50 First Dates- Making Friends When You’re A Grownup

One of the least helpful things married women say to their single friends is how grateful they are to be DONE with dating.

Although true, perhaps it’s best left unsaid to the poor woman still in the exhausting, angsty middle of it.

I’ve said it myself. So sorry, sweet single friends. Forgive me?

Perhaps it will give you some semblance of satisfaction to realize that I recently discovered that I was not, in fact, DONE with dating. I’m still happily married, so I’m in an entirely different area of dating. The rest of the world refers to this as “making friends”. In the interest of full-disclosure, the idea of viewing this as “dating” is something I heard my friend Erin say. She gets the credit for the brilliance of this idea.

When we moved from Minnesota to Tennessee in 2012, it wasn’t long before I realized that, along with adjusting to a new home state, I was figuring out how to make friends all over again. Several months after we moved, I was feeling exhausted and ready to cocoon inside our tiny rental townhome. I had been grateful for all the opportunities to meet new people, but I was spent.

Do you know that being new to an area basically means that every single time you go to a Bible Study, meet a person for the first time at the park, or agree to a coffee date or play date, it feels like a first date?

First dates, while exciting, are also exhausting for an introvert. And if you happen to also be an other-thinker, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Stage 1: Coffee meeting with a new friend shortly after arriving in your new hometown:

  • Find something cute to wear because someone marginally famous may also be hanging out at said coffee shop (this may just be something you think about in the Nashville area) and you want to make a good impression on your new friend who may or may not become your best friend who will be eulogizing you after you die.
  • Find something without holes and stains for your children to wear and coach them through exactly what you want them to say and how you want them to act. Never mind that the youngest is still not potty trained and is looking at you with a blank look on his face. The stakes are HIGH! Hold it together for Mommy, Isaac.
  • Meet New Friend and share your life stories while periodically (and covertly) giving your children the secret signal that they need to be sweet little angels.
  • Go home and wonder if you over-shared and if you’ll ever see this person again.
  • Despair that you said something wrong and now you’ll never be able to go to the coffee shop again for fear that you will run into New Friend.
  • Wonder if this is The One.

And then I realized that friend-dating might kill me if I don’t make some adjustments.

Stage 2: Coffee meeting with a new friend a year after moving to your new hometown:

  • Wear something cute if it’s clean and you feel like it. Same for hair and makeup.
  • Let your New Friend see the reality of how your kids act in public. You’re still going to give them “the look” if they start punching each other.
  • Over-share again because this is something you aren’t going to grow out of and you’re okay with that, most of the time.
  • Go home and binge-watch your favorite series with your husband. This has nothing to do with your New Friend Date, but it’s how you keep from taking your life too seriously.
  • Feel empathy for New Friend because you know she’s at home regretting saying things and over-thinking the entire encounter.

Please tell me you’ve experienced this. I’m awkwardly floating between stage 1 and stage 2 these days. I’m going to click “publish” on this post and wonder if I said too much. . . 😉

(image credit)

3 thoughts on “50 First Dates- Making Friends When You’re A Grownup

  1. I loved it! You were perfectly open about the reality of life. I don’t think you shared too much at all. I think you made me feel like I’m not the only one who thinks all those thoughts.
    And it is very timely for me, as I will be entering that stage in just a few months. I am, honestly, already stressing over it. I’m deciding what I’m going to do differently this time, so I can actually make some friends this time. That has always been a challenge for me. I’m a “useful” person, but not really “friend” material in most people’s eyes. Ah, well.

    1. Thank you. I hope your move will give you new opportunities to make some close friends. I’ll be praying about that for you.

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