Sunday, September 23, 2007

Finding Friends

Posted by Kendra of Heart Wide Open.


Throughout my life, I have always had 1 or 2 very good friends. The type of friends you can sit and be silent with or laugh until you cry. Since graduating from college 3 1/2 years ago, my friends have scattered all over the country and a few outside the country as well. We see each other a few times a year. We email daily and we talk on the phone. I miss them. But they are in grad school or just starting out in their jobs. They party every weekend and don't understand that I don't do those things anymore.

I got married 2 weeks after graduating college and I love my husband very much. He has been my best friend for 6 1/2 years. His friendship was enough for me for a long time after college. We have an almost 1 year old daughter. I love the life I have, but something is missing. We moved 2 years ago to a small town in the midwest. It's the type of town where pretty much everyone has been there since they were kids. They grew up there and somehow I don't quite fit in, which is weird to me since I grew up in an equally small town an hour away. I never realized how easy it was to be accepted because you had lived there your whole life. I joined a volleyball league and a bunco group, but I have no close friends like I did all my life up to this point. I don't know why, but lately it seems to be all I can focus on, the not having close friends, especially the last few days. I've talked to my husband about how I feel, but he doesn't know how to help me. I tend to be shy at first when I meet people, which I've worked very hard to over come, but still it is there.

I seem to be at a loss on how to cultivate a good friendship, someone I can talk to about anything and have their understanding. My husband is my best friend, but he is a guy and doesn't always understand the things like a girl friend would. I work 40 hours a week, so I don't get to attend group things with my daughter where I might meet other moms my age. The two women I occasionally do things with have formed their own friendship and do things together every day while I am at work. They know each other inside and out and when I am with them I feel like an outsider. I don't blame them for that, I am just as bad about not inviting them to do things.

How do you find friends? Why can't I be happy with the wonderful life I have? I love my husband and my daughter and I wouldn't trade my life for anything (well except being rich enough that I didn't have to work). Why is this lack of friends so important that it is all I can focus on? Writing has been my outlet and I didn't feel I could post this on my blog. Since I started my blog when I was pregnant, it didn't seem like the right place to air these feelings, even though my blog has become as much about me as my daughter. I'm hoping that just writing this down will help me focus on the positives in my life, like my family. I'm not really looking for answers to these questions, but wanted someone to know how I felt and maybe hear that someone else has the same problems.

21 comments:

Marilyn said...

I definitely hear what you're saying. I've had nearly the SAME problem. I don't work, however, and I've still had problems. I have some friends, but I know we're not as close as I'd like and I always feel on the outside too. No advice, I wish, but just wanted to let you know I feel your pain.

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. I spent at least five years after grad school without any good local friends. I'd hear people talk about having the friend that you can call when you're down and go hang out in your sweatpants if you're having a tough day, and I ached with envy.

I'm lucky enough to have moved to a place where I found that friend four houses away. (Social anxiety meds helped too.) It can happen anytime. But it's hard to search. It seems like everyone else already has their good friends and aren't looking for more.

I totally hear you.

Anonymous said...

I live in a big city, but the same situation. It still took me almost 3 years to make friends, but still we're not that close. My blog helps me some, but it doesn't fill that hole. I'll be watching these answers closely because maybe I can learn something as well.

Anonymous said...

This is a tough one. I "moved back" to my childhood home community after my father died and my mom needed some help. It's been over 20 years and I have not found those friends that had previously been as natural to my life as breathing. The relationship I was in when I moved back didn't last, and neither did the next relationship. Right now I am hanging out with people the age of my parents. (No, not with my mom, she's now in a nursing home.) If not friendship, at least it is human interaction where I am appreciated (some don't drive anymore), and really? Helping other people does give me a sense of worth/accomplishment that helps me. I have about given up on the concept of true friendship at this point and in this geography. Boy, are we helpful or what?

Anonymous said...

I know you said you aren't looking for answers, but I thought I'd just throw this one out there... I'm not sure how small of a town you're in, but what about checking out Craigslist.com? I've met great friends on there by advertising for them. Try starting up a once-a-month women's social group or something like that... More people in the same boat may just come out of the woodwork. Best of luck!

Stacy said...

Right there with ya! I had wonderful friends through college but then things changed and I have been unable to make any clsoe friends since (graduated in 1992). I recently thought I had made a really good BFF but she dropped me as soon as something bettr came along. I have made lots of friends since having my son 15 months ago, but none of the friendships are very close and the only thing most of us have in common is that we are moms. With maybe 2 exceptions I don't hink we would be friends if we didn't have kids the same age. And then there is the mama drama that comes with mom groups. UGH!

Like you, I just want a friend or two who I can count on and enjoy being around and who enjoys being around me. It seems the older we get the harder it is to make good friends.

Ann said...

I'll be your online friend, it's all I can offer since I'm sure we live thousands of miles apart!
Whatta ya say?

Jan said...

I have always had a hard time making friends and, yes, as you get older, I think it's harder. It would be so great to have a friend or two, to not feel so lonely sometimes. I, too, have a good husband and family, so you're not alone. Good Luck!

Jaelithe said...

If I knew how to make new friends to hang out with as a mom, I would totally tell you the secret.

And I would be much happier myself . . .

Good luck.

Carolie said...

Good luck...there are friends out there for you, but they are simply WAY more rare than in your life up until now.

We spend our years from kindergarten through college in a large group of people mostly our own age, with mostly the same interests and mostly the same schedules. Suddenly, after college, for the first time in our lives, we're at work with people of all different ages and backgrounds and interests, and/or married and living in a neighborhood of diverse ages/interests/backgrounds.

I remember feeling desperately lonely about three years after I graduated from college -- my first three years, I worked in an industry with lots of folks my own age, with similar interests, so it wasn't too different from college -- and I was suddenly in a corporate office environment with perfectly nice people, but none were my age, none had background or interests similar to mine, etc. I had no one to talk to, to laugh with, to vent to, to just BE with (yes, husbands are great, but that's NOT THE SAME THING).

Almost everyone goes through this, I think, unless you live/work with the same folks you grew up with. I wish I could offer you a handy tip, but all I can say is that it's normal, and you are not alone in feeling the way you do.

If you are working and also a wife and mother, it's difficult to find the time and opportunities to seek out new friends. I know you are not looking for answers, but here are a couple of suggestions anyway. My apologies for any ass-vice! Try playgroups on weekends (you might find other young mothers with similar interests), try a church/synagogue group (they often have classes or social groups for members of common ages and family status, and have the benefit of a nursery much of the time!), ask your husband to babysit while you take a class in something that's always interested you (painting, pottery, knitting, philosophy, whatever).

I e-mail with and talk on the phone with several friends from college (Skype rocks...especially now that I live in Japan!) I've even made some very good friends via my blog, as weird as that sounds. You are not alone. And it does get better. My e-mail is on my profile, if you want an e-pen-pal. :)

Kendra said...

I appreciate all the comments. It helps to know I'm not the only one feeling this way. Ann if you want to be my friend, feel free to email me or leave me a comment on my blog. I won't turn away any one.

PaperHearts said...

I've been feeling this lately myself, and it's weird to come across this post today. I have one friend who lives several states away. I know no one here, even though I've lived here my whole life. I feel incredible lonely at times, and don't know what to do about it.

Sunny said...

I totally sympathize with you. I moved 350 miles away from where I grew up and where my family lives. I never had a lot of close friends, but I had a couple, plus two sisters and a 1st cousin who are my best friends. It's been hard to be so far away, and I can't I've developed any relationships where we live now. Some casual work friendships, but nothing like I wish I had. I wish I had an answer...the need for female companionship is strong, especially after having a child, for me at least. The internet does help, to some degree, but it's not the same as getting together for coffee, or having friends over and cooking dinner together. I'm just not sure how to make friends out of thin air, it's so much like dating, "um, hi, can I get your number?" Way too akward! Anyway, I understand, and you're not the only one. If you ever want to talk more, feel free to stop by my blog, or email me at meggie2727 at yahoo dot com.

Jodi said...

Oh yes, I hear you. We just moved here, 3 months ago, and I am soooooooooo lonely despite having a great husband and kids. It is rough out there. Going to check out your blog now! I hope you can make some life long friends asap.

Anonymous said...

When I moved to my city 12 years ago, I only know my husband. Since then I have made many new friends, but differently than when I was younger, single and childless. I don't have one or 2 "best" friends, I have friends that I do certain things with. Concert friends or movie friends, fitness friends or playdate with kid friends. I then pursue the things that I like to do and call up the friend who enjoys that also to join me. Keep doing the things you like and the friends hips may come? Hope this helps.

mavis said...

oh you poor poor darling.....this is such a hard phase of life ...have so been there ..over and over due to a very transient lifestyle....yes this is hard..and yes finding groups at a local church,or taking a night course/ hobby group in something is a good start...perhaps a gym class(yea like whose got that energy..but hey you might) enroll the child perhaps in a sporting group and become one of those helping mothers ..these are only suggestions....is there phone contacts you can resume with friends ? so at least when you go out you are exuding social confidence as you have actually spoken to a friend albeit a long way away ...but this is important as I have found the more needy we are when going thru these isolation phases(believe me it will one day pass even tho it doesn't feel it now)its like humanity smells that neediness and suddenly everyone packs up their toys and leaves...oh yes ...so having an air of social confidence is the trick,and how do I know this,my friend lives along way away now and is going thru it and so am I and we ring each other every day and just talk and laugh and it so helps the rest of the day.....good luck and my heart is with you and everyone else that is going thru this...

ewe are here said...

It takes time, patience and hard workl to make friends once you leave school, and it's especially hard if you move and/or have children and stay home with them. I think a lot of us moms feel this way...I know I do!

Hang in there, and just put yourself out there whenever possible. It will happen.

And there's always your blog... I'll be dropping by. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I will also be continually perusing your blog and this thread for suggestions. I so understand how you feel. I just moved to a small town 3 months ago and sometimes, I am so lonely, I could cry. I grew up in a large city where it was easy to meet people. We moved to a small town due to my husband's job being transferred. I work at home so I don't get out much. It seems like everyone already knows each other so no one is really looking for more friends. And because it is a small town, you have to watch what you say because it could be all around the town before the day is through. That Craigslist idea someone had is great. But I don't know if people here are that technically savvy that they would even check Craigslist, for one, and secondly, we're back to the "I grew up here and have enough friends." I would love to correspond with you and will be visiting your blog.

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