Sometimes I wonder if there is some sort of gene I am lacking which enables people to effortlessly make friends. Sometimes I feel like I am on the outside looking in – FaceBook and Twitter can be so blooming cruel sometimes 🙂

I was pretty introvert growing up but I know that I have never suffered from the kind of social anxiety that some people seem to be affected by. I started at the London College of Printing, Sussex University and City University on my own without knowing another soul and made friendships each time – some of which have lasted the course and some not so much sadly. I also went on holiday to Australia on my own in 2005 and I enjoyed meeting new people on my (organised) trek up the East Coast. I am perfectly happy in my own company but sometimes that is not enough and those are the moments that you look around and wonder what sort of friend you are and what you have done in your life to feel so out of so many loops.

When I had my first baby I found the baby & bump groups to be a godsend – I didn’t have too much trouble meeting new people and making friends. I don’t think I would have any friends where I live now if I didn’t have children. But people move on and sometimes FaceBook is not enough. Having said that I do have a handful of people I’ve met in the last 5 year who I consider to be best friends now but sometimes it is hard to forge an unbreakable bond when your interactions mostly take place at Soft Play with random and regular interruptions for toilet breaks, boo boo kisses and refereeing…

I guess a lot of my problems stem from the fact that I feel I am better one-on-one with people than socialising in a big group. I don’t have a big enough personality to make myself heard in a crowd and I tend to find myself on the sidelines. I think this is why I never really pushed myself to make it in a journalistic career because ‘media types’ are loud and pushy and ambitious and I lack those traits. I remember when I was a teenager a close friend dubbed me ‘Mingle’ in an ironic way because she was a lot more of a social butterfly than me!

A lot of the people I consider to be my lifelong best friends now live great distances away from me – some don’t have partners and children. I find myself with much more intimate knowledge of the lives of mere acquaintances from the social media than I do with these people with whom I have shared the funniest, most intimate, happiest and saddest moments. And I forget the birthdays a lot which I know is crap and it breaks my heart to think that they might assume I don’t care.

Maybe its not just the birthdays, maybe I am just rubbish at all the little gestures – the effort, the extra mile –  that make up peoples’ minds about wanting you as a part of their inner circle. I admit that I have fallen short.

And how do you balance friendships once you have children with being there for your partner? Even if you did have the spare £20-£30 quid a week to pay for babysitters… Not to mention the fact that life with little children seems to sap away so many things that make you who you are – or who you were before they came along.

Blogging has brought me new ‘cyber’ friends – I feel like there is a group of people out there who are sharing similar experiences – with their children, with the experience of having life rail-roaded by the blogging process – one of those hobbies that takes over! But I am scared silly about what will happen when I meet some of these people from this world in real life in June when I attend BritMums Live.

Is it too late for me to be a better friend?

15 thoughts on “Friends

  1. You sound like a pretty good friend to me, Sam! Friendships need to be nurtured and the fact you decided to write about them shows how much you care about your friends. I wish I could meet you at BritMums Live, but I very much doubt I will be there, with baby due on 10 June. x

  2. I feel the same Sam. I can relate to all of that. Bar the blogging bit. I tell you one thing though. It must be who we are because I have felt this way my whole life and in every social grouping. It’s like a feeling of inadequacy of not being able/wanting to play the popularity game. Not being in the in crowd etc. What I want too know is: how the people in the in crowd feel. Do they feel the same? Are they dissatisfied in some other way? Who knows. Love you Sis xxxx

  3. Never too late, and I fail to see what makes you a poor friend. Life takes over sometimes, especially with kids around as it can feel like a treadmill sometimes, and before you know it, weeks have gone by and you’ve not checked in with friends. It’s a tough juggling act, but one that most of us are doing, too. And I’m quite sure you’ll be fine at Britmums x

    • It is tough after having children isn’t it? Maybe its not quite so much to do with being a bad friend and more to do with never really fitting into a circle of friends or being accepted into a circle of friends – I just wish someone would tell me where I go wrong. *sigh* I think I’m just having a wobble about BritMums because its been a long time since I did anything like that on my own.

  4. It’s never too late. But don’t be hard on yourself Sam. I’ll bet you’ll have a ball at Brit Mums and think of all the other people thinking exactly the same as you!

    • That’s true! I think its fairly common to feel nervous – I just feel like other people might already know each other better through lots of Twittering – I’m a bit rubbish on Twitter – I’m scared of getting sucked in and never getting a single other thing done!!

  5. Ooh I will look forward to meeting you there! And I can be a bit of a rubbish friend myself – perhaps this is a whole unexplored avenue of friendships – agreeing to both be a bit crap and that you love each other anyway?

  6. I wrote about exactly this a while ago, we sound very similar. I think friendships change as our lives change, as do the people we are friends with. Some stand the test of time, but not all, and I don’t think that necessarily makes us bad friends. And, I think that the fact that you worry about this shows a level of self awareness that makes you a good friend to have x I’m looking forward to meeting you at BritMums xx

  7. I think friendships, good ones, do take time and effort but real friends should accept that life with young children is tough and takes up most of your time. Anyone in the same boat as you will certainly understand. I dont think it helps that us women are over-sensitive about stuff like this! I would recommend making a bee-line (prior to Britmums) for certain twitter buddies and arranging to meet outside. Or there is always the ‘social butterflies’ if you’re feeling nervous, who do a great job of hooking you up with like-minded people. You will be fine 🙂

    • Ah thanks Suzanne! I feel like I want to carry on making new friends throughout each stage of my life but sometimes wonder whether other people have a policy of ‘my list is now full’ kind of thing! Being a part of something new (blogging in this case) does open up that opportunity and I’m always a teeny bit envious when other bloggers mention the fact that they’ve met up IRL with someone else from the blogosphere for a day out or whatever! Maybe one day! X

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