Tag Archives: difficulty making friends

Match Dot Mom

8 Mar

I have reached a truly pathetic stage in my life. I have so little contact with adult females I like that I almost consider the mail carrier a friend. She’s about my age, she’s sassy, she remembers things about me that we talked about months ago and she makes me laugh. Friend, right? Forget the fact that I’ve never seen the entire lower half of her body. I don’t have time to see her outside of her little white truck anyway.

When we moved to Naperville, our primary motives were good schools and a population that wouldn’t make our daughter feel like the speckled chicken in a farmyard full of Rhode Island Whites. While Oak Park prides itself on its diversity, it’s a reputation earned years ago by fighting white flight. I realize that Naperville is one of the places white people from Oak Park flew to, but it’s since become a destination location for people from around the world.

Of course, I had concerns moving here. In particular, I was worried about my son. The entire first year we lived here, he had no friends. The next year, he had one friend. Finally, in year three, he found his tribe and he’s been Mr. Popularity If You Like Outrageous And Obscene Humor. And really, who doesn’t?

My daughter was only two or three but she didn’t miss a friend-making beat. Within a year, she had friends at preschool and friends on the block. Within two years, she’d solidified BFF status with the girl who lives across our backyard. Obviously, the child doesn’t live in the yard, but what do you call the people who live in the house that abuts your backyard?

I never even thought about my husband and friends. He made some friends about forty years ago and is content to never again go through the agony of finding new ones. He never sees them; he’s fine with that.

I, on the other hand, like friends. I had friends and family in Oak Park. (Ok, my sister technically lives in River Forest, but I think of River Forest as a subdivision of Oak Park.) My Oak Park friends and family worried about me making friends. I didn’t. I should have.

It’s not that Napervidlians aren’t friendly. I’ve found plenty of friendly people. It’s not that there aren’t PLUs (People Like Us) here. There are lots of people like us. The problem is that the place is so darn big that actually meeting friendly people who are like us is a job.

I tried church. It worked in Oak Park, so I figured it would work here. So I went to church. I joined the choir. At the first choir rehearsal, I sat next to a friendly alto my age. “Hm ,” I thought, “potential friend material.” She noted that I was reading a fantasy novel during break. She talked about her most recent visit to Comic Con, where she dressed as a particular Star Trek alien and snagged autographs from her favorite science fiction writers. She invited me to join her next time. I never went back. So, not only was I out a friend, I was out a church, too.

I tried the PTA. Think fundraisers and petty fiefdoms. Think poking sharp sticks in your eyes.

I finally made some really good friends when I went to grad school. It’s hard to spend two years with a group of people discussing educational philosophy and bitching about crappy professors without forming some really satisfying friendships. And, get this: we were the cool kids! I’ve never been a cool kid before. We were even the mean girls for a while. It was a gas!

Grad school came to an end and we’ve stayed in touch. Though I’ve failed to find a full-time teaching job, I did meet people I’ll consider friends for life. And it only cost $30,000! Now, if we could just get together more than once or twice a year.

For now, I’m pulling back from the friend hunt. My plate is pretty full anyway. When I’m ready, I could start really local. BFF’s mom is pretty cool and the awesomest neighbor ever. But I’m afraid it’s sort of like having a really good male friend. Take it to the next level and it could be great. Or you could lose a really good friend. I’m not ready to lose the awesomest neighbor ever.

Come summer, I might take a chance and have her over for a margarita in the gazebo. We’ll see. Until then, you’ll find me peeking through the curtains Monday through Saturday, on the lookout for a little white truck.

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