I have often thought about the process of making new friends as an adult because I have moved a number of times in my adult life, and found myself in the middle of a new community not knowing anyone.
I have never had a lot of trouble making friends, but I do have to push myself to make the first move as I am plagued by insecurities from my teens that hamper any adult self-confidence I may have acquired.
As a teen, one very strong memory I have is of being on an A-level biology field trip, and being acutely aware of the 2 cliques in the group. On one side were the geeky types who worked very hard, wore glasses, had buck teeth and didn’t tend to drink. I fitted into 2 of those categories (I’ll let you guess which ones).
On the other side were the cool types who got good grades but didn’t work, or got bad grades and didn’t care; they were good-looking, drank vodka neat and got stoned. For some inexplicable reason, I wanted to hang out with the cool types. I think my main motivation was a lad called Nobby, but I also desperately wanted to be cool.
Now that should have been a clue for me to ease back; that desperation thing. Desperation is never attractive, whether you’re going for a job, flirting with a potential partner or just trying to fit in as a teen.
I tried hard to be like the cool kids, but only succeeded in earning the soul-crushingly humiliating nickname “Klingon”. I made matters even worse for myself by getting disgustingly drunk and declaring my undying love for Nobby. I hang my head in shame even as I type.
So, skip forward into adulthood, and I am making new friends in my community. I have got a few good mates now, thanks to having children of playgroup, kindy and school age, but I don’t have any really close friends yet.
There’s one woman I met when my oldest started school; she is intelligent, beautiful, interesting and funny. She is also extremely busy. I try and talk to her whenever I see her, but I am very aware of being that Klingon again, so I try and talk to other people too, just so I don’t look like I am rushing up to her going “OMG HI! SO NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN!” the minute she appears.
I’d love to be able to feel confident enough to just drop in for coffee, or to invite her to some grown-up dinner party without having to shout at the children to “go to bed” every 10 minutes.
However, my child-focused lifestyle means that I will probably end up chatting over the next PTA sausage sizzle, wondering if wearing my stilettos for school sports day was too obvious.