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Disappointing unsuccessful attempts at making friends as a grown woman...

(28 Posts)
Pollyanna9 Sun 25-Sep-16 10:15:38

Hi

I'm a single parent (genuinely single, I literally have no support from anyone). I live in the area of the country I moved to with my post divorce DP in 2007 so didn't have anyone I knew around here apart from the people I knew through him. Did make one friend myself through where I worked at that time (although DP who was ever so slightly mental put the cowbosh on that so whilst he still talks to me, we don't have a going out relationship like we used to, we never meet up any more).

All I want is a friend who might want to come round for a coffee or go to the pub once in a while for a drink but it ain't happening. These are the failed attempts I've had in the last few years:

* DD then aged about 9 was friends with J (as she will hereafter be known) and used to go round and play for an hour at her house on a Wed afternoon, DS went to an out of school activity at the same place as her DS and we used to share the picking up cos it was at 10.15 at night and we both had younger kids who were falling asleep waiting outside for them to come out. We went out clubbing, had a FAB night. We had things in common - our DPs were both 10 yrs younger than us, and both of us had had similar issues with DSs struggles to adjust to a new fella living in the family home. Got on great. Then her DP pokes me on FB - now because I only knew him by his shortened name and the pic was him in a stand up tanning booth it literally didn't recognise him. I didn't respond to his poke. I mentioned this random person to her during a phone call and the full name - oh that's my DP (!) I was like, er, oh ok - didn't recognise him. Well, that was that. DD no longer welcome to go and play with her DD, both her and me sitting outside to pick the kids up at the same time from the out of school activity instead of sharing it, and total cessation to all contact between her and I. Clearly the inference (which makes my blood BOIL) is I had designs on him (or vice versa). Actually whilst I know I had no designs on him, I also firmly believe he had none on me because he did pick DS up one night from the activity and asked to speak to me and said he was sorry if anything negative had arisen, he was just trying to make friends with his DPs friends in a supportive way to her. Seemed entirely genuine to me but being lumped in with these slaggy women who'll go after anyone's fella really pisses me off. I wouldn't mind, but if he was the last man on earth I wouldn't have been interested anyway.

* DDs previous BFFs mum - lots of contact due to our DDs friendship, pub nights, new year's eve party together just gone, dropping round to the house, aligning Christmas present reveal (Bieber tickets!). Then BFF no longer wants to be BFF with DD. I try and resolve through this mom and finally realise after several days that she has no intention of trying to help repair the situation. She now no longer contacts me in any way shape or form.

I'm beginning to wonder if I'm using the wrong deoderant!! You know, I can't get my head round these types of behaviours and one minute you're in and the next you're out. It's such a shame because to actually find people who are directly in the vicinity (and therefore a relationship would be really workable), are actually very hard to find.

All I have at the moment is two former colleagues and although we will meet up every 4 - 6 months or so, and I do really like them and we have a nice time, they're not like proper 'girlfriends' do you know what I mean? It's all a bit reserved and I like it for what it is, but don't have anyone to out with and get silly and talk stupid talk and have a giggle with.

I've almost given up on the idea.

And don't get me started thinking about dating again, jeez. I can't manage a friend let alone a man!

SirChenjin Sun 25-Sep-16 10:24:03

I think it becomes harder to make friends as you get older - work, family, home stuff, outside interests....they all get in the way of making and sustaining long term friendships. I met my friends through ante natal classes and see them every few weeks or so, but if I had to try and make them now that the DC are older I genuinely don't know how I would go about it. I do know mums through DS2's school, but they tend to be 'mums I know through school I'm on friendly terms with as opposed to friends with', iykwim?

Rather than looking for 'a friend' as such, I wonder if it would be an idea to get involved with activities and hobbies where you would meet a range of people - and maybe through time you would develop a friendship? Or is that just trite and totally rubbish advice?! smile

Pollyanna9 Sun 25-Sep-16 17:42:46

Ha ha! Yeah, I was with Spice at one point (they do all sorts of activities for adults) - but after the class or activity, everyone just goes home and no one carries on talking to you. Ditto, I've been doing Parkrun for a bit - you chat with someone there and again, it goes absolutely nowhere.

It seems almost impossible - and there's the cost element to the idea of going here and there - I think it also has quite an impact working full time, trying to fit on a couple of runs a week - that's about it, there's not a lot of me left after that but I could certainly fit in a coffee or share watching a movie and have a glass of wine!

Hey ho, I'll just keep rubbing along on my own. I've had to become incredibly self sufficient and self reliant which is good on the one hand but sometimes I just really wish I had a mate to chat to on the phone - wouldn't have to keep coming on here and bothering you all!!!!

SirChenjin Sun 25-Sep-16 17:51:51

I was in Spice too many years ago - I met some really nice people through it smile. What about a running club rather than Parkrun? An actual club where there's social stuff alongside it? Or the MN local site? Or voluntary stuff that you and your DD can get involved with at weekends - countryside ranger type work, that kind of thing?

I think there's a website opportunity here somewhere - so many people have the same difficulty when work and family take over and make it harder to find friends, there must be plenty of scope to develop a Find a Mate type site.

Pollyanna9 Sun 25-Sep-16 18:35:31

Ah, I hadn't noticed there was a MN local site - I'll have a look at that.

I did make contact with a local running club but they run for bloody miles at a time - I take about 40 minutes to shuffle round 5k so that'd be undoable for me, plus they run at 5.30pm - I'm usually stuck in traffic on the way home at that time otherwise I could have looked at it.

I would like DD (who now has no contact with her dad and her only friend has a Saturday morning volunteering job) to do something on a weekend. I don't know what though - a paper round would be a pain especially with dark nights coming up but I can't think where - any ideas for volunteering? I'd happily go with her to start with and then get her going there on her own but can't think of options (cos weekends are dedicated to the thrilling excitment of laundry, house cleaning etc - ah, the romance...).

RedMapleLeaf Sun 25-Sep-16 19:02:42

I noticed in your examples above that the common factor was that they were the mums of friends your daughter had made. That doesn't strike me as a particularly firm foundation for finding commonalities.

I agree with the poster's advice above to choose activities and hobbies that include a social aspect. The park run vs running club is a great example.

Also, I'd keep in mind that great friendships (with confidences, support, spontaneity etc) don't just spring in to being. I am working on a theory of a pyramid of social relationships smile I'll rehearse it here.

On the bottom you have "general acquaintance" layer. These are people you know and recognise, see often enough to say hello to but don't necessarily know their name. E.g. women you see most weeks at yoga. You should aim for this to be your biggest layer, so that your pyramid is a strong one.

Some of these people rise to the next layer. These are people you chat to, find out a bit more from than 'hello' and you know their names. These might be people who'll hang around after yoga for a drink in the cafe.

Some of these people rise to the next layer. You see them outside of the original context of work, yoga etc to do something like meet up for a coffee or go to theatre.

Some of these people rise to the next layer of friend - someone you can ring up to see if they fancy coming around for a bottle of wine when you get dumped

Some of these people rise to the top layer of confidante, hero-in-a-crisis etc.

Sorry, got to dash, had a bit more detail and implications to run past you all. But I will say, consider MeetUp. I think this bounces you up a few levels.

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Sun 25-Sep-16 19:10:12

I also have no friends! Complicated relationships in the past and messy divorce made it impossible to make any. Too old now and have accepted my lot. (45)

SirChenjin Sun 25-Sep-16 19:25:24

Seems like someone has beaten me to it - this site any good? www.girlsgoout.co.uk

Pollyanna9 Mon 26-Sep-16 17:58:24

What a right pair we are then Mybeardeddragon!

Tambaboy Mon 26-Sep-16 18:53:43

Have you tried www.meetup.com? I made quite a few friends this way. I used to attend a weekly group meetup of the language I was learning at the time and it was great. But there are a lots of different groups, even women only groups.
You enter your postcode and interests and you can check all the different meetups happening locally. Have a look, it will surprise you.

Pollyanna9 Mon 26-Sep-16 19:11:44

I shall have a look at all the suggestions offered - much appreciated, thank you!

toooldtobeyoungandstupid Mon 26-Sep-16 19:11:48

I've moved around the UK for the last decade and really sympathise OP. It's partly why I'm on here... Sad, I know.

I used meetup and found a really nice all female social meetup, they organise a book club. It's once a month, low commitment, and they barely talk about the books. grin I've been a few times so there's no bosom buddies, but I feel better for just having that in my calendar.

If you've got the balls, I'd suggest starting your own meetup group. It won't happen overnight but it may surprise you how many likeminded people you'll meet.

Assam Mon 26-Sep-16 19:23:16

I'm the same I can't get beyond level 3 on the pyramid grin
I'm a nice person, supportive, friendly I loved loved loved my girlfriends at school & college but I don't have that now.
There are some meet ups along the girl crew line near me but from the photos they all look younger than me - 20s
If I were brave id love to start my own meetup blush
Where are you polly?

daisychicken Mon 26-Sep-16 19:29:12

I have the same problem, I keep trying but struggle to progress above acquaintance level. I know that the fact I struggle with small talk and the inability to talk about myself doesn't help but I do try! I've looked at meet ups but the groups that appeal seem only to have people half my age (42) in it or bit of a trek - not in my local area - which is where I'd ideally like to find some new friends...

Pollyanna9 Mon 26-Sep-16 19:33:57

I'm here in the West Midlands.

It's difficult even if you look at meetup because the logistics of activities and groups even just 10 miles away, is just not doable. I could do it for a 'we meet once a month to go to a gig or out for a drink' - but then I'm a bit scared to just turn up on my own. It seems so bloody sad!!

SirChenjin Mon 26-Sep-16 19:37:35

Just go woman!! The first meeting will be the worst, but as you probably tell your DD when she starts at a new club, you will soon make friends - or at least, become friendly with some of them smile

Pollyanna9 Mon 26-Sep-16 20:00:56

Alright alright SirChenjin!!! grin

I will. I've just got to get through to my next pay cheque and then see how I do this month on money in the job I just started two weeks ago as some of what I can/can't do will come down to available money. I'm having to follow really strict spending practices (or not spending practices I should say) and not do any spending until the end of all direct debits going out before I can commit to something like this. Presumably I can message the group first so they know who the solo saddo in the corner is!!!!

ellyelly247 Mon 26-Sep-16 20:01:37

Pollyanna, I can completely empathise with you. I am craving a close friendship with somebody after drifting away from school/university friends a few years ago.
Am also in the West Midlands! grin

Pollyanna9 Mon 26-Sep-16 20:02:50

ellyyelly - how fab! I'll message you x

LouSaint Mon 26-Sep-16 21:46:32

Anyone near Southampton? I'm in a similar boat, just got out of an abusive relationship, lost loads of friends because of STBX's behaviour!

Nepotism Mon 26-Sep-16 22:58:07

Lousaint, some really good Meetup groups in Southampton!

VanillaSugarandChristmasSpice Mon 26-Sep-16 23:05:20

I share your pain. Love the Maslow's Hierarchy of Friendships!

LouSaint Mon 26-Sep-16 23:18:23

Thanks Nepotism. I'll look into that this week.

dangerrabbit Tue 27-Sep-16 08:40:41

Great post here about the friend pyramid with lovely visuals:
waitbutwhy.com/2014/12/10-types-odd-friendships-youre-probably-part.html

RedMapleLeaf Tue 27-Sep-16 16:46:35

Oh no, I thought that I'd invented that! sad

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