Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Must Have Friendship Vaginosis

It is one of those rotten days for me, and for no good reason at all. I am really feeling like I am never going to have any real friends here. (For those who haven't heard me go on about this here before, I live in a place I call Podunkville, where everyone except for me & DH falls into one of 2 camps: 1) the uber-Christian, Fox News lovers who definitely wouldn't laugh at any of our jokes, and 2) the cool liberals who are extremely outdoorsy & don't really want to spend time with anyone who is not.)

Luckily, I have good friends elsewhere, which is something I should be grateful for. If I do ever find a real local friend, I will probably totally suffocate her because I will be so hyper-excited to be able to spend time locally with Someone Who Gets It for a fucking change. I just wish my dream of having a few close friends here wasn't something I perseverated on so much! I'm annoying to myself. Maybe the people with same-aged kids who are moving here next year will fit the bill. Maybe DS will meet someone with cool 'rents in his preschool class. I probably shouldn't get my hopes up though. The last time I got my hopes up it sucked. Remember Food Court Mama who seemed interested at first but then never called or emailed me back? Must be my vaginosis. I guess I shouldn't have worn a skirt that day.

I need to quit with the negative self-talk. I actually do have some friends, I think. Or I used to. In fact, a sweet older lady who helped us move here 2 years ago was saying this weekend how impressed she is that we have made so many connections so quickly. Fo' rizzle? So I guess we seem popular to people who don't know us very well, which is nuts. I'm not completely lonely, I suppose. Sure, there's Stitch, my one local friend who I can usually be my authentic self around. However, to be perfectly honest Stitch took a step back from me this summer, and I think the reason has to do with some bad advice she asked me for, which I gave despite my hesitations and now I regret it, and then she didn't follow it, and now I think she thinks I want to say I told her so but I truly don't, and now that she knows I was right I think she feels like she can't talk to me about her problems now... I need to respect boundaries more and refrain from giving advice - just listen! People are going to do what they want to do so JUST LISTEN. Like I should tattoo that on my forehead.

This is another one of those areas in life where I don't want to become my mother. My mother had no friends. Even her sister can't stand spending holidays with her. She married my dad, who was the prom king in college, and turned him into a man with no social life. So that's why I'm so worried about it. But really, if I can't fit in with a bunch of people who have zero in common with me ideologically, culturally, aesthetically, etc, it doesn't mean I'm becoming my mother. It means I live in a place where it is simply more challenging. Right? Right?

Anyway, did I tell you I'm joining a new book club? This one has a slightly older membership than me - women in their early 40s who apparently wondered if I was "too young" when they thought about inviting me last year. One of the members told me she felt bad that I was in the stupid people's book club that chose books like "Twilight" and "Gone with the Wind," and had to convince the other members that I'm not vapid even though I'm 33. (My vapidity has nothing to do with my age, I assure you). Don't you love women's group politics? Good times! So, yeah, given the way I apparently got my invitation over the period of like a year, I am keeping the expectations low. Lower than a snail's tail low.

In other news, now that glorious Fall is here I am feeling the need to watch some scary movies and drink hot cocoa. Watched "The Unborn" and " The Fourth Kind" on DVD recently. Both are scary and hella schlocky. But neither was as over the top as "Drag Me To Hell." Nobody liked that one but me and some nerdy dude who still works at Blockbuster and is a total Sam Raimi fanatic like me.


Maria said...

Hush, I can relate so much to the Friend Dilemma. Since moving here a little over a year ago I have definitely run into both the groups you mentioned, as well as the homemade-yogurt-making/yurt-building/negative-carbon-footprint crowd, who I admire but can't possibly live up to.

I do have one actual friend, or at least I do until I do exactly what you describe and drive her off by being so suffocating in my excitement and neediness.

And plus also (as Junie B. Jones would say), I'm in a bookclub that is not quite doing it for me. I think I might be a tad resistant to being told what to read (yes, I did bail out on 5 colleges, why do you ask?). The discussions are somewhat vapid, the friendly banter is not quiiiiite my style, and the books they're choosing are depressing. Except for The Help. I liked that book a lot.

So. You're not alone, babe.

Cloud said...

I'm glad you found a better book club! I think we sometimes think age matters more than it does.

And no, you're not turning into your mother.

(It is funny- I actually wouldn't mind turning into my mother in many ways. She is pretty much universally liked. But instead, I'm turning into my father and cussing out the other cars in traffic and having adult temper tantrums. Sigh.)

mom2boy said...

I don't want to turn into my mother either! The phrase "please god no" never held more weight.

I love the book club idea in theory. I've yet to really participate either in real life or online (still haven't finished Henrietta Lack).

I'm having the same sort of "making new friends" issue. It's doubly difficult adding the desire to make new friends with grown ups who have similarly aged kids. No good advice but I'm sure the problem with the food court mama lies with her. I'd totally hang out with you. (And I'd have given you the pair of madras shorts that I bought for Tate at Easter that he refuses to wear since he only wears black!)

Sorry Stitch is feeling bad about the advice not taken situation - it's true, sometimes people just want a captive audience but if they ask for advice when they don't want it, it's not a horrible thing to have given it. Keep reaching out over neutral topics, it'll pass and things will get back on track.

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

Oh, the friend dilemma! I guess I'm realizing I'm more of a quality, not quantity person on that front -- for example, I have little patience for the couples' friendships where you have to alternate dinner invitations and pretend to have something in common with someone just because they're married to your spouse's friend -- but man, after YEARS here, I only have two good local friends. And yes, my mom is pretty much the same way.

So a bit more of an effort is needed on my part, but I'm so submerged by other worries at the moment (and the fact that any free time I have now will temporarily disappear when the baby arrives in early December) that I'm not obsessing about it. About other things, yes, but not about that.

Wanna move to Paris?

caramama said...

Repeat after me:
You are not your mother.

I think it's hard to make those close friendships anywhere, and you are definitely in a harder-than-most area. I'm super friendly and not judgy and I still am not getting anywhere substantial with the neighborhood women I've reached out to/they've reached out to me. But my SIL's sister is moving into my neighborhood this weekend (with her hubby and 7 month old). I plan to overwhelm her with my enthusiasm until they run from the neighborhood. heh.

Yeah for the new book club! My current book club is actually the older group of intellectuals, and I've just joined a younger group which includes my BFF. So we'll see how that one goes to, and if I can keep up with both.

Who's hosting the next Bloggy Friends Book Club online?

Claudia said...

I, too, hear y'all. I've been on the Planet Denmark for just about 7 1/2 years, and it's been so very long coming getting some real friends. The ones I connect with the best are Australian and American, of course. I have a Danish friend, but she lived in the U.K. and states, and prefers to speak English. So that hardly counts. And I just met another American who comes from Oregon (my home state) no less. But she lives a fair distance from me.

All that to say, it sucks after your twenties to make friends.

As for the mother issue, I didn't know my mother (died of breast cancer when I was 22 months old). But I know she moved from rural Texas to Minneapolis and I wonder how she fared in the friends dept. Sadly, there's no one I can ask.
I also prefer quality over quantity.

Skype helps, though. I get to hang out in my best friend's bed and talk to him, virtually.

Jac said...

I think I am in the same position as @Parisienne. As I reflect back on my entire life, I've realised that while I have lots of acquaintances, at any given period of my life (from elementary school onwards) I've only ever had one or two really close friends at a time. Sometimes I feel lonely - but truthfully, I enjoy my time by myself. I'm clearly an introvert and since I work with people all day, I want to be by myself on my own time.

Having said that, finding friends is kinda like dating and sometimes you go through all the awkward stages before it gets real. Wouldn't it be nice if we could jump into the same comforting/revealing/supportive non-judgemental type of relationships we have with our bloggy friends?

hush said...

@Maria - So glad I'm not alone!!! ;)

@Cloud - So true about age sometimes mattering more than it should.

@mom2boy - I'd totally hang out with you, too! That is pretty cool actually that Tate is the Little Man in Black, like a mini Johnny Cash.

@Parisienne Mais Presque - I would love to move to Paris, but I forgot all of the grammatically-incorrect French I knew at 17. It's good to be a quality, not quantity person, I think.

@caramama - Thank you for the mantra: "I'm not my mother, I'm not my mother..." Ok that feels better.

Yes -- Who's hosting the next Bloggy Friends Book Club online??

@Claudia - I didn't know you lost your mother so young. How terrible!

@Jac - "Wouldn't it be nice if we could jump into the same comforting/revealing/supportive non-judgemental type of relationships we have with our bloggy friends?" YES!!! Word to your mother, that would be perfect!

Got It, Ma! said...

Wow! This is so much like my own "why don't I have any friends" rants. I know you posted this a year ago, but I'm glad you reposted the link on Ask Moxie. Do you feel like things have gotten better since you wrote this? I wrote a similarly toned piece over a year ago and reading yours made me go back and read mine again. I think things have gotten better. I've made only a single local friend since then, but I can call her when I need help, which is worth twenty "chatting at the grocery store" friendships. You can read my rant here if you like: http://gotitma.blogspot.com/2010/03/when-youve-gotta-let-go-meditations-on.html
I'll warn you though, it really rambles and only kind of makes it's point at the end, and not terribly well then. Yours is far more succinct!

hush said...

@Got it, Ma! - Yes, things have definitely gotten better since I wrote this post a year ago. Having a single real local friend is better than countless quasi-friends, you're absolutely right. Off to read your post now - thank you!