My friend Lorna just posted about Friends. I never watched Friends; at its peak, I was commuting 60+ miles per day for college, so I was sleeping, driving, or studying whenever I wasn’t in class. But her post makes me want to check it out. At the very least, I’d get to indulge this 90s nostalgia I’ve been nursing. (Someone please remind me how awful brown lipstick looks on…um, almost everyone.)
But friends. Small f. That’s been an issue. It’s not that I don’t have friends — I do. I consider Lorna a great one. It’s that I don’t have friends I could sit down and have a cup of anything with that didn’t require driving a good distance. I don’t have anyone close by I could tell things I wouldn’t tell my Facebook wall, like how I just got my nipple stuck in the bread machine while I was putting it away. (The kids are still laughing. With me, they say. Little turkeys. Also, life lesson: Carry the bread machine with the lid opening facing away from you.)
I used to have friends. Then I had a few bad friends and just…stopped looking for new ones. When I say bad, I mean…look, I’ve had some pretty awful breakups, but I still continued to date. That says something about how I feel about making new friends. But I’ve come to see how much I need friends. Just a few. One. One local friend who can relate to me where I am now. But I worked over 100 hours this week, and my weekend has been spent making up to the kids for all the hours I said, “Just give me five more minutes before you tell me the thing. Just one paragraph. One sentence. Where’s your tablet?”
How the hell am I going to make friends like this?
My daughter has taken it upon herself to find me friends. At our local town fair yesterday, she was introducing me to vendors: “Hi, I’m Anya. This is my mom. Her name is Nicole. She needs friends. She’s really nice!”
I now know how people feel when their moms try to set them up on dates. Only worse, because it’s my 8-year-old announcing to total strangers how socially inept I am.
Then I discovered I accidentally sent my mom’s birthday present to our old house. Anya introduced herself to the new owners last week, so I took her with me when I went to retrieve it. My daughter, being who she is, opened the door like she lived there and invited herself in. Then insisted on taking me on a tour of the house (which looks amazing — they are clearly better at decorating than I am) and tried to arrange a playdate. For her, but also for me.
“She’s really nice,” Anya said of the new owner as we left. “I bet she’d be your friend.” And she is really nice — I don’t know that I would handle the former resident of my house barging in as gracefully as she did. So yeah…nice. We could maybe be friends. But we are not 8. It’s more complicated now.
My Meetup attempts have failed. I’ve talked to a few moms on Peanut, but I barely have time and stamina for the little social media and texting I already do without adding another app that requires I type with my thumbs. (My wrist is flaring again. More on that later.) And there are days when the only time I see daylight is when my kid gets on and off the bus. I’ve volunteered for the school carnival in the hopes that I might talk to someone there. But most people around here meet friends at church, and…I don’t church.
Anya ran into roughly 15 friends yesterday. Whereas I’ve lived in this town a collective 18 years and saw no one I knew. Not one person. One of us is clearly better at the friends thing. So maybe I should give Anya’s method a shot.