Maybe modern motherhood means we have to cobble together a combination of local friendships and virtual support networks? Sometime I discount the people I know only via my or other’s blogs. But they actually do make a difference in my life, and that has to count for something.
    Oh, and Vacationland Mom: I’m in Maine, too!!

  33. BlueBirdMama, it sounds so HEALTHY that you reach out to people to cope with stress. Meanwhile, others eat or drink ;-)Just wanted to say how important I think this topic is. We moved to a new place a year ago, and only a week ago had another family over for a dinner/playdate combo. It’s a tough thing, for sure. I find I’m so busy with work and kid-related obligations that I wouldn’t know when I would ask someone to do something socially. So far, I haven’t felt like I’ve hit it off with other moms at kids’ birthday parties and the like. And, yet, I feel like I desperately need this kind of friendship, this kind of connection. Have been enjoying others’ perspectives here.

  34. @Stacy, define Greater Boston area!I tell my husband all the time that I need a best friend… It’s been embarrassingly long since I’ve had one. I’m so bad at small talk. I need some of those extroverts to strike up a conversation.

  35. I moved to my current city 3 years ago when I got married and while I have loads of acquaintances from our church, I don’t have any friends that I’m excited about. I just met a girl outside the grocery store last week and we chatted for a bit, but I didn’t know how to ask if she wanted to have a play date. And my husband is totally paranoid of me hanging out with strangers (especially if our daughter is with me) so it’s been a challenge. My husband is also extremely private so I feel like I can’t talk about anything real with anyone he knew first, like I’d be betraying him if I did.

  36. Another introvert here. I moved to Western Mass (from Boston) 3 years ago, leaving most of my friends behind. However, I’ve conducted many friendships electronically for years (I’m a geek), so the change wasn’t as drastic as it might otherwise be.I’ve become friendly with some parents of my son’s friends, but only made one friend, I think… and not a very close friend at that. I save my confidences for more geographically distant and emotionally close friends.
    I love extroverts who make the first move. LOVE THEM.

  37. With the talk about ‘best friends’, it occurs to me that the two people I consider my best friends, one male, one female, both don’t have kids. They’re around other people’s (i.e. close friends’) kids. I’ve realised after having a few charged parenting conversations with them that when it comes to parenting, I have other best friends. Not that I don’t value the opinions of my non-parent BF’s on parenting issues, but sometimes somethings are too hard to explain, and you really just need to be talking to someone who has lived it or gets it.So, kind of like @BlueBirdMama said, different best friends for different things. And @Got It, Ma!, I too have found that connecting with kindred parent spirits via Ask Moxie and various blogs does make a difference and does do some (or a lot) of what a traditional IRL friendship does.

  38. @Kate: I lived in Western Mass for almost 20 years ‚Ästtoo bad I’m not still there; I’d be friends with you!Unless I missed it, I don’t think anyone has mentioned being a single parent.
    I’ve lived in this area for a little over 2 years now, and I have one good friend with whom I exchange texts constantly, talk on the phone close to daily, and trust with at least some of my secrets. I have another acquaintance who I keep hoping will turn into a *friend* friend, but we haven’t made it there yet.
    I was always an introvert and have become more extroverted as I’ve gotten older, but I frankly don’t have great social skills. I’m bad at reading social cues, and out of my depth trying to figure out when and how to reach out and when I’m getting annoying or the other person is just not interested. I can never tell whether I’m coming across as stand-offish and when I seem clingy and overbearing.
    And the single thing definitely has its challenges. I’m not part of those couples groups, and I have definitely had the experience of other women freezing me out because they’re worried about their husbands (which, JEEZ, give me a break!), and finally, I just do not have anyone built in to leave my daughter with, so it’s basically impossible for me to accept any invitation that doesn’t include kids, or anything that cuts into dinner/bed/homework time.
    My experience so far is that other single parents are not as easy to find as I’d expected. I think this is because there really is still a social stigma ‚Ästsubtle, but definitely still there, and also because single parents just don’t have time, energy, or child care.

  39. Wow! I thought it was just me…my kids have been at the same school for the last 5 years, and I’ve yet to make one friend. Many, many acquaintances, but that’s as far as it ever goes. Like a previous poster mentioned, we’re a little “different” then most of the families around here. Smaller income, smaller house, older cars, etc. My kids do not play soccer or softball and watch very little TV. I think that makes me a bit hesitant to “extend” myself, not that I would were all things equal. My older daughter is an introvert and I wish I could be a better role model for making friends for her. My middle daughter LOVES people and I feel so bad she’s stuck with me as a mom! My husband isn’t very social but that doesn’t matter anyway because he’s always at work. I do get very lonely and miss having that 1 good friend. Facebook is my saving grace. I find it much easier to express myself in writing and have met some great friends through social media. Online friends, that is. And I think we’re not the only generation to deal with this.

  40. Just today my husband asked me if I would like him to make me up some “mom cards”. Problem is, I would feel too awkward/shy to actually use them! I’m an introvert but since having my son 2 years ago, I have found it a lot easier to at least make friendly acquaintances. He forces me out of the house (ha) and kids are at least an opening topic of conversation. “Oh, your daughter is so cute. How old is she?” etc. I was really lucky to find a great new mothers group and two years later I think a couple of those women are maybe becoming real friends. Obviously I am really sloooow at making friends.This is my first Ask Moxie comment (I’m even shy on the internet) but I want to say “hi” to Stacy and M – I am in the Greater Boston area. Lets become friendly acquaintances and see if we would like to be friends! ūüôā

  41. Charesse: YES. FB really helps.And: hi Mo! Welcome!
    Also: check out mom groups. They aren’t all for little ones. Our Mothers & More group has 30 moms with kids ages born yesterday (really!) to college.
    And my best friend (from 2nd grade) and I talked about this a while ago…friendships thrive with time, which we don’t have right now like we did growing up. But like investing money (well, maybe a bad example right now)–little bits over time add up, and eventually friendly acquaintances actually are friends. Sending good karma to all of us introverts that we find each other out there!

  42. @Cordy – come to Seattle! There are lots of us here similar to you :)Anyone else who’s in the Seattle area, feel free to email me through my blog. I’m up for making friends.
    I’ve actually found it’s MUCH easier for me (right on the Introvert/Extrovert line in Meyers-Briggs) to reach out to people now that I have BabyT than before. It’s like I have an easy conversation starter – how old is your kid, etc etc.
    But I don’t yet have a core group of mama friends I see regularly. Part of the issue is schedule – I work 2 days a week, and then on the days I’m home we have to coordinate around naps, everyone’s class schedule, etc. It’s amazing how hard it is to get together with other SAHMs ūüėČ
    But it’s one of the things I want to try to do better. So email me, Seattle peeps!
    I have a small group of mama friends from a Parent Ed/toddler playgroup I took last year and we’re trying to keep up a monthly Mamas Night Out, plus occasional play dates.
    I think the mama/biz card thing is great. Vistaprint.com and other sites usually have a “free” offer where you just pay for shipping. I have a side biz on Etsy so I tend to use those cards, with the disclaimer that I’m not trying to sell them something, just that it’s easier because my email is already printed on there.
    I also love Facebook and Google Plus for reaching out to faraway friends, but there is something to be said for local ones. I wish I had some that I could call anytime and get together easily rather than strategizing weeks in advance about what day might work. Of course that’s been my fault too, for overscheduling us…
    I made a new mama friend at one of those Mama/Baby movie times at the local theater. She was alone, looked like she’d be nice and had a baby about the same age as mine. It was great until she moved really far away ūüôĀ
    Seattle is supposedly a hard city for making friends, but I haven’t found that to be the issue. It’s more that everyone is SO busy with work, or older kids, or tons of enrichment classes, etc.

  43. Proper measures must be taken to limit the number of foreign tourists and the great efforts should be made to protect local environment and history from the harmful effects of international tourism.

  44. LOL, I get to follow the nonsequitor tourism post.Anyway, Parisienne mais presque, I am the foreigner here, too. Subsequently, my closest friends are other ex-pats, regardless if we’re from the same country or not. We just all speak English, and therefore, it seems, our cultures are much more similar to each other than we are to the Danish culture.
    And I’m in a small town in the country, so everyone made their friends in grade school and have done very little expanding since. I’m friendly with several moms, but not anything beyond that.
    I suppose it’s comforting to know we all suffer this, but it’s a bummer, too.

  45. I’m SUCH an introvert, so although I am really friendly, it’s hard for me to make friends past the, “Hi!” stage. Also, I feel like life is so busy and I have trouble keeping up with my current friendships that it’s hard to make new ones.I just made a new friend the other day, and we were planning to start jogging together because she lives in our neighborhood. But that was… 3 weeks ago. And this other friend that I’ve known for 3 years… well, we’ve been trying to get together for 3 months. But I DID just have a baby 3 months ago…
    Sorry, no advice. Just sorta: I-have-no-idea-how-to-make-and-maintain-friendships-and-be-a-mom comment.

  46. I love the idea with the cards! I’m totally going to do that!As for the coats – Every year we give to charity or participate in whatever drive our church is having. BUT the thought of marching into the school that is directly across the street and asking if there will be kids who need coats and then dropping of coats for the kids who need it… We all should do that. Every person who can afford to buy a coat should do this. Not that the charity drives aren’t important also – but just go directly to those who are in need.
    Thanks Moxie! I’m on it!
    I’m really having trouble making friends in my little town with other moms. Its so clicky and so many of them have been here “forever.” I’m also a SAHM and have run into criticism for that. “I could never stay at home all day with a kid.” I’m not sure how to break into the little club here or how to respond to dumb comments… But I’m going to give those cards a shot!

  47. @proudtobeinyogapants I am in the Cambie area with a grade one daughter.@SarahG – oh well – at least we are both on oceans…(assuming you went to the Maritimes).

  48. Moxie, the “mom cards” are hard for me… I’m a full-time working mom of an only child, and most of the time on the playground I feel like I just don’t have my stuff together. When someone hands me a card that is pre-printed, I just feel like that’s one more way that I am less prepared than everybody else! (I know. I could go print some cards.)Getting contact information is not as difficult, but making the phone call is often frightening for me. It’s easier with the excuse that I am making a playdate for my child, but still opens up a lot of insecurity.

  49. @M and @Mo, my greater Boston area is a town about 25 miles west of Boston on Rt. 2. Starts with “A” and ends with “n.” Hopefully that is close to you???@Moxie, thanks for the feed link. It looks like it’ll work. I’ll test it on Monday on my work machine.

  50. We have moved around a lot for my husband’s job, and I am a SAHM who does freelance work-not exactly a recipe for making a lot of friends. My saving grace has been Meetup.com. I joined when my son was 7 months old (he’s 4 years old now) and my husband was in medical school. I knew no one in the area, had no family in the area and needed some social interaction desperately! I met some amazing first time moms in my city neighborhood, and we became really close friends. Then, we moved to Richmond, VA, 100 miles away, so my husband could do his residency. I had to start all over, pregnant and with a 2.5 year old. I joined another Meetup group in the area, but it wasn’t a great fit. So, when my newborn daughter was 2 weeks old, I started my own group on Meetup. This week (about a year later), we’ll have our 100th meetup and a party to celebrate! Honestly, it has been hard. I plan lots of events, and sometimes I have to drag myself to them because I am tired, and it just doesn’t seem worth it sometimes to get two kids out of the house. But, I just keep doing it. I also invite other moms on walks, or other outings so we can talk a little more. We have started doing Moms’ Nights Out in our group, as well, so we can actually have uninterrupted conversations! Right now our group has about 45 members, but I would say there are 15 of us who come to most things. If you are lonely, definitely look for a group like this. All you have to do is show up and few times and chat with the other moms (and sometimes dads). I have seen it with our own group, that sometimes people give up too easily. They come to 2 or 3 meetups and then never come back. I know it feels awkward, but sometimes you really have to put yourself out there. Also, I think the differences in parenting styles that people mentioned, that tends to fall away a little bit as your kids get older. That has been my experience, anyway.

  51. What I want is a friend I can be myself with (ball sacks? Almost spit my coffee out. We’d sooo be friends if we met), that has a nice kid my son’s age. I want what my sister has – one best friend with a great kid her kid’s age. A friend that can pick her kid up if things in her life are getting crazy; one she can drop anything for in a pinch. Sigh. So far that friend for me does not exist.My son is nearly 3.5. I refer to myself as an introvert with extrovert-like skills. People are surprised when I tell them my shy son has my temperament. I’ve spent the last 2 years putting myself out there with not-so-great results. After hitting it off with a few moms and not trying to exchange info, I began asking other moms for their info or handing mine out. Many moms gave me their cell number to be polite, I think. If someone didn’t respond to couple of attempts to get together I deleted their info and refused to take it personally. I figured that maybe I was over-doing it, so I’ve pulled back some.
    I joined a moms group only to find everyone sort of clicked up. Recently one of the moms I thought I had a fairly solid beginning with married her long-time partner. Planning this wedding made something in her snap and suddenly the moms group dynamic was so very high school – the cool ones were invited to the wedding and the rest of us weren’t. She actually got hurtful to those of us she was excluding. It was crazy.
    I’ve never had difficulty establishing one or two good friends in my pre-parent life. I finally stopped putting myself out there. Maybe this time in my life isn’t so much about having friends. But I stayed receptive and I went with the flow.
    And just like my mom used to say about dating – just when you stop looking, something happens. I found a nice natural flow with a mom I’ve known for a while, but we’ve been too busy (both work part-time and doing the SAH thing) to establish much. We only see one another once a week, so things are going slowly. But hopefully they are going.

  52. Having close friendships IRL is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I grew up in a home where my parents had no real friends and no social life, and I decided I never want to live like that. Ever since I moved to a new town 3 years ago, I’ve struggled mightily to find my local “tribe.” I really, really wanted to make at least 2 good, local friends – I’ve learned for me, this is essential to my happiness. After about 2 years trying everything, things finally started happening for me in the friend dept – but I still struggle (quirky introverts of the word, unite!)I’ve blogged at length about my friend-making failures and successes here (see posts cleverly tagged ‘friendship’ if you want the nitty gritty details):
    http://husheveryone.blogspot.com/2010/09/i-must-have-friendship-vaginosis.html
    Be forewarned, on my blog I swear a lot and make dirty jokes though… hmmm, could that be why it took me so long to make friends? ūüėČ
    What finally worked for me was a combination of the following: I waited, and watched, and accepted invitations to events I really didn’t want to go to where they were reading books I didn’t want to read, and selling things I didn’t want to buy, and I just diligently, genuinely tried to get to know as many people as I could. As in, my goal was to leave each event with the contact info for at least one woman I thought I could connect with, and then follow up with her. Follow up is extremely important. It sucked to feel like I had to keep making the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd moves, but I persisted.
    I got obsessive about remembering people’s names & stories & little tidbits of info about their lives, and I wrote lots of thank you notes and sent lots of random emails & texts of things like ‘hey, this reminded me of you,’ and of my gratitude, and openness to new friendships, and I brought dinner to people I hardly knew when they had babies or were sick, and I remembered birthdays, and I got involved in some charities… Soon I was going to the park, and to baby showers, and to happy hours where I knew several of the people and they knew me, and small talk became so much less awkward. That’s where my closer local friendships took root. In person. I had to have the courage to let my internet existence take a backseat in favor of my in-person one.
    Early on, this woman who moved here at the same time as me kept saying how FB was such a great way to connect locally and encouraging me to join it. Yeah, not so much – now she’s a hermit with no local girlfriends but 300+ FB “friends.” (Actually I should call her today.) I’m not on FB, but I do find it extremely useful for ruling out inappropriate friend prospects, i.e. googling peoples’ FB pages to look for any red flags to tell me whether or not they’re going to like my liberal, dirty-minded, snarky, silly, nonjudgy kind. Anyway.
    “Keep putting yourself out there” and “give of yourself” turned out to be damn spot on advice. Good luck – I think the efforts to establish and maintain good friend-making habits suck but are generally well worth it in the end.

  53. Love the Mom cards, it makes me feel professional too! We are very social in our neck of the woods (we make friends at dance class, her K class) but we are in new territory…private school in a very snooty town.Professionally, I am a great networker, as Mom, I’m also pretty good. Personally, I’m a bit shy sometimes. But I’ve made some Mom friends in our town, so hopefully I’ll find some good people in the new town.
    I think you rock for donating those coats! Good Karma always comes back!
    Have a great weekend!

  54. Having a good friend who lives nearby (that’s the key) would so drastically improve my quality of life. We’ve moved twice since my 2.5 year old was born, and each time we moved I was just starting to get comfortable with another mom, but now they’re all far away. (Anything over a 20 minute drive is too far away to be easy and useful I feel.) Email and Facebook exacerbate the problem for me, because I invest a lot of time keeping in touch with friends who don’t live nearby. Then I don’t have the time or motivation to build the social connections I truly need right here where we live. Virtual friendships are all well and good, I think, until you have kids, because then what you need are extra hands and extra eyes and someone to just sit and play with you during a long winter afternoon when it’s so cold you can hardly leave the house and your child doesn’t nap anymore etc etc.I once saw two ladies out for a walk at like 9pm on a weeknight and instantly knew that was what I wanted to have someday–a friend I could just take a walk with when the kids were in bed, and process/rehash all the events of the day with.
    @ Stacy, I’m just south of you (in a town that starts with “M” and ends in “d”) if you ever want to meet up.

  55. Oh, yes. I’ve come to realize that for me one of the huge issues (aside from time) is that after dealing with everyone else I have to deal with, I just don’t have the energy to talk to, well, anyone — even friends. I’m an introvert in the sense that interacting with people leaves me drained of energy (even if I enjoy the people and the company and the activity). So, by the time I get done with whatever reactions are required by my very active/chatty preschooler and my hubby, there’s just nothing left for anyone else. I oversimplify and overstate, but I also thank heaven for the internet because it allows me to interact with kindred spirits in a way that I find less tiring (for whatever reason, the typing of words is not tiring for me in the way that spoken conversation is to me, and just to be clear, if I got together with *you* for coffee (where “you” are anyone posting here) I’d have a lovely time and think how fabulous you are and I wouldn’t even notice until later (after our time together had ended) just how tired out it (not you!) had left me, but the tiredness would be there, all the same).I’m hoping (and trusting, and wishing, and praying) that it won’t always be this way — that at some point, motherhood will release me *enough* that I can start to enjoy adult interactions (more often) again.

  56. @Alexicographer, me too! I love to spend time with friends, I really do. But the tired feeling afterwards is very real. My one (one! after 20 years in my town!) close local friend knows that she usually has to be the one to drag me out of my house to do things. And I am grateful to her for her efforts. It can take real patience to be friends with an introvert. My DD is starting her second year in the public school system, and I still don’t know how to chat up other parents at school events.Also, raising my hand as a Metrowest Mass resident (near 290/495).

  57. Stacy, M, Mo – another introvert Mom in Boston here (Charlestown) and definitely up for meeting new friends!It’s actually really comforting to me to read all of these comments because I have been feeling like I’m the only that’s terrible about making mom friends! I’ve always felt like my “friends from home” were people I grew up with and made so long ago, I don’t even remember how we first became friends; in college, everyone was new and even though I was still very much an introvert, there were enough extroverts out there making the first move, that I quickly accumulated a group of friends; but after college, moving to a new city where I didn’t know anyone? SO HARD. And I’ve found it a little easier to meet people after having my son 18 months ago, but just in that friendly acquaintance sort of way. I’ve only met a few people that I’ve done anything with outside of the mom/baby classes but most have gone back to work full-time now and just seem so (understandably) busy… So back to square one. And now most of the classes we take seem to be filled with nannies, not other moms.
    I also find that most times, even when I do meet a new mom, I walk away from our distracted, constantly disrupted, chasing toddlers around conversations feeling like – did I even make any sense in the last half hour? Sigh. All this to say, I’m glad I’m not the only one out there feeling this way! And maybe I need to be better about swallowing my shyness and making the first move because the mom across the playground is wishing she had someone to go out for coffee with too!

  58. OMG @Amber, I work in M-d! Okay, I’m putting myself out there for all of you to witness.@Amber, and others nearby, feel free to email me at s t a c y j o y AT y a h o o DOT c o m

  59. Right on with this post, Moxie. I too have a tough time making friends. I have a lot of aquaintences but not a lot of friends…my best friend lives across the country unfortunately. When I became a mom I envisioned a flurry of social activity with other moms but found myself excluded from groups because of various reasons (one group always met at a time of my daughters nap, another was mostly SAHM’s and I got very bitter about the whole thing, yet another group were had opposing parenting philosophies I couldn’t get on board with). Yes I realize a lot of this is my own fault. My husband just keeps saying it will get better once she’s older and in school but I’m not sure how?

  60. Just read this now, so I know I’m a little late to the game…but what a great post. How comforting to know that I’m not a little island out there thinking I’m the only loser who can’t seem to make a friend. But then, that isn’t even true, I made a great friend last year by going to a quilting guild, but she is possibly 40 years older than me. I have no problem with that of course, I think she’s great…but to make a friend of a similar age, with similarly aged kids, and with a delightful husband for my similarly delightful husband to befriend as well, well that’s a dream that I don’t think is worth pursuing anymore.I think I am easygoing, I like a laugh, a good book, a cup of tea, a movie, things that I believe others are wont to enjoy but something seems to have changed since we had our kids. I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be uptight about things that others are not, and not care about things that others do. And the sheer logistics of it all just seem exhausting at times, kids or no kids.
    Well, if there is anyone in Montreal who thinks she would like another friend but is not too sure, and is deeply suspicious that she could find one on the internets, here I am. You may find me odd, but I’m just way way way out of practice at having friends.That’s all.

  61. Alexicographer, you’re totally my brain twin! I’m lonely and I want to see more of people, but at the same time I find it very tiring and challenging to be with people, especially those I don’t know well.Like many others here, I also find it really hard to transition from “occasional chat” to “friend.” I have gotten better at it, mostly by working really hard at it in the past several years. In the end, if I enjoy chatting with someone, I trust my gut and put myself out there. I do feel like having kids makes it easier–planning a playdate feels less personally risky. So I’ve met or reconnected with several people recently. And I have at least one nearby friend who is close enough to call up or tell secrets. But oh boy, it feels like hard work, and when life gets busier my will to stick with it goes out the window. Aside from the emotional challenge it is just a fact of life that it takes two or three tries per get-together to find a time that works, make sure nothing last-minute interferes, etc. I work part-time so I’m fortunate in my flexibility with both WOHM and WAHM dates.
    Things I’ve tried–Meetup but didn’t hit it off with anyone, then the group petered out. I’ve heard MOPS can be good but you have to pay to join and I wasn’t sure it’d be my thing. I joined a church and a town committee in part to meet others; I have to say I haven’t made parent friends in either place but both have been good for other reasons…
    Anyway. I’m in northern VT, if anyone else is…?? Long shot, I know!
    Thank you for posting this topic, Moxie!

  62. @ Greater Boston folk… I have a sneaking suspicion I may be too far south. We are on the RI line. Anyone? Bueller?Also, @ ARC, we just got home last night from vacation in Seattle, and LOVED it! If it was on the East Coast, we’d already be making plans to move!

  63. I keep yelping “YES!!!!” as I read this. I’m personally introverted but would appear extroverted if you didn’t know me well (I like the “introvert with extrovert skills” line), I feel MUCH more comfortable writing than I do talking so FB is huge for me, and I am really good at making acquaintances and not so much at making friends. I find Facebook is a great way to kind of suss out new people and figure out who would be worth being friends with…that mom at my daughter’s school who I already like and who keeps posting about it being wine time? I’m going to see if she wants to have a drink sometime.Like many of you, I am often so worn out at the end of the day (there’s that introvert thing again) that I often don’t have the energy to hang out…although when I do I am SO glad I did, it’s worth the wearing out.
    And I have figured out the secret to meeting non-judgy moms 1) Be one. Don’t get so hung up on what someone else’s parenting style is. I could not care less if someone nurses, how long, where their baby sleeps, how much TV anyone watches, if they are down to earth and funny and can make a ball sack joke. Once your kids get a little bit older that stuff matters very little.

  64. @hush – holy crap that sounds like a LOT of hard work. Or maybe it’s just my introvert self talking.@Alexicographer – YES! I’m the same way. When I have a bit of non-kid time, I nearly always choose something to do by myself unless I’ve made plans in advance to meet up with friends. I need that quiet time ūüôā
    One other thing – I’m a project manager @ work, and I love planning events and stuff, so I’m almost ALWAYS the person who comes up with the place to meet, or invites the other moms to dinner, makes the plan, sets up the Google Calendar, etc. etc. At some point I was annoyed that *I* was always doing the work, but I realize that it’s something I like doing, and that handling the details doesn’t appeal to everyone. So I stopped taking it personally, and just kept doing it. And the others moms showed up, and some of us have gotten closer which is cool.
    So don’t take it personally if people don’t make the plans, or even contact you first. For some people that part is just really mentally taxing.

  65. Another introvert here. I’ve never tried the mom cards, but I think they’re perfect for introvert moms, because you can hand them out to the moms you like, but it throws the ball of making the first step into the hands of the other person, who with any luck, is an extrovert! I find being around extroverts so refreshing; it really helps me get out of my head.I wish there was a way we could make a Moxie wiki or something to organize meet-ups in the various geographic clusters where we are. I doubt anyone is near me, but you never know. I met this fabulous mom on a playground back in August and I just loved her and wanted her to be my best friend, right away – except I was on vacation and live 3000 miles from her!
    I’ve realized that I often complain about how Busy everyone seems and how lonely I am, but I never take stock of how seldom I put myself out there. It’s like I’m passively waiting for people to come me. Maybe because I’m an introvert? So the one new friend I’ve made lately took all the first steps. I’m a great friend! I’m just really bad at getting things started.
    I love the internets for maintaining long distance friendships and staving off loneliness. I don’t know what I would have done without you guys! I’ve been on Moxie for three years now. But IRL friends are essential.
    We just moved to a new neighborhood and happen to have two families with active duty servicemembers in them. My husband noticed how welcoming and helpful and friendly they were. He said, the military folks understand about community. It’s true. (IME) Especially with family members being deployed and separated a lot; it’s a whole different kind of pressure. You really need each other.

  66. “I wish there was a way we could make a Moxie wiki or something to organize meet-ups in the various geographic clusters where we are.”I agree! Anyone in Los Angeles? Is there an AskMoxie facebook fan page to connect on?
    And – it’s true about military families. I also think military families are better at making the mental “Well, community isn’t necessarily about having a deep personal connection with this person, it’s about if they can come watch your kid in an emergency” mental leap.

  67. OOH yes please create a facebook page! P.S. hush you are hilarious- love the idea of friendship vaginosis. I think your sense of humor is a lot like mine… too bad you are very very far away from me.

  68. I’m an extrovert and generally make friends easily. Although there was a time when my boys were little that I was feeling cut off and alone from friends. I don’t think I quite realized how lonely I was until my husband started working shift work and I would find myself SO alone for the duration of his shift work that I would be a mess by the time he went back to a regular shift. I did join MOPS which is (Mothers of Preschoolers) at our church, with an open mind and no expectations. Just get out and talk. I am a person who could care less what style of parenting you do, as long as you are willing to talk honestly and openly I’m good. I quickly met a bunch of moms that I clicked with and we decided to start a book club that would meet once a month on a Friday night. We had such a blast, barely talking about the book but rather the sex in the book and most people shared funny stories about their sex lives – including one mom who gave a demonstration of how horrible blow jobs were for her. We laughed so hard I swear I left book club with a six pack.Now, I can say after a few years of effort I have enough friends to easily get through my husbands shift work schedule and don’t have to worry about being lonely. That being said, we have a couple new moms to our book club that I sense are feeling a little lost and loney and I’m still not sure exactly how to move from aquaintance to friend with them without being too forward. It’s hard to gage people sometimes.
    I also, unsuccessfully, tried to make friends at my kids school by arranging a get together with some couples. The evening was nice but, they all belonged to the country club and we did not and it felt awkward for me. They were nice enough and we’re all still friendly but I can’t see really becoming friends with any of them, which was disappointing. It’s hard to put yourself out there – but when it works it’s really great.

  69. @Elaine: glad I’m not the only fourth grade boy on here :-)@Hush: my husbands parents are like you describe your parents– absolutely zero friends. Their only non-superficial human contact is with their children or with business associates. I think my husband and his sister became “environmentally induced” introverts. My husband has grown into a very social and outgoing person (although I’m still basically the social secretary of the family), but my SIL is 25 and has 1 friend she does stuff with sometimes. She’s working in an office of mostly older people and she lives at home with her parents. I know she wants to get out, but on the other hand, she feels the pressure of being her Mom’s only friend. I remind myself of this if I ever feel a twinge of guilt for not being home for bedtime because I’m meeting w/ my Moms group (which is only once a month anyway).

  70. I’m sooo late to the party on this one, but count me in as another person who has a hard time moving from acquaintance to friend.Honestly, though, I’m only commenting so I can compliment Hush on the concept of “friendship vaginosis”! Brilliant. If I lived in Podunkville, I’d be your friend for sure (since I definitely don’t fall into groups 1 and 2 as described).

  71. @ Boston folks – I am in Belmont, but I don’t mind a drive ūüôā (Our moms’ group was based out in Concord)Moxie – is there a way to share our emails without giving them to the whole internet?

  72. @ the Boston people – I am a lurker even here but I couldn’t resist the temptation of moxie readers in my area.My daughter is just shy of 2.5 and we live in a metrowest town so tiny no one will know the name. It is next to the one that starts with a B and ends with an N and is only one letter off from the giant city near us. My daughter could really use some friends who don’t knock her down and bite her. I could too.

  73. @Jamie, I love all the “guess my Massachusetts town” puzzles we have going on here. I’m so curious now. I can’t figure it out, although I know of a couple B-n towns in metro west, not too far from me. My email address is posted above somewhere.I have a son in Kindergarten, so I can’t help your daughter, but I’m here!
    And, @Amber, where are you? We’re practically neighbors!

  74. I’m way late to the game here, but just wanted to join in the call for some kind of meeting-up-IRL space for AskMoxie-readers. How could this be made to work, but without making poor Moxie have to do anything arduous? My nerd-skills extend only as far as novels and anthropology, so I can be of exactly no help. But might anyone else have an idea? An online map into which we can stick little virtual pins, and then somehow make contact with the other pin-putting folks out there?We just moved from Vermont (hi, @Laurel, sorry we missed each other) to NJ and will be moving again to Palo Alto next summer. I’m not even going to try this year (: but I would sure LOVE to have some potential coffee-date partners in CA.
    Calling all other funny, slightly bawdy, snarky, trying to be nonjudgy, tired but willing to try, borderline intro/extrovert parent types out there…
    How can we make this happen?!? T’would be so fabulous!

  75. Having a horrible time. I make friends, think things are great, then kerblewey. Do I ask too much? Overshare? Assume? My longtime friends assure me it’s not me. Are there that many false people in the world? I’ve been on the tip of this mountain asking questions all summer. UGH.

  76. Very late to the discussion. London, England that is. This may be nonsense, but in the old world we tend I think to have fewer friends. But they’re close friends. We call everyone else an acquaintance as in someone we know from x, or met y. Whereas Americans would call them friends and mean the same thing.I’ve made good friends, in the singular,where we lived before outside London, and the same over here. As in two really good friends. In that sense I don’t have many friends but I have peace with that.
    I found the motherhood angle to friendship kind of like being an ex-pat. In the sense that I got very friendly with women, and very open about baby and nursing baby who would not normally be friends. But we got close and we still meet up around the place and say hi. And one of those was friend material.
    Pre-school too. Many mums to say hi too, and have the odd coffee with, and one good friend. As my daughter gets older the risk to friendship is she falls out with my mummy friend’s kid becomes greater too. Children don’t just wear you out, they don’t necessarily like your friend’s child.
    We live in interesting times, as others have said. You can be recluse in real life and have hundreds of internet only friends.
    I’ve also made a genuine great friend in such circumstances. Isolated due to being foreign in countryside and a great friendship developed with a US member of that newsgroup with real life visits etc.
    I’ve a burnt out village for a family and I have learned the hard way not to try to turn friends into family. It’s not fair and doesn’t work. I’m beyond that need now anyway. Relationships of that kind were often intense early on and then went wrong. Happier friendships tend to become closer as they go along in my experience.
    I’m very extroverted and like being friendly. I do have some trust issues, so my DH jokes I do better with strangers than people I know. I like being friendly. I remember people. But I don’t expect to make friends doing that. If it happens it’s great, but nothing much is lost if not.
    What is pursued typically runs off. Most people like to be remembered, greeted, being treated kindly. And like any such situation you won’t win the lottery if you don’t buy tickets. To meet people put yourself out there as you can. If you can’t now due to young children you will later on. Always more people…….

  77. i’m SO relieved to see i’m not the only one feeling like i’m missing deep friendships these days. for me, time is the biggest hurdle to nurturing new friendships. when?? my husband and i both work. our daughter is in preschool full time. i try to limit myself to one night out per week or so because any more than that just feels like too much time away from my daughter and husband. so… when? i keep telling myself it’s not always going to be like this. but really, friendships, in my experience, need time to develop naturally. and time, right now, i have very little of, and my other mom friends are in the same boat. nights out with friends and dinners with the girls are precious to me, but right now it just feels like i want to use those for friendship maintenance. and most of the time, i don’t feel like i have enough time even for that anymore. eeesh.

  78. @berivan, aw, bummer! This is a great place to live in many ways, but the small population magnifies many of the friend-finding issues, I think.I hail from Boston metrowest and am envious that so many of you are located down there. If you end up having meetups I’d love to be “on the list” as I do travel down there fairly often to see family.

  79. I’m wondering if we can post on the Ask Moxie group page on FB? Then we could start a message conversation to organize a meetup? I’m gonna try it!

  80. I another mo and I could have written her first couple of sentences. I too love the idea of the mommy cards but I would be way too shy to actually ever produce one.My boys just transitioned to K. New school. Private school which is a whole new world to us. I feel so out of my element there and like I don’t belong (yet?). I feel so simple and uninteresting and unfun and unsophisticated and also so new to the expectations of school and all that.
    I finally had the guts to introduce myself to someone because they looked familiar to me – I was thinking maybe I had met them at one the various meet and greets the school had held over the last couple of months. Um, no… it wound up she was someone famous and I immediately felt horrible. She probably thought I was stalking her. Ugh.
    I am sure that over time I will find a group that I fit with – just not there yet. My boys have made a much easier transition (they are much more social than I am).
    On the other hand, I am seriously mourning the boys’ preschool. At least all the families we met there. After two years there, I belonged. I really liked most the moms and a couple I thought we were making the transition to real friends. We’ll see if we made enough of the transition that it actually sticks now that we don’t see each other at all the preschool functions.
    At what point do you stop planning/fascilitating your children maintaining the bonds with their preschool friends versus nurturing their new friends at their current school. I wish we had more free to time to be able to do both.

  81. I have friendly chats with the same few people at the playground but have not ever made actual “friends” or even just gotten our similarly aged kids together for a play date.As she’s approaching three I’m getting panicky about it because she needs friends-and so do I.

  82. my best advice for making new friends is to invite an acquaintance to start a book club with you. or some other monthly gathering. It provides lots of space for interesting conversations and a focus, but easy segues into more friendly conversations. Invite a few people, get to know them, etc…

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  84. it’s impossible. I tried to talk casually to people at story time.. but they all knew eachother and they didn’t know me and it appears they don’t need new friends.I’ll keep trying. Showing up, being there with my kid. Perhaps someday.
    Until then, I guess it’s good that I’m okay with online forums. and that my 1yo is too young to really care about playing with other kids.

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