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Why can't I make friends?

(64 Posts)
DrumTummiedSnum Tue 18-Mar-14 23:26:01

I've given up trying so that won't help, I realise...

Last year I tried so hard to make mum friends, arranging meet ups, invited people to my house (a major effort as it is very small, very untidy and needed a lot of work before I was happy to have anyone round). Dd started nursery and I seemed to click with a mum so I asked if she wanted to meet up, she said yes but was never available. I still try to keep in touch with NCT friends, I've invited people out who I've met at swimming lessons, work etc who have similar aged children. I don't think I come across as desperate (maybe I do) just someone with kids who's up for stuff and do you fancy coming along?

I organised an Xmas party for a parenting group I am in (on facebook, so I said come on let's meet in real life) and nearly had a nervous break down over it I got so worked up about making it a success. DDs birthday was before Xmas so did a party for 20.

Every weekend last year I would extend invitations, generally successful, but nothing ever comes of it and every week I am back to square one. This year I am tired, fed up, lonely but can't be bothered with all the effort, and no one has been in touch.

I'm quite quiet and probably a bit boring as I work full time in an office and my weekends revolve around my DDs (little one only one). But I am interested in other people, always ask about them and their lives. I can hold a conversation on most topics of chit chat - can generally manage to shoot the shit for an hour or so with just about anyone, no rocket science but what I think is generally expected of a play date. I offer to buy teas and coffees. I keep upbeat. I try to be reasonable company, basically.

My dd is extremely sociable, always wanting to make friends, always playful and up for fun. Can be a bit over bearing but again, I think she's good company for another four year old in the park. I'm pretty self aware, I can tell when something isn't working, I don't think I am flogging dead horses.

So why doesn't anything stick? I'd just like a couple of friends who I know I'm not imposing on if I dare to assume I might be included in plans. I'd love there to be someone I can drop in on or vice versa. I'd like a saturday to be more than just meet for an hour or so's play then go home - what about lunch or a pizza? I have a DP but he's a SAHD and has his own stuff he wants to do at weekends rather than more parks etc.

Sorry this is long. It's spring and I want to be out and I want to be in the world with people. I'm crying as I write this, I'm really fed up.

I am similar to you, it's horrible.

I hope things pick up for you soon x

winkywinkola Tue 18-Mar-14 23:48:11

Well, you sound like a really interesting go getting kind of person to me. Admirable.

So I had the same thing. Pre school. We moved to a new area when ds1 was nearly 2. For three years I didn't make a single new friend. Like you, I tried. I was very lonely.

Ds1 started school and things got a bit better. I didn't try v hard but was friendly and smily. I sought out the quieter parents. The not so try hards. Slowly and surely I made a few pals. Not bosom buddies but enough.

It does get better. Really. I'm sorry it seems so tough and unfair. I know how you feel. I concluded people are either pretty unfriendly or have enough friends already.

Chin up. Where are you btw?

ThatsMyOnlyShirt Tue 18-Mar-14 23:59:01

I think you are being really hard on yourself. Working in an office and spending time with your Kids sounds completely normal to me.

I have found parenting circles hard to break into as well. One of the only Mum's I have connected with is from my work. We were always friendly but since being on Mat Leave at same time we have met up. Is there anyone you work with with DC's?

Do you have any hobbies or interests of your own? I know it is hard to get out in an evening with small ones but it could be a way of meeting new friends who may or may not have DC's.

I really do think you should be nice to yourself, you are obviously very thoughtful.

thecook Wed 19-Mar-14 00:11:20

Hiya love

Could you join parkrun.org. I know your DD is only four but could you get your partner to babysit whilst you went. The one I did the other week was very child friendly. Lots of mums were there. That was Gladstone Park in Cricklewood, London, just in case you are in NW London.

I am 43 but don't have any kids. I have met many mums there. Plenty with kids age 4 and 5, which is your daughters age. Join up today. Tis free!

ViviDeBeauvoir Wed 19-Mar-14 00:22:04

I am similar but even though my DD has just started school I still find it a struggle. I have 3 DC aged 5,3 and 1 so it's tough trying to accommodate them and other people's DC too! Plus I work 3 days a week so that doesn't leave much room to socialise.
I am naturally quite a shy person and it takes a lot for me to get to know people and although I make an effort and am always nice/friendly/smiley I don't seem to get very far.
I am currently organising DD's birthday party, which is on Sunday and even though I've only invited 5 of her friends I am already super anxious and stressed out (which is why I am still awake!)

I think you sound lovely, OP and if you're in/near west Yorks you're welcome to meet up with me and my horde smile

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 19-Mar-14 00:39:01

It's like being the unpopular one at school, isn't it? I think people often focus on close family and long term friendships and don't feel the need to make new friends unless they're the vibrant Alpha type women.

Dirtybadger Wed 19-Mar-14 00:43:19

How can you focus on long term friendships without first having a friend (to make long term) though Dinosaur?... sad

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 19-Mar-14 00:51:15

Sadly I think that people in this situation may be destined to remain lonely, or to have slight acquaintances only. I think it can help to meet people with a different perspective - eg I find that I tend to get on better with people from overseas than with the locals. It may also help to be more flexible about getting to know people from different age groups. Because you may not just easily fit into the local mumsy circles.

beaglesaresweet Wed 19-Mar-14 00:52:11

yes, OP, it's very tough! I find people respond to efforts but when you stop making the effort, hardly anyone else does. Maybe many women just don't have the energy or time for new friendships.

I also noticed that women who have DH/P are often going along with his plans without being that interested - just so that he doesn't socialise alone, I can kind of see their point, but it's very tough for single women to get their married friends to find time for other things - plus you are excluded from couples socialising.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 19-Mar-14 01:00:49

Yes, there is always the clear message that they are only interested in meeting up with you if their husband is off doing something without them.
Actually, the nicest couple I got to know (sadly now moved abroad) was a foreign couple with several children. The husband was as friendly as the wife - there was no sense of not wanting you round because the husband was there. If they invited you round it would often be to do stuff with the whole family, including husband.
I'm also familiar with being the one who makes all the effort - organising great children's parties etc, often not reciprocated. I'm losing interest now, TBH. The children can make the effort on their own I reckon.

AlternativeMoniker53 Wed 19-Mar-14 01:05:00

I think there are a lot of us on here who are a little bit lonely, that's why we talk to each other! I've made one good friend who I actually met through the local mumsnet board, have you looked on there? Other than that I struggle with mum friends, I've moved around a bit which doesn't help. I'm also unwilling to blend in any more, been there, done that.

AlternativeMoniker53 Wed 19-Mar-14 01:07:58

Re the partners thing, I'm like that, DH is away a lot and when he's here I do prioritise him and family life over friends, I think it has to be that way. Doesn't help with making friends though.

LesserOfTwoWeevils Wed 19-Mar-14 03:30:37

You sound lovely.

I'm not at all lovely but have been through something similar, though on a much smaller scale: make heroic efforts to clean house, invite people over, everyone has a brilliant time, you spend hours cleaning up after they've gone....And nothing comes of it, not a soul offers an invitation in return.

So no helpful advice, sorry, just lots of empathy.

Wishfulmakeupping Wed 19-Mar-14 04:12:46

I could have written your post OP. I did the same and thought I'd made a few lovely friends but I'm realising now that it's always me organising all the meet ups and I don't think they would get in touch if I didn't

snowpink Wed 19-Mar-14 05:38:55

I admire your efforts, I think I would be too shy to organize so many events with people I don't know that well. We've moved around a lot with DH's work so I have to start from scratch every time and sort of accepted that I have a handful of good friends I go and visit a couple of times a year. Locally I seek out the expats because they're much faster when it comes to moving friendships along. In my current expat group, there are also some native mums btw as they just enjoy learning about different cultures etc. maybe you can connect with some expats in your area? Do your foreign friends who've moved away have some contacts?

GertTheFlirt Wed 19-Mar-14 06:25:09

It's not you making friendships though. It's you using your daughter as an introduction. Be your own person with your own interests instead of towing a 4yo round behind you. my weekends revolve around my DDs

I'd like a saturday to be more than just meet for an hour or so's play then go home - what about lunch or a pizza?

Well most people do family stuff at weekends and don't want to be out in friendship groups when they haven't seen their partner all week.

I have a DP but he's a SAHD and has his own stuff he wants to do at weekends rather than more parks etc.

Family time - why aren't you having family time? Why is he allowed to do his own thing at weekends?

Do you retain friendships from a past life? school? college? uni? a life before DP & child? have you moved far away from your home town?

justwondering72 Wed 19-Mar-14 06:55:19

It is tricky. Fwiw, I think you are up against it trying to make mummy friends if you are working full time through the week. I'm a sahm, and my days revolve around school run, lunch at home, afternoon activities for the youngest. By evening I'm ready to drop. And weekends are family time - I'd only schedule a play date if DH had to work or something, or it would be a whole family thing like inviting friends over for lunch en famille.

Going out in the evening with mummy friends has taken a long time, even with people I know well! We probably started off with daytime coffees when children are in school before actually going out at night together.

So don't take it personally, I suspect you are looking for something that's hard to find ie mummy friends who are free at weekends.

Fwiw I think it's not on for your oh to disappear at weekends just because he is a sahd. I am a sahm and my weekends revolve around family - they don't stop needing me just because its the weekend. And if I take lots of time off then, when does my DH get his down time after working hard all week? We try to be generous to each other at weekends, some family time, one of us maybe goes out, some alone time if requested.

Lat thing - I'd suggest you start looking to your own interests and hobbies and look for new friends through that - the park run suggestion was a good idea.

CailinDana Wed 19-Mar-14 07:39:39

It sounds like you're spreading your net far too wide. I've moved around a lot but I always manage to make good friends, friends I keep after I've left. Doing that takes a lot of sustained effort with a few people over a long period of time. I would say it took at least 6 months of seeing my current local friends at least weekly for us to become proper friends. There are some people who don't respond to friendship overtures at all. I don't take that personally.

On a side note, it sounds like you and your dp don't spend much time together - is that the case?

LePamplemousseMousse Wed 19-Mar-14 09:39:19

OP I understand where you are coming from. Making friends as an adult can be really difficult as most people by the time they have kids have established groups and very little 'spare' time.

I don't think it is you AT ALL though. It's your expectations. I am as keen as you are to make close friends, but if someone invites me to something without DH at the weekend it would be difficult to accept. DH works long hours and weekends are the only times he sees me and the DCs for any 'quality' length of time. Me going off to see one of 'my' friends with the DCs (or leaving him babysitting) would definitely get grumbles if it was more than a one off. Could you not invite one of the mums you clicked with and her DP and kids for a BBQ one sunny weekend (with your DH) and see how that goes?

I agree with PP that you might be casting your net too wide. It sounds like you are hosting 'coffee mornings' rather than investing time in getting to know someone you are really interested in. Making social small talk is great, but it doesn't signal to people that you are open to more than a few hours' entertainment for your DCs. In group settings with two kids to martial I rarely get to finish a sentence, let alone have any meaningful conversation with someone I don't know well.

So don't give up! Do accept your set-up is unusual and weekends are always unlikely to reap more than a couple of hours play and a coffee unless you make it more of a family thing. Focus on investing in one or two people on your days off and see where it leads.

Like others though, I do wonder why your DH isn't expecting/wanting to do things with you and the DCs at weekends. I do think that could be a major factor in you feeling lonely.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 19-Mar-14 09:47:35

Just copied the following from another thread. Obviously this is not about the OP, but lets us see how things may feel to the popular type mum:

"The girls mother doesnt have many friends... shes a bit talkative and one sided with the conversations and people tend to steer cleer of her. I started up a conversation with her one day and havent been able to shake her since! Shes a nice person but not someone I really want to have more to do with then the occasional "hi, how are you". I am fielding lots of phone calls from her wanting catch ups etc. I dont want to be rude to her but i have a lot of other friends that I struggle to catch up with that I would rather see then her"

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Wed 19-Mar-14 09:49:38

Where do you live Drum? I'll be your friend smile

kentishgirl Wed 19-Mar-14 10:44:22

Oh Drum, I know what you mean. I've never been blessed with lots of friends or been able to make friends easily. I do try. Sometimes I've tried too hard and put people off, or been surprised to find that actually they never really wanted a friendship in the first place. Most people are very involved in the same little group forever and don't have time/energy for a new friendship, I think, so try not to take it too personally. I'm sure it isn't you, as you sound very nice, it's just circumstances.
I never got into the local mums thing.

The friends I have got, have usually come from hobbies and interests - something we share as individuals, from our personalities, rather than 'we happen to live in same area and have children of similar age', which isn't really having much in common when you think about it. I know it's a cliche but taking up a class or hobby group, or a local meetup group, can lead you meeting with like minds, and I find people at these things are a bit more open minded about who they get to know and socialise with.

WheresTheTime Wed 19-Mar-14 10:55:20

Not had time to read the whole thread so apologies if I'm repeating others.

You are not alone! I posted the same thing the other day. It's rubbish. And I'm outgoing, not afraid to make a complete idiot of myself (although I hope they don't think I'm an idiot, and I don't pester people, I promise!) so it's not because you are quiet. I find/assume people just don't want to meet at the weekends, esp SAHMs I meet, because the other half has been working all week and they want to spend the time together, which is understandable.

I've come to the conclusion half the problem is that when you (is in 'one', not you specifically!) do meet up with others and toddlers are around, it's impossible to hold a conversation, so it takes 10 times longer to get to know people. Someone mentioned park run - they may have a point. An activity without kids would give time to talk without interruption and something to talk about other than the kids themselves. I might give it a go if I ever find the energy after 3 night wake-ups and a 5am start. Grrr.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 19-Mar-14 11:00:38

Why not meet some single mums? They won't have the same problem with weekends.

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