Monday, April 13, 2009

MWF, 35, seeks local friend



I've had this post brewing for weeks, months even. But it's not gelling so I'll just say what it was going to be and be done with it. The idea was to put a personals-like ad up for a friend. Isn't that clever? I was going to be all, I'm so friendable and such but now I work mostly from home and take care of my baby and my really good friends are all far away and I need a new one bah. Bah. Bah. But it was a trick to appear like good friend material without appearing NEEDY. Or like a LOSER.

And then I was all, what do I want in a friend? Who would I even advertise for? Someone who lives nearby, yes, that would be great. That is The Thing, really. Someone with children, maybe--just for scheduling ease and general life-phase sharing. But then she would be all distracted and my gorgeous son might not be the center of her world. Imagine! Someone whose partner works late like mine does, who can share the deceptively slow 4-8pm window. Communal toddler-friendly dinner once a week? Someone whose partner is into hanging out with my nerdy husband once in awhile (did I mention he's building a robot in the basement? And that he's a musician?).

Someone who can somehow not make my parenting angst worse. Someone who can walk onto the playground with me and help me not feel like I'm back in middle school with a piece of toilet paper hanging off my shoe. Someone who can help with the thoughts of school creeping slowly, unwelcome, into my head--either shared denial or telling me what to do could work. See? My new friend might take many forms.

In my head, my new friend and I discuss all the things I talk about over phone, email or chat with my friends who are far away or busy. Except this would be in person, see. We will talk about the cruel joke that is work/life balance--always a favorite. Extra points for a shady past! Cooking, the more legumes the better. (Also the more cheese the better.) The things that don't make it into how-have-you-been-things-are-fine-here catchups with my faraway friends. We played scooters on the sidewalk yesterday. Time to go to Target. I hate Target. And there's the house-cleaning thing. We OF COURSE will clean each others' houses. We will meet periodically for happy hour. We will gasp, oh my god, this is my life, and we will both know what that means. We will just, you know, BE there. In person. That's what we will do.

So okay, I think Oprah said that thing about throwing it out there and then it comes back, like a boomerang or something. So now I'm done with this silly thing and now a nice new friend will come out of the woodwork. Shazam!

25 comments:

The Gossamer Woman said...

I have a grown up child and live far away, so I guess I don't qualify for the job. I would have loved to have taken it, though. You do always sound like someone I would want to be friends with. But wait, we are on Facebook. Nah, it's not the same at all, is it?

Mac and Cheese said...

How flexible are you on the cooking and cleaning issue? This seems like a small detail now, but it could really escalate into something after a few years together. I can see us in thereapy already. I CAN'T DO IT! I'VE BEEN HURT BEFORE...

J and J Acres said...

I need to write a post like this, except she can't have a job b/c I don't have a job. We could work out together! And take walks with our dogs!

Ah... to have a friend! :)

apathy lounge said...

I'm SO right there with you. Still looking for that person.

ellen said...

My loneliest and most isolated times were when my boys were little. I think that's when you need a friend the MOST. It would have been a little easier if we had not moved far away. There were years in there when I had no one...not a fun time.
If I lived closer I could be a substitute grandma and I would hope, a support.
I truly get what you are saying here.

planetnomad said...

Sigh...maybe you could move to Rabat? I could use a friend a bit closer too...

LISA WHEELER MILTON said...

I hear you. My ad was up for a few years it seemed before I met my people here.

School helped, and throwing myself into some volunteer work helped too because I met lots of people that way and some stuck.

But I think I just got lucky.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I have 2 friends who get together on weekends. I never get together with friends on weekends because that's the only time my husband is around, except of course when he travels for work, which happens about once every eight weeks. So once every eight weeks I am SO JEALOUS of their friendship. They have sleepovers at each other's houses! Just the two moms and their four kids. (Four total.) And sometimes on a Saturday one mom will take all four kids so the other mom can go running, or whatever. And then they get together for dinner, the 2 moms and 4 kids. Doesn't that sound dreamy? When my husband travels I always want to call them to see if they'll include me, but I get all middle-schoolish about it. What if they don't want to play with me? What if they think my kids are bad kids? Sigh.

Mama Goose said...

I live in Portland! Oh, but it's the other, less cool Portland.

Let me know how this works out for you. I may just try it myself...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I hope you find it--a friendship with someone who is in the same place you are is precious.

I have been lucky to have that person in several incarnations.

see you there! said...

You have to be visible for your friend-in-waiting to find you. The playground, the library, a community garden? Places you might find people with similar interests. I'm so sure you'd be a great friend that I hate to think anyone is missing a chance to hook up with you.

Darla (reads often/comments less so)

Noelle said...

I actually did this! I was at a point several years ago where I realized that many of my college friends had moved away, and I'd grown apart from a lot of the friends who were still around. I had friends who I liked, but I was feeling really stagnant and needed something new. After thinking this way for some time, I browsed the platonic W4W section of Craigslist. I was not alone! I wrote up my own post and posted it. I had quite a few responses.

I met up with two women. One was another person in Real Estate. We're still loosely connected (Facebook friends, she's come into my work) - but I didn't quite feel a click with her. Nonetheless, we had our pseudo-date, nice wine and snacks, and it put me nicely out of my comfort zone for an evening.

The other woman I met was awesome, and we hit it off. Interestingly enough, we had both, just a week prior, signed up for Teamworks - and, both being in our 20s, signed up for the 20-somethings team. She's away at grad school now, but I think she may move back to Seattle - and I think she's fabulous.

We had it easy keeping that friendship up because we ended up volunteering together, once a month, for the next 8 months. We didn't become BFFs, but we're still friends.

The idea of that "first date" for a friend is interesting. If it was a romantic date, then it would be easy to say, "We didn't click. No need for a second date." But that's assuming you want a relationship. With a friendship, it's harder not to take that kind of rejection more personally. You know? Because you're not looking for anything exclusive.

Anyway... it was a good experience for me, and I'm glad I did it. It didn't end up changing my social calendar greatly, but it was a really good thing for me to do (combating that shy girl who still resides deep inside.)

wheelsonthebus said...

good luck...

Anne-Marie said...

Ooh! I need to do the same here... I actually went running last weekend by myself... totally not the same... I can vouch for you, do you need a letter of recommendation? ;)

Rima said...

If I lived in your neck of the woods, I would totally answer that ad. I am in dire need of some friends (but it's not like I'm a loser or anything, just FYI!)

Heidi said...

Noooooo! Is this a threat?!? Ok, that it. I'm moving to Seattle.

ummm. Can I have a place to live?

Oh, and some money?

Dani in NC said...

I've never thought of placing an ad, but I have thought a lot about what is missing on my friendship list. I have trouble finding local friends who have the same interests that I have. I end up adapting myself to their interests so I can have people to hang out with.

All Adither said...

I'll be your friend! Let's go out again!

Stacy (mama-om) said...

I was in a writing class -- a short, short class. The class wasn't short, but we were writing short things and one of the short things was a personal ad.

And mine was for a friend. Someone to share my days with, IN PERSON.

I feel ya, sister.

And now that you have loads of free time since quitting your job, email me and we can actually try out that "in person" thing.

And, hey, don't blame me for the boomerang. That's all Oprah's fault.

Coffeegrl said...

This is a great idea! It's not necessarily practical for me here in Japan, but I'm not always going to be here. In the past it has sometimes seemed to me like the people I wanted to spend time with (esp. in Seattle) already had so many friends and other obligations that it was hard for them to squeeze me in. I'm pretty sure I'm not a total loser but finding the right people at the right time (when they're not totally occupied already) seems to be really challenging once we're in our mid-30s. Maybe because more people are settled? I don't know. I may have to try this approach :)

Anonymous said...

When we abruptly moved from a place and people that I loved, I spent about 6 mths trying to find some outlet to meet people in the new location. Not much luck and then I joined a Mom's group which was started by a woman who had no family in the area. Not everyone was a perfect fit but my son made friends with a brother and sister and their Mom and I became fast friends. Forward to school age boy: I am sitting in a room Mom meeting and the woman next to me leans over and says "I'm pretty sure you and I have a lot in common, would you like to get some coffee?" as she pointed at my shoes, the same shoes SHE was wearing!This woman 15 years later has been the best friend I could have wanted. Circumstance, location and sometimes just plain luck but I'm betting your next friend is just around the corner!
Good luck! Bramble

Susan said...

I live far away, but I think if I let my husband read the bit about your husband and the robot, he will develop a man-crush on your husband and make us move to wherever you live.

Burp Rag said...

Nora, Angie, Mama Om - let's get together without Bossy but with Mrs. G if she has the time now that she is so communish...I'm answering your ad! And Hugo can come visit our chickens now that we went urban farmish (www.sustainableeats.wordpress.com)

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