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Making friends

(19 Posts)
AristotlesTrousers Tue 12-Apr-16 13:06:17

I occasionally come across threads where a poster is looking to make new friends, so I thought I’d bite the bullet and put myself out there. I’ll probably out myself by doing this, but what’s the worst that can happen?

Long story short(ish):

I have recently turned forty (sigh), and I live about 30 minutes from Norwich (south Norfolk/north Suffolk area) with my partner and our 2 DC, aged nearly 5 and nearly 2.

I am a part-time post-graduate student. I am also a writer (alas, as yet unpublished, but hopefully one day…). Mostly though, I am a mum who spends her days doing the school run, chasing my 21 month old around the house, and looking forward to nap-times and bed-times when I can finally write.

I am sociable, and have a wide range of acquaintances. Although I can be a bit quiet at times, people don’t cross the street to avoid me, and most people seem to like me. I don’t gossip about others, talk about myself incessantly, bombard people with text messages, or tell tales of how woeful my life is (though I must admit, it’d be nice to find a friend that I could share the lows as well as the highs of life with). I am generally a happy, positive, friendly, person, with a GREAT sense of humour.

However, you know what it’s like: it’s difficult to make proper friends out of mum-friends, and I don’t think it’s going to happen for several reasons.

1) I am a recovering alcoholic. Not many people know this, and it’s not something I tend to divulge unless I know a person well. I think people must pick up on something though, as I never get invited on boozy nights out anyway (and even if I did, I wouldn’t feel comfortable going, unless the person/people I was going with knew I was in recovery… but I never get to know anybody well enough to tell them… Catch 22).

2) When I got sober, I became very cautious about letting people get close to me for a variety of reasons, and have only really made a couple of what I’d consider to be ‘proper’ friends since. I am becoming more defensive and selective as the years go by, which is frustrating for me, because all through my childhood and teenage years, I always had a best friend, and I still think of myself as a ‘best friend’ kind of a person.

3) I am a nervous mum. I tend to be a bit of a slave to my kid’s routines, and I find it hard to relax when they’re with me, so it’s sometimes hard for me to have a conversation with other mums when I am out with them, which is a shame, as it’s pretty much the only social life I have these days. But I hardly ever meet anybody who I think might be a potential kindred spirit anyway, so my social life is a bit of a non-starter at the best of times.

Maybe I'm just too selective, but sometimes it feels as if I’ve missed the friendship boat.

I really miss the close female friendships I had in my late teens and early twenties. I had a fab group of girlfriends when I was a student (really, they were the best friends ever), but it fell apart due to my drinking and me generally being a pain.

Then life sort of went downhill for a bit, until I got sober.

This is me now, many years later:

I love reading (when I get the chance). One of my aims in life is to be as well-read as possible, but it’s hard to read the classics when you have ankle-biters, so I keep my goals simple and aim to read one or two ‘classics’ a year, while indulging in trashy chick-lit or parenting blogs the rest of the time (and one day soon, I will start my own, as long as I can think of an interesting theme).

Music-wise, I’m pretty much stuck in the nineties.

I also spend far too much time watching telly, though these days I think I’d probably fare better if my specialist subject on Mastermind was Peppa Pig or Woolly and Tig, instead of The Simpsons, Coronation Street or The X Factor, like it used to be pre-kids (sadly my TV habits are a lot less cultured than my reading habits…).

I also love genealogy. And lipstick. And the Eurovision Song Contest. I am addicted to coffee (it’s my new wine!). But my main love is writing, and it’s the one thing apart from my kids that makes me ecstatically happy.

The friendship section on the other site is very quiet, and so is my MN Local site.

Where are all the Norfolk/Suffolk people hiding?

Is there anybody who lives remotely near me in a similar boat, who thinks I sound alright, who is also looking to make friends?

I’m a bit worried I’ve totally outed myself (hope not) and also that I’ll get no replies. Still, I’ve posted this in Chat, so if I’ve made a fool of myself, it’ll disappear in 3 months!

Well, that’s me in a nutshell. Anybody?

BeautyQueenFromMars Tue 12-Apr-16 13:19:48

I think you sound great, but I live miles and miles and miles away. If we lived closer, I would definitely want to meet up. Hope you make a new friend or two smile

AristotlesTrousers Tue 12-Apr-16 13:23:57

Aw, thanks, Beauty. We are a bit in the sticks over here! grin

AristotlesTrousers Tue 12-Apr-16 15:32:05

Bumping this for the afternoon crew! smile

AristotlesTrousers Tue 12-Apr-16 17:47:26

I forget how busy Chat can be! Getting this moved to Relationships. smile

Mamaka Tue 12-Apr-16 23:27:44

Have you thought about getting back in touch with your old group of friends from when you were a student?
Well done on the recovery! I made a new friend 8 months ago who is a recovering alcoholic and she has become a really close friend. She is also quite cautious and seems very selective so I feel honoured really! So keep your eyes open, I'm sure someone will come along smile
What about friendships with other recovering alcoholics?
Maybe it's just the age of your kids which is making you nervous/unable to have proper conversations with other mums, you might find you can get more involved as they grow up a bit. I have a 2 year old and he doesn't allow for much conversation with anyone, ever!
Good luck anyway, you sound nice!

WillIEverBeASizeTen Wed 13-Apr-16 00:20:16

OP..what a lovely eloquent and to the point, I would love to have you as a friend...alas we are miles away (I love Norwich though) and I don't have 'ankle biters' any longer;)

Are you 'spiritual'? One of the nicest groups I ever attended was a Buddhist group. The most sincerest of people, very genuine and non judgemental. I just felt stupid chanting..

Don't give up the search have a lot to give the right person/people..good lucksmile

AristotlesTrousers Wed 13-Apr-16 09:27:13

Mamaka I did get in touch with my old friends a few years ago, and am in touch with one of them. We met up a couple of times, but then I moved away, and she's busy with her work, family and other friends, and I don't hear from her very often. Sadly, I never met anybody my age in AA (though I did meet some great people).

Funnily enough, WillIEver, I've just been reading about Buddhism.

I don't think there are many MNers in East Anglia, at least I never seem to come across many, though I guess you never know! I shall live in hope, and in the meantime, if anybody wants an email pen pal...

WhatALoadOfOldBollocks Wed 13-Apr-16 10:10:18

A couple of days ago I was looking into friends only social groups because I really want to sort out my social life. I made a list of a few, that I haven't tried yet so can't vouch for, but maybe worth a try?

AristotlesTrousers Wed 13-Apr-16 20:25:22

Thanks, WhatA. I might check out some of those. smile

WillIEverBeASizeTen Thu 14-Apr-16 00:15:52

OP.. Just reading again and had a thought. I subscribe to a website called Streetlife. It is made up of my immediate community, within 3-4 miles I think. They have them (Streetlife groups) (I think) all over the country, might just be down south though.
I feel it is made up of genuine people who are interested in their local community. Events are posted, items for sale, recommendations for local tradespeople. It's a mine of information and help. I once joined a ladies group that a lady was advertising. Very pleasant friendly people, I just didn't have the time to commit.

Might be worth you having a look..

sonlypuppyfat Thu 14-Apr-16 00:21:32

Do you go to baby groups or perhaps try a church, lots of people to meet there

AristotlesTrousers Thu 14-Apr-16 06:28:44

I go to toddler groups and have some mum-acquaintances, sonly, but it never gets any further than just doing stuff with the kids. There are a couple of mums in groups that I'm friendly with that I really like, but the opportunity to suggest a meeting without the kids doesn't seem to present itself, and most of the school mums I like already seem to be paired off and have their own friends they do stuff with, and although they're friendly to me, I always seem to be the spare wheel. Maybe I just need to bite the bullet and be braver.

I haven't heard of streetlife, WillIEver. I shall check it out.

I suppose I though that if I just wrote it all down and posted it on Mumsnet then it would almost cut out the whole big disclosure thing I'd have to do, but perhaps that's just a natural hurdle I have to go through in order to make friends locally.

Oh well, I still live in hope somebody may come along yet. smile

lolo14 Fri 15-Apr-16 03:11:37

You sound like my kind of person OP, sadly I too live many miles from you. I relocated my whole life when my daughter was one, moved hundreds of miles away from everyone and everything I knew. I'm a single mum, crazy right??

I'm like you, like to think people generally like me so wasn't worried I wouldn't make friends where I am now. Sure, it took time but I had a car accident before moving and had physio here. My physio is now an amazingly good friend. My socialising opportunities are scarce in terms of going out after 18:00 but she's someone I can turn to for anything. It was a totally random meet as she was treating me!

Shame we don't live closer as I'm also an aspiring writer and am very much stuck in the 90's grin

AristotlesTrousers Fri 15-Apr-16 06:22:31

That's a shame, lolo14. It's always nice to come across a fellow writer as well. If you fancy a critique buddy, then do PM me! smile

AristotlesTrousers Fri 15-Apr-16 06:24:28

Great you found such a good mate, though - shows it can happen.

NoMudNoLotus Fri 15-Apr-16 06:54:09

Aristotle I can empathise.

My friendships really dwindled over the past ten years and my very close friend ended our friendship 4 years ago. I still haven't got over that and very much miss having a close female friendship. I don't have any now which is in complete contrast to my late twenties.

A lot of the Mums at school have formed friendships but it's just not me.

As a PP said I do take a lot of comfort in Buddhism so it's good your reading around it.

I have a sad feeling that my days of having a close female friendship are over for good - but I certainly hope for you that's not the case.

RubySparks Fri 15-Apr-16 06:56:16

Could you join a writer's group?

AristotlesTrousers Sat 16-Apr-16 09:42:16

There are some writing groups near me, Ruby, but not quite near enough to be practical with small children, though it might be an option for the future.

I have a sad feeling that my days of having a close female friendship are over for good

Yes, it does feel a bit like that at times, NoMud, but hopefully it won't be the case for us forever!

Funnily enough, I was at uni yesterday, and was reminded that actually, there are people who know all about me and haven't rejected me yet, and that maybe the others wouldn't judge me, anyway.

I really think the solution is just that I need to be a bit bolder when it comes to cementing friendships a bit more and take a few risks. Easier said than done, I realise, but I'm feeling a bit better about things today.

Will leave this thread up just in case anybody local comes along, or if anybody else wants a general moan about the state of their social life! smile

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