In the past I have touched on why making friends as an adult is hard and I have come up with a new reason that I would like to discuss.
I am a big believer that when you have kids, more often than not your friends end up being the parents of your kid’s friends. It usually starts when the kids are too little to go over to someone’s house by themselves, so you take your son or daughter over for a playdate and then you and the mother get to talking. Sometimes you hit it off, other times not so much. But for the most part you befriend those who are around you all the time, and when you have kids that is most commonly the parents of their friends.
The problem with this is twofold.
First of all, it is usually the mothers who connect because they are the ones at the playdate. Now of course this is 2014 and there are plenty of dads that come to playdates or “mommy” and me playgroups. But even with the advent of dads as primary caretakers, in general it is still moms who are in the majority. So we are going to go with that for now.
So you’ve got two moms who hit it off and decide to have a double date with their respective spouses. Now you’ve got what is essentially a blind date for two men! I’m kidding of course, but the dads, more often than not, have never met each other before and who knows if they have anything in common besides their kids.
We all know how difficult it is to make friends when there is only you to contend with, but when you add your partner to the mixture I swear it becomes four times as hard! Just because your new friend is amazing and articulate and funny doesn’t mean her spouse has these same qualities. The good news is, even though it is tough to find couple friends, you can still be friends with the woman even if her husband is a dud.
The second issue, and sometimes the most major, is when you like someone, you have a ton in common, she makes you laugh, you converse easily, but when it comes to her parenting style you want to scream!
Has that ever happened to you?
I have one acquaintance that I would invite over more often, but when she is around her children all she does is take care of their every whim! The kids interrupt our conversation and instead of telling her kids to give her one minute to finish her thought, she gives them her full and undivided attention and leaves me in stunned disbelief as she does whatever it is they are asking for!
Drives me nuts!
Another parent I adore doesn’t say anything when her children wont let any of their playmates play with their toys! They have gone so far as to shut the playroom door on kids because it is full of their toys and they don’t want anyone touching them! So the other children just sort of wander around the house looking for something to do. My kids don’t want to play with her kids because there is nothing to do when they don’t have access to any toys!
Of course these are extreme cases that I am using to make a point. Not all parents drive me crazy, and even the ones that do annoy me have wonderful qualities- their parenting style just isn’t one of them.
And I am sure there have been others who feel the exact same way about me! Goodness knows I am not a perfect parent by any means.
My point is when you are an adult, making friends isn’t just as easy as sitting next to someone in class. There are so many more variables, like spouses and children that we have to deal with. It is no wonder true friends are so difficult to come by!
So what is a glamorous housewife to do?
Well first of all, I am a big believer in compartmentalizing. If you know you really like someone but your husband isn’t fond of their spouse, then have a ladies night! No need to involve the men at all.
As for the parenting styles, one of the things I do is either meet for coffee without the kids, or I switch the paradigm. Maybe I make sure the majority of playdates are at my house so the toys can be shared. Or I invite more than one friend over to keep me company as the friend who is always catering to her children runs around trying to please them.
I enjoy finding creative ways to solve problems, especially when it is my attitude about someone that is keeping me from making friends. Because when it comes right down to it, there is nothing wrong with these people. It is my attitude and my perception that is clouding the friendship, not theirs. And maybe, just maybe, when you realize that you have control over your perceptions and attitudes and can control them, then you will have an easier time making friends.
So what do you dolls think? Have you ever liked someone but couldn’t stand something about them like their spouse or parenting style?