Guest Post: Dark Theaters Make Me Think

by TopHat

(TopHat blogs at With Your Mutual Approbation and the bee in your bonnet. She has 2 children who take up her knitting time, but she forgives them for that.)

This week I was invited to the movies and I was over-the-moon-ecstatic. I’ve always felt like an outsider when it came to the “cool” kids and so to be invited to see a movie with some of the ladies at church, well, it was happy-making.

I arrived on time, but because I had filled up on dinner, I didn’t need to stand in the popcorn line. Subsequently, I was one of the first to start saving seats in the theater with the few other popcorn-free women.

I actually love watching movies; movie-going for me is a very social event. I like to find a partner that I can whisper witty comments to throughout the movie. With pop music blaring and advertisements for local businesses glaring, I took the opportunity to try to find a kindred movie-commenter.

“I like to make comments and talk during movies,” I blurted out.

The reaction was immediate, the women I was with “shooed” me away, “Well, then don’t sit anywhere near us,” as they moved to the other end of the row.

Well, ok. I understand some people can’t stand that. I was hoping to find a Statler for my Waldorf it it flopped, but maybe one of the popcorn eaters would fit the bill.

As more filed in, I watched as each one was greeted with a “Oh! Come sit by us!” from the other end of the row. Faces lit up, waving ensued, and chatter about the last time they got together commenced. And I realized why I had been so giddy to come to the movies in the first place: I don’t really have any close friends, nor even a close friend. I have only been in the ward for a little over a year, so some of it is time, but some of it is that I’m not very good at the friendship thing.

I remember being in college and listening to my neighbors talk about having so-and-so over to bake cookies or watch a movie. And strange as it might sound, I remember thinking to myself, “Bake cookies? Who comes up with these ideas? It’s great!” But the idea never would have come to me on its own. And I didn’t invite anyone over for cookies because I promptly forgot about the idea.

When I hear in lessons or talks, the speaker mention that she had Sister B’s shoulder to cry on, I always think, “I want to be that shoulder, but I don’t know anyone well enough for that.” I’m envious of these friendships but am absolutely clueless on how to start them or maintain them.

Is it that I don’t have that kind of personality? Is it because I never really saw friendship like that modeled for me while I was growing up? Surely I’m not the only one with this social barrier. I’d like to ask you readers: do you have close friends that you can share everything with? I have my husband and he’s wonderful, but I wonder, when I see these friendly interactions between other women, if I’m missing out on something. Have you overcome this same barrier? If so, how did you do it? I go to as many of the Relief Society meetings-formerly-known-as-Enrichment-formerly-known-as-Homemaking as I possibly can and when I was still going to Relief Society, I volunteered for activities regularly. (Teaching Sunbeams means I often miss the sign up sheets.)

So my Exponent Sisters, please share your experiences and advice. I’m going to need to take notes.

 

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43 Responses

  1. jks says:

    I know exactly how you feel! A close friend is a very rare thing indeed for me. I don’t have any magic answers. I have worked on my social skills and they have come a long way. Unfortunately, even though I have stayed put, plenty of my friends have moved so I am often back to square one with trying to get to know people. I rarely go on a girls night out or have anyone calling to chat or cry on my shoulder.
    One exception is my best friend lives in another state. She is like a sister. We have lived quite far from each other since we were 15 but keep up the friendship.
    Different things have helped me over the years. A few years ago in a presentation I heard “it is better to be a friend than to have a friend.” I often take opportunities look around for who needs me to pay attention to them, rather than who I would like to hang out with.
    I read a book about social skills for children and found some helpful advice.
    I smile and make eye contact with people more.
    I have a purpose….like trying to get to know my children’s teachers or visiting teacher, etc.
    I invite people over. The smaller the group the more comfortable I am. Although it stresses me out, I continue to practice socializing by inviting people over for dinner or games or something.

    • TopHat says:

      We have “be more social” on our fridge as a family resolution for 2011! We have been inviting people over more and I think it’s slowly working. And what book for children? I’ll read almost anything!

    • Kmillecam says:

      Those are good ideas there. I don’t have a hard time making friends, but I do have a REALLY hard time getting close to friends. It’s like I know that I want it in my brain (to be closer), but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to feel closer, to let go of the fear that the other person doesn’t want to be close to me.

      The way you explained it really resonated with me. The way I feel most often is perplexed. It seems like most other people have it figured out!

      But then I also think that a solution is not just to do those helpful hints that jks wrote, but also to own that I am feeling lonely and then create connections myself (instead of looking for them passively). My coach at Phoenix Youth at Risk says that when she feels like she needs love, or understanding, or connections, then she gives them to herself. So instead of expecting it from other people, and hoping that I might “get” what I need from others, I simply tell myself that I am lovable, a friend, not alone, etc. It really does help!

  2. EM says:

    I’m exactly the same way. I was a teen when I immigrated from one country to the next and therefore found it very difficult assimilating into a ward and into a group of people who tended to be quite “clicky”. But I persevered and kept putting myself out there, and for the most part find it easy to have “friends” wherever I live. I think the problem is that people are on the move and it becomes very difficult to make friends, especially if you’re and introvert like me. I’ve found over the years that being in a Branch instead of a Ward lends its self to making friends a whole lot easier – we depend on each other and I like that. But no matter where one lives, a smile, a handshake and an invite over to your house is a great beginning.

  3. Janell says:

    There are many women in the ward I’ve tagged as people I’d like to get to know better and maybe become friends with. The current barrier is lifestyle differences – they have rowdy, school-aged children and a all-day-home mom schedule and I have no children and a full-time corporate position. I just don’t know where the common ground or common schedules are.

    I have heard it said that myself and the other no-kid-and-a-job sorts are “clickish,” but we’re really not that way intentional – it’s a schedule and interests thing. The mother’s aren’t able to attend a 45 minute restaurant lunch at noon. We’re not able to attend a 9am playground date or an 11am potluck.

    • TopHat says:

      Yeah- the social schedule thing is quite a barrier. And then I put up my own mental barriers: I “can’t” hang out with the older retirement/grandma age women because I usually have to bring my kids and they tend to have immaculate houses with breakables and spend a lot of the time giving me and my kids worried looks. I “can’t” hang out with the have-a-job women because, again, no patience for children. I’d love a 45 minute lunch date, but again I feel self-conscious about having kids at those things. And even other moms aren’t always available because preschool and nap times and such. For me, it’s important that I can bring my kids with me (I nurse, and I feel like bringing them to places is how they’ll learn how to act in different environments) but I feel very aware of anti-child sentiments in restaurants, stores, even church activities, etc. But that’s another post for itself.

      But I do know a lot of it is my own self-conscious, “What will they think of me/my kids/etc” worries. Must get over that.

  4. charlene says:

    I’m never going to have the whole ward as friends (even if I want to, which I kind of do; my ward is fabulous) or not have awkward situations, but I’ve been working on it. I don’t know if any of these will be helpful, but these are things I’ve learned:

    -Visiting teaching rocks! Seriously, I used to hate it, and I still have “oh bleah it’s June 27th” (…oh crap! It’s June 27th!) blues, but like I tell my nonmember friends, it’s like instant friends! Where you have to get together once a month! I got to be really good friends with one of my VT’s (that was luck), but most of my friends were the sisters I “taught” (what a joke, they were always teaching me stuff), especially because you can’t always control whether your VT is a ditz and forgets to see you for six months, but you can control that you set up appointments with the women you go see.

    -I’m musical, so the way I got to know people was joining choir. Choir is a much smaller group than church-proper, and since you’re engaged in an activity it’s not like enrichment night, where I often feel like I’m kind of hiding in a corner while other people talk. And the choir director will love you, as I can guarantee that s/he is always trying to nag people into coming to choir. If you are not completely tone-deaf (and in some wards, even if you are 🙂 ), I highly highly recommend this as a way to get to know people better! In three wards now (in the last 6 years) that’s been a major icebreaker for me, because I don’t talk to people easily, but when you sit next to the same people week after week you eventually get to talking, even if it’s just “I love/hate this song!” You say you have kids, so I know it’s a bit of a hassle to do choir. I’ve found people are generally pretty forgiving of one or two kids running around during practices (maybe your husband could take the rest if you have more?) — I take my 1.5 year old daughter whenever her nap schedule allows, and have ever since she was 4 months old, and everyone thinks it’s great. But YMMV depending on ward, I guess.

    -I started trying to notice when people needed help with something at church. Sometimes I struck out (like the time I asked a mom if she needed help cleaning up after her children after Sacrament, and she pointed out her kids were doing a fine job). Sometimes I struck gold (like when I noticed the same mom needed a ride home after choir — we struck up an awesome conversation in the car and we are close friends now). Part of this is knowing you might be rebuffed (hopefully in a nice way!) and being okay with that. I’ve done both myself — people have asked to help me with my daughter when I’m doing music stuff, and sometimes I *really* need the help, and sometimes I don’t.

    -I started asking for help. When I changed wards last year (we moved across the ward boundaries) I talked to the RS presidency (of my old ward, but she knows the new ward RS presidency) about my fears that I have a hard time making friends, and my new ward RS knew coming in that this was a problem I was concerned with, and they tried to match me up with people (for VT especially) who they thought would help me out. I’ve had 3 VT’s in the ward so far (unfortunately, as soon as I get them, they seem to move out of the ward) and each one, when they say “Is there anything I can do for you?” I used to say, “No, nothing,” but now I tell them that I want to get to know other moms and hang out with them, and two of them organized little get-togethers and made sure to invite me.

    -Baby showers. Maybe you go to those already. I blew them off for many years, and then I started realizing that’s where all the women in my ward go to socialize! It doesn’t actually matter if you know the person or not. When I finally had my own baby shower, there was at least one person there whose NAME I didn’t know, and several I’d talked to, oh, once. They come for the socialization. I still have a hard time going to showers of people I don’t know at all, but I now try to make myself go if it’s someone that I think is cool, even if I don’t know her very well.

    -And then I’m very bad at inviting people over. I’m trying to work on that but I’m not there yet.

    Uh. Sorry for writing the novel! And maybe all of these are totally elementary or stupid and you’re all “Yeah, we all knew that already!” but I’m stupid enough about socialization that it took me 35 years to figure them out, so I thought I’d share 🙂

  5. SilverRain says:

    I don’t have any “come on over” friends, but that’s my fault. I get up at 4 a.m. and am in bed (theoretically) at eight. That shoots any socialization dead on entry.

  6. AprilR says:

    I don’t have any great ideas for you–but I want you to know that I empathize. I have had similar problems, in spite of the fact that I am not shy or mean or awkward or anything obviously antisocial. In fact, I am quite charming, really! Take for example, the time we treated a neighbor family to a baseball game but they refused to sit with us when we got there. Or the time when my visiting teachers asked me if I needed anything, and I admitted that I didn’t have any friends in the ward to hang out with and would love it if they would come over and play board games sometime. They acted like I had asked them to come over and disinfect a room where a skunk family had died. And I can’t count the unfortunate number of activities where I wished I hadn’t arrived so early and sat down first because when everyone else arrived, they sat far away from me and I was left as a loner. My point is, this happens to everybody, even people with obvious kindred spirit potential like you and me, so don’t let it get to you. (And if you happen to live in the Salt Lake area, we should hang out sometime.)

  7. Diane says:

    I’m with JKS.

    I have to force myself to be social. I don’t like it. It goes against my grain. I think it started in grade school because I had a speech impediment.(cleft palate) It was not repaired until I was nine,but, I’m still quite nasally and because of my background (foster care) I don’t put myself out there. I don’t like sharing things about my self, oddly I don’t really care about on the internet because I can’t see you.

    But, I have forced myself lately to come more out of my shell. I’ve researched different bus companies and found two dollar tickets to places like DC, Baltimore, NYC and I am making myself go. Normally I wouldn’t but, I’m making myself.

    Its not even like I care if I’m social or not, I really really don’t like to be around people. I’m not afraid to take myself out to dinner by myself, I don’t need to have anyone with me to do that. I’m not afraid to go to a movie by myself. It doesn’t bother me. I have recognized that for me being around people is to exhausting, so I prefer not to. But that’s just me

    • TopHat says:

      I once heard that there are 2 kinds of people (if you like oversimpifying that is!): people who feel rejuvenated after socializing, and people who feel drained. I think I’m both: I love socializing, but afterwards, I’m second guessing everything I said/did- hence this post! I wonder if there’s a way to figure out if there’s a reason for those “2” types of people and if it’s possible to jump from one group to the other.

      • Kelly Ann says:

        Tophat, I am the same type of person, an odd combination of those two characteristics. I like to say I know lots of people superficially. This isn’t entirely true but I seem to have a talent in developing friendly acquaintances vs. bosom buddies ;-p. Sometimes I think it is because I am a scientist (although one friend said I was one of the least awkward scientists she knew ..) and sometimes it is because my instinct is to protect myself. I have had good friendships and have gotten really hurt by some of them (mostly ex-boyfriends). While I have found that book groups and other social groups (meeting once a month) have really helped foster new friendships, I still sometimes find it awkward to move past to the “cry upon shoulder” friend.

        Anyhow, can I say I feel really bad that we are so close and I hardly know you … I’d be up for a 45 minute lunch break or even better, a movie in Emerville after work and the kids are in bed. I don’t usually like to admit that I am a movie commentator… So I’ll keep my eyes open for the next living social movie ticket deal (as I am too much of a cheap-skate to usually go) and will keep you in mind. It behooves me to at least make you more of a friendly acquaintance, if that is ok 😉

      • Kelly Ann says:

        And oh yes, I will also get the East Bay Mormon Feminist Group off the ground one of these days, which I think could cultivate a lot more in person friendships across the board.

      • Kmillecam says:

        TopHat, you are describing so many things that I relate to! I also feel this combination. I am both energized during and drained afterward in most social situations. The exceptions are when I feel really comfortable (then I’m only energized) and when I am really uncomfortable (like when I don’t connect with anyone out of a whole big group, and then get self-conscious; and then I feel REALLY drained.

      • cchrissyy says:

        I’m so late to this post, but like Kelly Ann, I know many people on a friendly surface level but never develop the kind of friendships where you can call up just to chat, much less cry on a shoulder. Part of this could be never having it modeled to me, or just lifelong poor social skills, plus a generous dose of self-protection and self-sufficiency and uncommon level of busy-ness.

        I do have a tip for you anyway – to invite people over. Like, for dinner or games or whatever. Just list people to get to know and invite them, one or two at a time. I have heard/seen this actually work and I think I believe this is the key to getting to that next level of familiarity with someone.

        TopHat, sorry to hear your example at the movies, that stinks! I am local (you picked up that book on my porch) and would love a bay area feminist meetup.

  8. Sijbrich says:

    When my husband and I moved into our current ward (right after getting married), I already had a good friend that was fairly recently married in the ward. She was very social and had already made many friends in the ward, but it was still hard for me to adjust. I remember the first Enrichment activity I went to and feeling overwelmed because several women were talking about canning and I had no interest in that at the time and I just remember feeling a little discouraged like I wasn’t going to find any friends in this ward. Things have improved and I’ve even learned and like to can food, but that actually has nothing to do with how I came to make friends. I still find myself lacking in the social activities with other women in the ward, but some things that have helped are:
    When going to an RS activity, offer to carpool with someone. Maybe someone that you serve with in Primary or someone that you know lives close, or a visiting teachee. It doesn’t guarentee that they’ll sit and talk with you the whole night, but it might increase the chances of forming some sort of friendship during the drive to the church.
    I also struggle with the other SAHMs because I just have one child and it seems like everyone else has multiple children that aren’t near my daughter’s age and nap schedules do often conflict. I have been able to do a little playgroup with one mom, where we did it at her house so her youngest could nap and then her older daughter could play with my daughter. That worked fairly well. I guess try to scope out any potential families in your ward that might fit with your schedule, if possible.
    When I’m feeling more social I try to chat for a minute or two to the family that sits in front or behind or next to us right before sacrament meeting or afterwards. A simple, “Any fun plans for the summer?” or “Are your kids enjoying being out of school?” may or may not start a lengthy conversation, but it helps to show that you have some interest in them. I get to go to Relief Society, so I try to sit next to a different woman almost every week, which has been fun. I was in YW before, so I just utilized that time to get to really know the sisters I was serving with and I think once or twice I even hung out with them outside of church. Are there any other Primary teachers that you could potentially become friends with that you see every week?
    If you hear about a new family that moved into the ward, be one of the first to take them a treat or just stop by their house to introduce yourself and your family.
    Good luck. I’m glad you posted this because I thought I was just about the only one that felt awkward and antisocial at times at church.

    • TopHat says:

      Yeah- small talk. I need to practice that. I have the hardest time getting out of my head and into starting conversations with other people. That’s something I really need to work on.

      And I love the visiting teaching recommendations- our ward still does visiting teaching groups (shh! we call them “clusters” and there was no counsel against those). Good thing about “clusters:” many people to talk to, but I don’t think you get to know individuals as well. But it does take off a lot of the social awkwardness of being alone with someone you don’t know well.

  9. Caroline says:

    TopHat,
    I don’t know if your RS has a book group, but if it does, that might be a thing to try. If it doesn’t you could put out feelers for women in the ward who might be interested in starting one up with you. I’ve found that my RS book group is a great way to socialize with ward women in a situation where they are willing to let their guard down and say unexpected things.

    Charlene, what a list of great ideas!

    • TopHat says:

      We do have a book group- it’s been around for 30 years, so every book I suggest has already been read! And we do have great discussions. This past time, someone mentioned the BoM musical and how great the songs were. 🙂

      Unfortunately, also at June’s book group I brought my babe (11 months) because my DH is finishing his thesis and needed some free time- he still was watching our 3 year old, but me taking the baby was helpful. Anyway, our book group meets in various homes of the retired/grandma ladies because they are the people who have homes that are big enough for everyone to meet and so there are lots of fragile items. My son was headed towards the coffee table (and I was going to stop him before he got there!) but one of the women had to preemptively tell me to keep him away from it and then as I was carrying him back to where I was sitting, another woman had to emphasize that whatever was on the coffee table was expensive. That double whammy had me in near tears because I was so disheartened over this. I really want to participate and get out of the house, but sometimes I have to bring a kid along. It was just a bad day and I felt like they’d prefer that I sit depressed and alone at home and never get a break- especially with my husband finishing his thesis, I’m with kids all day and then with them all evening. Sigh. Sorry about dumping all that here.

      Anyway, I love book group and I’ll keep attending. It’s not like they can keep me from going to RS activities- I’m female, afterall!

  10. Amy says:

    Thanks all for this post. So glad to know others feel the way I do. Like all the good ideas! 🙂

  11. My problem, I’ve realized, is that I just can’t do the group thing. I get overwhelmed–whom should I focus on? What are other people doing? Ah!

    So now I kind of corner one person and talk, talk, talk until we find things in common or discuss something fascinating. That person then becomes the person I email with interesting tidbits or to ask if they feel like trying that weird recipe for making your own cheese or even to accompany you when you go on errands.

    That doesn’t mean that there aren’t still times when I feel like the social freak of nature. But the longer I wait for someone else to make the first step, the worse I feel.

  12. Diane says:

    @Top Hat

    I think you are right that there are two kinds of people. I think there’s a thin line and one needs to figure out the boundaries tween the two and not feel guilty about it.

    Before I had my problems with anxiety and panic attacks nothing bothered me. I could speak in front of people and move in/out of groups. Now, I know when I’ve had enough. If I go somewhere and I start to feel whatever I just leave and I don’t make excuses for myself. If people have something to say about it. I feel like its on them and I don’t really need to respond

  13. Janell says:

    So many kindred spirits! Thank you for many good ideas!

  14. Ana says:

    This is going to sound really elementary, but it’s something I learned from an older sister when she and I were serving together in YW. She was teaching the young women how to make friends, basically. Her big advice was to focus on the other person. Ask them questions about themselves, and then listen. This was kind of a landmark for me because embarrassingly I tend to be a little self-centered. Looking for people who match me, instead of just looking at people. Maybe I’m not the only one? Anyway I tried it out on a lady I was sitting next to at a RS function. I just said, “Tell me about your kids,” and she absolutely lit up. A short time later she and I carpooled to a far-away church activity and gabbed the entire time without awkwardness. Nice!

  15. TopHat says:

    I just wanted to thank everyone for the comments! I should have written this sooner! The validation and empathy is wonderful!

  16. LovelyLauren says:

    This posts really illustrates my feelings about friendship. I long to have close women friends, but am at this point in my life where that’s really difficult. I’d rather have a few close friends and it’s hard being married and 20 and not into drinking and finding people my age. As I struggle with the church, I tend to stray away from finding a kindred spirit there and my ward has a high population of very old ladies or busy young mothers. I’m 90 miles from my family and I feel very alone sometimes.

    The thought of asking someone to some sort of activity is petrifying and I don’t even really know what people my age do for fun. I’m not shy when I’m comfortable with people, but I don’t know how to become close.

  17. Jessawhy says:

    Perhaps it’s because I’ve had the same best friend since 6th grade, but I think of myself as pretty social and confident in my friendships.

    I enjoy making friends, and do my best to actually maintain friendships, although sometimes I don’t succeed.

    For me, this post illustrates that there are other people out there (my mom, actually) who are not confident in social settings, who don’t like or know how to make new friends. It’s good for me to be aware and try to be compassionate.

    When I’m honest with myself, I think some of the reason I make friends easily is that I talk about myself (too much, probably). I try to find commonalities and stories that make people laugh or sympathize. I remember learning this tactic by watching a fellow coworker at BYU. Our office manager was a grumpy older woman and I always thought she was watching and judging me for being off task. Then I saw a very talkative co-worker approach her one day and just talk for 30 min about her boyfriend or some silly story. The woman loved it! She just ate up all the juicy gossip, nevermind her not working for a full half hour. I tried the same thing, and it worked.

    I’m not sure this applies exactly for making friends in wards, but there is something to be said for talking to people as though you are already friends. I guess that’s what I say I try to do. (A little presumptuous, maybe?)

    Also, I love the advice here, and thanks for writing such a thoughtful post!

  18. Maureen says:

    I don’t know whether I’ve always been so independent or if I was “trained” to be this way, but I just am not social. It’s not that I’m antisocial. I can be perfectly friendly, inviting, and accommodating. And it’s not that I don’t long for community and connection from time to time. I am generally a deep thinker, but I would prefer a break of “small talk” amidst talking about My Little Ponies, “owies” , and why “you need to leave your sister alone.” It’s the “social” expectations of being social. The hidden, unspoken, different for each person, expectations to look, speak, and act a certain way. And for some reason I have been punished throughout my life for not fulfilling these unknowable expectations, and rarely accepted for just being me.

    8 yrs old, didn’t wear the right pants, I was literally hated. 16 yrs old, didn’t flirt in the right way, my potential relationships were ridiculed out of existence. 24 yrs old, I didn’t want a traditional Utah wedding (in my non-Utah state). Due to the stress, difficulty, and fighting I developed PTSD and my nonmember family were alienated from the church. 30 yrs old, posted some links to the Exponent on Facebook, I get heated debate and told that anyone who thinks this way is on the road to apostasy. I’m done! I have social anxiety tied in with my PTSD because in any social situation I am just waiting for the “other shoe to drop”and having to endure the fallout.

    One reason I like the Exponent is because I feel safe here. I get to think and say deep thoughts and not get weird looks (that I know of) or get ignored. I’ve seen a lot of standing up for others and inclusion of those who don’t fit the norm.

    The only reason I consider really being social is my family. My husband has a greater need for close friends and social interaction than I do. But he has just as much difficulty, so I know he needs my help. And I want my kids to be able to have a social life, which I imagine being social with other kids moms and dads will help. So still, I put myself out there from time to time. Though, I only feel a little guilty that I can easily fall back on the schedule/one car family/life situations excuses at this point in time.

    That being said, I don’t think I’m in a position to be an advice giver concerning social situations. A lot of the advice already given here sounds good to me, and I appreciate it for the times when I will put myself out there. If I were to emphasize anything, it would be to just be you. If you make friends trying to be who you think they want you to be, then they can’t really be friends with YOU. If they reject you for who you are, then they aren’t really worth having in your life.

  19. Deborah says:

    Maureen wrote: “One reason I like the Exponent is because I feel safe here. I get to think and say deep thoughts and not get weird looks (that I know of) or get ignored. I’ve seen a lot of standing up for others and inclusion of those who don’t fit the norm.”

    Yay! I love knowing that Exponent provides for you what it does for me 🙂

  20. Kris says:

    I hate sociality. I am comfortable only with my five daughters. Whenever I participate in a group I feel huge and awkward. On my way home in the car I scream at myself for saying dumb things

    • TopHat says:

      I definitely get the re-thinking of everything you said/did. I try to remember that everyone else is probably doing the same, but for themselves and what I did isn’t important.

  21. Carolyn says:

    I am new to the church and the area, just baptized end of April. Looking forward to getting to know and making new friends. Thanks for all the ideas about joining book groups. Will look into what’s in the area.

  22. Katrina says:

    Great post. Did you write this before we were talking about this as a topic for DoM? So applicable. Anyway… I’ve actually always been blessed to have really great, close girl friends. Its been harder since getting married and having kids because so many other factors (mostly schedules) get in the way. I know SO many wonderful, amazing kindred spirits but I just feel like there isn’t the time and proximity to make those friendships deeper. I feel like right now I have a ton of acquaintances but very few close friends who i talk to all the time like I did in my single days. I miss that. And am hoping to be better about scheduling time with friends more regularly.

    • TopHat says:

      I don’t remember! I think the idea came to me a day before it was mentioned and then it serendipitously showed up in conversation there.

  23. Laura says:

    It took me a long time to have REAL friends like you’re describing. And I tried inviting people over and having girls’ nights at my place and planning get togethers. I thought the problem was that not a lot of the women weren’t in the same place I was (working full-time, 2 young kids) and that those who were were too busy (like me!) to really be friends. What I found was that it just took MORE time! Over time, I found one or two women who consistently liked what I liked and we became close. And that has been a great blessing in my life (and I hope in theirs).

    • TopHat says:

      I think it is the time thing. Wait it out, I guess. We moved here a year ago and we’re planning on staying for 20? 30? 60? years, so time should finally be on my side!

  24. EmilyCC says:

    Oh, TopHat, brilliant post! I love reading these comments!

    While I think I’ve gotten better about making friends, one thing I struggle with is allowing myself to become more intimate with them. I have a deep-seeded (or is it deep-seated? just realized I don’t know!) fear that once they know the real me, they won’t like me anymore, so I force myself to keep doing things with people I enjoy to get to that more intimate space. Man, it’s hard work!

    I’m sorry to hear about your book group experience. I don’t mean for this to sound like advice because frankly, I’m not sure that it is helpful advice, but lately (like last week), when something like this happens to me, I’ve tried to tell myself two things, “I will not let this hurt my feelings,” and “They probably don’t mean to hurt my feelings” (because how often have I said dumb things that probably hurt someone?). It does seem to help a little bit.

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