Wednesday, September 23, 2009

discuss: friends

My sister had a post today that got me thinking about something I've been thinking about a lot lately...I am not a very good friend lately. Or good at making new friends, and it shows in how lonely I've been feeling these days.

When we first moved here and Abigail was just barely a year old, I had a friend that I went to the gym with three times a week, a group of 6 friends for playgroup (where we all brought our one child and sat and talked while the kids played), three friends that I went walking and biking with at least once a week, 3 friends that I traded babysitting with once a week, and I went to our ward's weekly mothers' group. Plus library storytimes, which at that point were well-attended by a lot of people I knew, and I was pretty good at talking to the ones I didn't. I usually met friends at the playground at least once a week. Fairly regularly, I would go to a girls' night out with friends at a local restaurant or someone's house. When new people moved into our ward, I would make a point of inviting them over for dinner or getting our kids together to play, because I wanted them to feel as welcome as I had when I first moved in.

Fast forward three and a half years and add two more kids--we still do a lot of playdates, but they're the drop-off variety. Most of the people I was close to when we first moved here have moved, my workout buddy and I have both had 2 more children and no longer have the 5:45 am gym time together, and I can't remember the last time I went to mothers' group or the playground (although we still go to the library constantly). I feel like I'm incredibly busy, and most of my conversations begin with, "Wow, haven't talked to you in forever!" and end thirty seconds later as I dart after a runaway child.

What I miss most is just the time sitting around laughing and talking and troubleshooting our lives. I always feel like parenting is so much guesswork, and I remember I would always leave our Wednesday playgroups full of new ideas and tricks and motivation. Girls' nights would refresh and rejuvenate me, reminding me that I was still a fun and interesting person to people over the age of three or my husband.

So this is my goal for the next few months--to create new opportunities for friendships, both old and new. To spend more time reaching out rather than just feeling lonely. To make friendship a priority along with home and family.

What are your best strategies for nurturing old friendships and starting new ones? What are your favorite things to do with friends?

5 comments:

Elise said...

at least you have your best friend with you for eternity!

Katrina said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately too. For most of the time I was in NC I didn't feel like I had close girlfriends. I was working for the first year or so we were there and most of the other girls in my ward already had kids. It wasn't until after I had Asher that I felt like I started to become better friends with girls there.

Now that we've moved back here, I've actually been really enjoying having girl friends again. I have friends that I've known for years here and I've been making new friends--in my ward and through blogging. It's been really fun. Asher and I have been very social--going to parks, the zoo, friends' houses. I've really enjoyed spending time with other women who share similar views on motherhood and parenting. It's been very invigorating and inspiring.

I'm sorry things are harder for you right now. I know adding another little one doesn't make it easy. I'm sure things will get better!

Meghan said...

It's a bit tougher when there are more kids involved, but you can still plan activities with other moms and kids. I try to make a point to attend enrichment groups, even if I'm not terribly interested in the topic, just so I can get to know other women in the ward better.
And you can organize those girls' nights out that everyone else is probably missing, too.

Dani said...

I've been thinking about this lately as well. Let me know if you ever figure it out. I feel like I'm running around like crazy all of the time, but I never have any time to spend with friends. I see my friends a lot, but we never seem to get a chance to talk (for example I saw you at aerobics the other day, but I didn't even get a chance to say more than "hi").

Kristyn said...

Start up a girls night!

We have a once a month girls night- here's what we do:

1. It's the same week/time every month- 2nd Fridays at 6:30.

2. We use evite.com to keep which sends out an invitation to everyone's email about a week before and you can see who RSVP's.

3. We rotate 1 person in charge to "host". The "host" simply means we meet at their house and they choose the location. Sometimes we go out, sometimes we stay at their place, sometimes it's dinner, other times just appetitzers or desserts or meandering around stores... just so we can talk.

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