Let’s just put this out there. I’m socially awkward. I recognize it, I hate it, I make every effort to curb the crazy, but when I see a new group of potential friends, it is like something in my body just tells my brain to shut off and instead, I become a fool. Let’s look at some incredibly embarrassing examples.
* Kiddos’ soccer practice. First, this is about any of the kids who are practicing or playing a game, not me. My adult and mother mind totally recognizes that. Instead, my mind immediately goes to, “Oh! Other moms! I wonder if they’ll sit by me (a-la circle time in kindergarten) and chat during the game (instead of being a good mom and cheering on my kid).” I slide my folding camp chair incredibly ungracefully away from my husband and toward the mom crowd, minutes later making the unfortunate realization that I’m now an awkward three feet away from my family as if I dislike them, and a stalkingly three feet closer to this group of women I’ve met twice. Also, I’m basically all alone in between the two groups, and then I weep inwardly when I realize we’ve signed up 2 years too late for soccer, and these women already know each other and I will never be part of their crew, even if I offer to design (*ahem* have a friend design) the coolest, glitziest “Soccer Mom” t-shirts in existence. *sigh* “Go hunny! You rock that corner kick!”
* Girls Night Out. Yes, they exist, even for someone socially awkward like me. I have a lot of friends of friends, mutual friends, friend that I see a few times a year, etc. When a group of girls gets together and goes out to have a drink or two, see a show, basically anything called “GNO!” expect fun. But when I go out, I am often mortified afterwards at just who I was during that evening. Was I the self confident professional who rocks at her job? Highly unlikely. I often leave her at the office. Not sure why, she should come along more often. Was I the mom who talks about her kids too much and should have taken a cue to shut up? Much more likely. Was I the chick who just seems incredibly desperate for friends? Oh, totally. Aaaaaaand, now that I’ve had a whopping two drinks, I’m going to Uber home because I’m afraid of the next person who might come out in a desperate attempt to find my bestie…or even just my tribe.
Here’s the thing: I’m not from this area. I didn’t grow up here and when I moved here, it was for my spouse. I didn’t find a church home where we were welcomed in with loving arms, but rather felt a bit disconnected. I didn’t find a job I immediately loved and so didn’t make lifelong friends there. I didn’t go to college here, so the connections that so many people make during those years weren’t local to me. Then, we began having children when the rest of our mutual friends were still several years away from that stage in life. Being the only mom in a group of friends can really feel like a lonely time, and I felt that much more friendless. (PPD clearly didn’t help!) So now, when I see a group of potential friends/moms/human beings with something we might have in common, I act like an overly excited puppy (I promise I won’t pee on your shoe though. My crazy has its limits). So when I approach you, overly giddy and slightly creepy, try to look past my crazy. I’ll do the same for you; after all, we’re friends now.