Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Why Can't We Be Friends? | Talking about the Struggle of Friendship #momlife #friends

I know that I’m usually sharing recipes or food-related posts, but I thought I might take a shot at coming out of my shell and talk a little about friendship. KMB is no stranger to the friendship talk and there have been a few other posts about making friends as a mom. Because it is hard to be a mom and make friends. But I figure that there are going to be moms out there who struggle, like I do, in the friend department and the struggle isn’t really due to having kids…even prior to kids, I found it difficult to put myself out there. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just not a people person…you know, a “bah humbug!” type of person. Other times, I worry that I am just too weird. But really, what is it? We all know the song, but seriously, why can’t we be friends?

Is it because I’ve made some friends that turned out to be two-faced? Is it because I consider myself an introvert? Am I overthinking the whole thing? Are my expectations too high?

Being burned by someone you thought was your friend can make anyone weary of new people. It’s hard to put time and effort into a relationship for nothing. It definitely can get you down and make you wonder if it’s even worth it to make new friends. During Nick’s time in active duty, I got burned by a lot of different people and then I just sort of became a hermit. I coped during deployments much better by myself taking care of the kids than being out and about hanging out with other people because of those bad friendships.

When put into a potential social situation, I often fidget with whatever is nearby (i.e. my purse, the stroller, the baby, etc.) to keep from having to talk to people. I hate being in a crowd of new faces or acquaintances. This is my inner introvert and insecurities at work because I have to concentrate really hard to not be awkward when forced to interact with people. My mouth always works faster than my brain and it causes some very uncomfortable moments.

For example, I was once talking to a clerk in a store where I was picking up Nick’s uniform and when asked how old Mason (my youngest) was, I gave him Nick’s age. Please join with me in a little bit of cringing. To be fair, we were literally just talking about Nick, he didn’t look up at all at the baby, and most people assume Mason is a girl. But the second my husband’s age left my mouth, I knew that the clerk had meant the baby. It was so embarrassing.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t know how to be social…just last week, I was talking to the employees in my dentist’s office about the current events around the toddler who was snatched by an alligator in Orlando. It was not only myself, but three other women and the conversation was totally normal. It was just fine, but I’m left thinking…would I be friends with any of those women outside this office? It’s not like grade school where I would see these women every single day. Does that make it easier for me to interact with them? Knowing that I won’t have to see them again soon? Who knows!

It’s all too easy to tell someone to just get out there and meet new people, but that doesn’t always work for everyone.

The way I feel most comfortable talking to people is online. I can edit my thoughts and words when I’m sitting at a keyboard to make myself sound coherent. I mean, I feel like I’m pretty darn coherent right now. I don’t sound like a crazy person or a weirdo. I met two of my closest friends on a mom website and have been friends with them for over seven years. I talk to these two every single day…whether it’s a quick hello or an in-depth discussion on Teen Mom or ranting about an awful trip to the store, etc. But they don’t live nearby and that can be so hard at times. As a stay-at-home mom with no close friends that live locally, it can be a bit lonely. I get a bit envious when I see acquaintances enjoying time with their besties whether it’s hitting the town (with or without their kids) or keeping it low-key hanging out at someone’s house. But I struggle to get to the point where I can be comfortable with someone like that…I feel like it takes years upon years to reach that point. See what I mean about overthinking it? Oye vey! Am I psyching myself out or what?

So why am I writing up this post? Not to complain, not to rant, but to show other moms (like me) that you’re not alone! To hopefully be able to connect with other moms that do better communicating online instead of in person. To get you other introverted, awkward moms to spill your secrets on friendship because it can’t hurt to learn from others!

My fellow awkward, possibly introverted, been-burned-before moms out there — what has been your experience making friends? Where and how did you meet your best friends? Share your thoughts with me!

And if you got to the end of this post, congratulations, I know it was pretty rambly. But if you expected a slightly different direction, contributor Caitland wrote a great post on how to make mom friends, which can be especially hard for first-time, new moms: Be My BFF: On Making Mom Friends.

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10 Responses to Why Can’t We Be Friends?

  1. sam June 23, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    I feel your pain as it is mine, Knoxville has been a very difficult place to make connections. People are friendly but not inviting…..suggest lunch and they look like you have horns growing out of your head. Where we lived before a newbie was invited everywhere—lunch , park, walk, bunco, pampered chef etc……still working on friends and a few…..all newbies too.

    • Sarah E. June 23, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

      KMB always has lots of events and playdates – so definitely be sure to check them out. It’s been hard for me to make it out to a playdate because of my littlest’s nap schedule (combined with my school age kids’ schedules and dr appointments, etc.). I have not yet put myself out there enough to be invited to lunch (where is that cry laughing emoji?? haha). I do hope you meet some more inviting people – I feel like Knoxville is so big and has so much to offer and I love that!

      I think that it takes a very outgoing special person to reach out to newbies and “put them on the spot” so to speak and invite them to things. When I was new to the duty station my husband was at for pretty much his entire enlistment, there was a mom who reached out to me and invited me to grill outs at her house and all sorts of things and made me feel at ease for sure.

  2. Nicole June 23, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    I could’ve written so much of this! (Though not as eloquently, because I feel like I’m rarely coherent.)

    I struggle with making friends. And when I put myself out there, it never seems to be reciprocated. I mean, we’ll get together a few times, have fun (or at least I did…), then I don’t hear much from them. Life gets busy, I get that. But I can’t help but think that it’s me, not them. So I just quit trying.

    I’m also a stay at home mom, and feel very overwhelmed by social situations. I overcome that by talking A LOT. Ha.

    Thanks for this post. It helps to know that I’m not alone!

    • Sarah E. June 23, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

      Oh good! I am rarely coherent either LOL. I always feel like I sound SO rambly. Glad to hear it was readable.

      I think it’s a struggle, more so for moms, to make friends when kids are involved. I know I always feel awful when I don’t talk to the few friends I do for a few days. I get that friend guilt! I am definitely with you on being overwhelmed in social events. If I’m around my husband, I’m a little more comfortable, but I do the same – talk A LOT! 🙂

      I’m so glad I’m not alone either. *phew*

    • Danielle August 11, 2017 at 9:01 am #

      I read your response and was like that is so me!! I hope that things have improved, I’m still struggling sadly:(

  3. Melissa June 23, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    I know exactly how you feel!! I was burned badly by a two faced friend and have yet to get back out there… I feel when I go to the school for my kiddos I become a chatter box and really nervous around other moms! I felt your article was spot on, and Thank You for letting me know it’s not only me!

    • Sarah E. June 23, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

      It is so hard to trust people after being burned. Especially when the person you thought was your friend was what you would consider a good friend…and then they weren’t. It definitely takes courage to let your guard down and give someone a chance. It took me a few years and I did make a good friend (who happened to not have kids, but loved mine and was great with them), so I try to not always assume the worst in people. It’s hard though.

      It’s so nice to hear I’m not alone. I thought that people would think I was a crazy person writing such an article.

  4. Williams June 28, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

    I felt like I could have written this! I mean I struggle with making mom friends and I work outside the home.

  5. Danielle August 11, 2017 at 8:58 am #

    I just literally stumbled across this while googling how do I make friends after I move. My family has recently relocated to Lenoir City TN from Maine and while I’ve met a few people it hadn’t come easily. I’m not sure at times how to make friends with other moms here! Like the article and other responses have said I’m out going and pleasant trying to put myself out there but I suggest having lunch, grabbing a coffee or something similar and I get the what did you just say to me stare? I see my Facebook feed filled with pictures of my friends at home, friends I was active with that I spent a lot of time with hung out with so much and it hurts that I don’t have that here. I’ve tried to become what feels like super mom and house keeper but while that’s all important it doesn’t fill that void. It’s nice to get a smile, a hello or even a random text just saying hi but those are few and far between, with the exception of my friends a thousand or so miles away. I’ve stresse, cried and really questioned what the heck is wrong with me as a result, I’ve tried a lot of community events, going to libraries, playgrounds etc and I chat with people but I can tell most of it is superficial and if I asked for a cell number as we leave I’d get the what are you a stalker look, I say that because it’s happened more than once to my ultimate embarrassment:( I am a fun person but I can feel that slowly leaving as more time passes and here I am party of one, it’s a comfort in a weird way to know that there are other people having the same struggle but I feel horrible that anyone would need to experience that! So if anyone has any suggestions, tips, advice or is close by and would like to get together I’d very much appreciate it and welcome the chance to get to know anyone and everyone while I learn to navigate life in the South:)

    • Danielle August 11, 2017 at 8:59 am #

      Not sure how we share personal contact info here but I’d be willing to if anyone would like to outreach:)

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