Trying to make friends in a world full of zombie parents - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 38 Old 05-31-2013, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why is it so hard to make friends? I have not made one friend since moving to Florida over a year ago.  

 

Today I went to a mom meetup I had just become a member of.  I (feeling very shy) went up to one of the moms I had met the week before and introduced myself again, explaining I had just recently joined the meetup.  Another member was standing right next to her.  She just kind of nodded and said hi very hesitantly and went about her business. The other member just ignored me. I was so hurt and embarrassed I almost started crying!  I'm very sensitive. Why do these freaks go to meetups anyway?  I have never had trouble making friends when I was single.  What happens to women when we become mothers?

 

When I got home I unjoined this meetup group when I saw that this woman attends most of the meetups.  I am really fed up with how cold and distant people are at these things.   I blame my lack of friends on so many things, like the fact that I am a stay at home mom, that I have only been to 4 or 5 meetups, like the fact that I am so sensitive. But the bottom line is that I need friends, I need a support network, and I am running out of ideas on how to make some. It's making me more and more shy.

 

I know it must be me.  But at least I smile at other moms and try to make conversation. I think my pregnancy hormones are making me ridiculously sensitive.

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#2 of 38 Old 05-31-2013, 12:46 PM
 
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Moms are mean. I go to a local meetup at our museum and almost all of the women have their little cliques and I am not welcome. I stopped going. I have to unjoin every group because it feel weird trying to talk to people who ignore me or are outright rude. Ynu are not the only one. Too bad I don't live in florida. Then we could be friends! And give dirty looks and wave off those rude ladies.
 

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#3 of 38 Old 05-31-2013, 12:57 PM
 
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I struggled, too. You're not alone. Too bad we can't connect in person!
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#4 of 38 Old 05-31-2013, 01:17 PM
 
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Is there a local on-line forum in your area?  That's how I met my dearest "mom" friends that I have now.

 

Back when DS was born, I was part of an on-line forum that the local paper actually sort of ran and administered for moms to share information and chat.  For a very long time I only knew people on-line, even though they may have lived very close to me.  Then I finally worked up the courage to go to a mom's night out, then a few more events, and through knowing people on-line, I kind of knew which people I would click with the best and gravitated towards them.  It's a group of diverse backgrounds and parenting styles, and even though we have our differences in personalities and parenting styles, over the years we've built up a great community and we really have each other's back.

 

I can't imagine we are so unique and lucky here in Milwaukee?  I don't know.  Have you tried posting in the Finding your Tribe section here to meet up with people perhaps? 


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#5 of 38 Old 05-31-2013, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Moms are mean. I go to a local meetup at our museum and almost all of the women have their little cliques and I am not welcome. I stopped going. I have to unjoin every group because it feel weird trying to talk to people who ignore me or are outright rude. Ynu are not the only one. Too bad I don't live in florida. Then we could be friends! And give dirty looks and wave off those rude ladies.
 

 

LOL It's true, and I feel like a school girl all over again.  I forgot how mean women can be.  I started my own meetup last year that had about 30 members, but then my mom got cancer, I got pregnant, Etc, and I had to close the group.  Maybe I'll start another meetup and take my time finding nice mommies like us:-)

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#6 of 38 Old 05-31-2013, 05:07 PM
 
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Hey! Where in FL are you?? I just moved to Boca (last week) and if you're nearby I'd love to meet up, you sound just like me smile.gif
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#7 of 38 Old 05-31-2013, 06:09 PM
 
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I just moved to the area in the fall, and I've definitely struggled making friends here. It sucks. I will say, though, that sometimes mams come off as unfriendly due to the distraction of taking care of kids and sleep deprivation. I definitely will go to social groups sometimes and then kind of feel embarrassed that between how tired I feel and caring for my kids, I didn't interact with any other mamas at all.


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#8 of 38 Old 05-31-2013, 06:29 PM
 
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You know I found the same clique-ey attitude at classes and organized events - granted I haven't tried meetup groups or anything. I have always had the best luck chatting with moms at informal places like the library, park or early years/literacy centre. I have a 2 year old and tend to gravitate to other moms with young kids. I usually open with "he/she is adorable. How old?" and even if there's no connection, no one seems put off or upset by a compliment regarding their kiddo. I don't really expect to connect but I find this a safe way to put myself out there and I ended up making four mommy friends this way. All the baby massage classes, birth prep classes and baby storytime yielded nothing. Maybe it's the group mentality and mommies are easier prey/less self conscious in isolation wink1.gif
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#9 of 38 Old 06-01-2013, 05:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LLQ1011 View Post

Moms are mean. I go to a local meetup at our museum and almost all of the women have their little cliques and I am not welcome. I stopped going. I have to unjoin every group because it feel weird trying to talk to people who ignore me or are outright rude. Ynu are not the only one. Too bad I don't live in florida. Then we could be friends! And give dirty looks and wave off those rude ladies.
 

This is so me. I would just like one friend? Is that to much....

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#10 of 38 Old 06-01-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey! Where in FL are you?? I just moved to Boca (last week) and if you're nearby I'd love to meet up, you sound just like me smile.gif

 

Sadly I'm on the other side of the state near tampa. Welcoome to fl tho:-) Ilike it much better than I liked Atl where I also lived for 10+ years

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#11 of 38 Old 06-01-2013, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You know I found the same clique-ey attitude at classes and organized events - granted I haven't tried meetup groups or anything. I have always had the best luck chatting with moms at informal places like the library, park or early years/literacy centre. I have a 2 year old and tend to gravitate to other moms with young kids. I usually open with "he/she is adorable. How old?" and even if there's no connection, no one seems put off or upset by a compliment regarding their kiddo. I don't really expect to connect but I find this a safe way to put myself out there and I ended up making four mommy friends this way. All the baby massage classes, birth prep classes and baby storytime yielded nothing. Maybe it's the group mentality and mommies are easier prey/less self conscious in isolation wink1.gif

 

Hi, I will take these ideas into consideration.  It could just be the meetups I'm at are like that because of the people who organize them being like that and it feeds into the way all the members act.

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#12 of 38 Old 06-01-2013, 01:37 PM
 
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I was just at the park and was thinking about something...most people don't "know" how to make friends anymore. I don't know if it because of the phone/computer or whatever?? It is weird. I try talking to a mom and it goes nowhere....or I give a phone # and they don't call.

 

I some times think that it is because I b/f my older children or something. I don't know? It is hard to be alone. I try. I do. I don't get it.

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#13 of 38 Old 06-01-2013, 08:57 PM
 
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I have found it extremely difficult to make friends.  I have a few in the neighborhood but we bonded through tragedy, to be honest.  And that lowers people's walls and boundaries.  It made it easy to talk to these parents and we maintain a network in the neighborhood for kids who need help or are over 18 and kicked out of their homes.  I've got one right now who is here and we're trying to help him with getting a job and a place to live.  I feel lucky that I can offer this to other people.  Making friends is hard.  I go to school functions and feel like it's all BS.  I don't KNOW anyone. I recognize the others.  but they aren't me and they can't understand my life.  At least I think so.  This is going from brain to fingers...I'm not even really thinking as I write this.  Who knows may be my  therapist would consider this journaling.

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#14 of 38 Old 06-01-2013, 09:21 PM
 
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I made some good friends through a breastfeeding group I attended for a while. Said group has a Facebook counterpart so I got to know people online too as well as seeing them in person. I am also in another local group with a strong Facebook presence. It is easier to talk to people on Facebook, for me, and then when we meet up I already know them a little. I went to a few things at our local crunchy-parenting store and my experience was kind of like this, I didn't really connect with anybody. I do think it can be really hard to meet and know how to interact, particularly if you yourself are shy--and it sounds like that other mom you were talking to could have been shy as well. 

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#15 of 38 Old 06-01-2013, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is so me. I would just like one friend? Is that to much....

I feel the exact same way!

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#16 of 38 Old 06-01-2013, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just at the park and was thinking about something...most people don't "know" how to make friends anymore. I don't know if it because of the phone/computer or whatever?? It is weird. I try talking to a mom and it goes nowhere....or I give a phone # and they don't call.

 

I some times think that it is because I b/f my older children or something. I don't know? It is hard to be alone. I try. I do. I don't get it.

It's very true in every part of the US that I have lived in, that people are so isolated. Even old family members I haven't spoken to in years were asking a relative of mine if I would please find them on facebook. I hate facebook and refuse to use it, so I still haven't heard from them directly.  I can understand if they feel awkward calling but facebook is just not my thing.  

 

My stepmom is well past 60 and texts or emails me the majority of the time to ask me things like how my mom's cancer treatment is going.  I just find texting stuff like that really inappropriate with somebody you only talk to a few times a year; best way to show you care is actually pick up the phone or see the person I guess you and I are old fashioned!

 

My husbnd stares at his phone for several hours a day; I broke my phone in a tantrum last week and gosh it's nice to have an excuse to not have to use it:-)

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#17 of 38 Old 06-01-2013, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have found it extremely difficult to make friends.  I have a few in the neighborhood but we bonded through tragedy, to be honest.  And that lowers people's walls and boundaries.  It made it easy to talk to these parents and we maintain a network in the neighborhood for kids who need help or are over 18 and kicked out of their homes.  I've got one right now who is here and we're trying to help him with getting a job and a place to live.  I feel lucky that I can offer this to other people.  Making friends is hard.  I go to school functions and feel like it's all BS.  I don't KNOW anyone. I recognize the others.  but they aren't me and they can't understand my life.  At least I think so.  This is going from brain to fingers...I'm not even really thinking as I write this.  Who knows may be my  therapist would consider this journaling.

 

I do admit I have a problem bonding in that way.  My mom has always kind of used me as her crutch and dumped all her problems on me since I was extremely young, so I avoid drama of all kinds from other women until I trust them not to do that to me.  I know a lot of women make friends by sharing problems with each other and look at me now here I am on a forum doing just that thing lol.  

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#18 of 38 Old 06-01-2013, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I made some good friends through a breastfeeding group I attended for a while. Said group has a Facebook counterpart so I got to know people online too as well as seeing them in person. I am also in another local group with a strong Facebook presence. It is easier to talk to people on Facebook, for me, and then when we meet up I already know them a little. I went to a few things at our local crunchy-parenting store and my experience was kind of like this, I didn't really connect with anybody. I do think it can be really hard to meet and know how to interact, particularly if you yourself are shy--and it sounds like that other mom you were talking to could have been shy as well. 

 

I tried LLL in michigan and found them to be somewhat distant too. Maybe you have a different group?  You are the 2nd person to say their friends have both an online and in person connection, so if I could find a group like this I would check it out.

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#19 of 38 Old 06-02-2013, 11:59 PM
 
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I'm older now, and I do have some friends, but it's like you just have to keep trying until you meet the right person, I guess.  I have always felt like it is so difficult to make friends, and I felt disconnected.  I moved across country in 1997, not long after getting married, so I didn't have friends or family where I lived.  I think part of it is other people I meet may already have built-in support systems if they have lived in their area for a long time.  And when you try to move into a group, there is a long building up period. People might already have friends that they want to see and talk to, and even if people are cordial, you generally don't click with a new person right away. When I met people on an AP yahoo group way back when, it did seem like there were some who were also new to the area, and wanted to have more family hangouts or more involved get togethers than just an hour or two at a park from 9 to 11 am.  Everything local was always weekday mornings, couldn't conflict with nap time or family time or what have you.  Which is fine, I can understand, but then some people seemed to have friendships that transcended those very set boundaries, which is what I wanted. The people in the AP group were more geographically spread out, so we talked about doing more involved get togethers that involved longer periods of time so that the driving wasn't a waste of time.

 

At first the people in this group were adamant that they wouldn't do any playgroup thing during times where their partners were home, but right as I moved, they were starting to do more family get togethers that were more than just playgroup activities.  I was bummed that this was happening as I moved away. Of course, social stuff involving husbands is difficult for me in a different way; my husband has no desire for social entanglements, and won't do any kind of gathering. For a brief time, after we moved again, we had a couple friend, and they'd actually come over and have dinner at our house with their child and we might watch a movie together, which was pretty novel and exciting for me, but it didn't last. 

 

Now because my children are older (9 and 14), I do a lot of things on my own.  I am in a choir, and I joined a church a couple of years after I moved here, in part because it is a group of people who will come together to do other things, to serve a greater purpose or need beyond just the family unit. I liked being able to participate in some of the outreach & service project, and I liked the sense of community. I also developed closer relationships with people in my new playgroup, because we came and hung out for hours on picnic blankets in the shade, with children nursing and napping there if they needed. Because of that, we were able to talk more and feel more of a sense of belonging just sitting together even when not talking.  I also got involved in volunteering at my children's school.  I noticed a lot of the parents there seem to know each other and will hang out socially, often as couples or with the whole family, but I was completely outside of that.  Part of it is that I am not the person someone sees and thinks, "Wow, I have to get to know her!"  Now that I've lived here for awhile, I am able to be a lot more friendly.
 

Also, I think it helps if people perceive that your children will be friends.  I had a woman ask me about having playdates with my child who was in her class, and I said sure.  Then she found out that my child was a girl, not a boy as she had thought, and she said never mind. It's kind of funny, because most of her friends are boys, and I guess this boy hit it off with her, but she was a girl, so it was a no go for this mom.  People can be strange about things like that.

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#20 of 38 Old 06-03-2013, 06:30 AM
 
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I tried LLL in michigan and found them to be somewhat distant too. Maybe you have a different group?  You are the 2nd person to say their friends have both an online and in person connection, so if I could find a group like this I would check it out.

This group is held at the hospital where I gave birth and led by an LC on staff there. I did go to an LLL meeting but heard some obnoxious statements and judgment that I found so disturbing I never went back. Every group is different though, so I'm sure some are better. 

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#21 of 38 Old 06-03-2013, 06:40 AM
 
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Also I used to be so anti-Facebook but I have found it's a good way to keep a low level of contact with a variety of people. There is crap to sift through--boring updates from people you barely know, Facebook urging you to share more and more information about yourself--but that's manageable. 

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#22 of 38 Old 06-03-2013, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know it sounds paranoid, but I believe the flaws of facebook will ultimately outdo any conveniences it serves people right now, so I'm trying to avoid dependence on it. It hasn't been easy.

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#23 of 38 Old 06-04-2013, 08:12 AM
 
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Finding good friends is made difficult, too often, by narcissistic people who take over a group and make it so uncomfortable for the non-narcissistic that they drift away. And usually wonder what's wrong with them. Usually, they are the healthy ones, because they prefer not to be made to feel small, which is what narcissists frequently do, to boost their narcissistic egos. It even happens here, sometimes.

Sorry. Venting. I will drift to the background, again.
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#24 of 38 Old 06-06-2013, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Finding good friends is made difficult, too often, by narcissistic people who take over a group and make it so uncomfortable for the non-narcissistic that they drift away. And usually wonder what's wrong with them. Usually, they are the healthy ones, because they prefer not to be made to feel small, which is what narcissists frequently do, to boost their narcissistic egos. It even happens here, sometimes.

Sorry. Venting. I will drift to the background, again.

LOL.  I kind of started the thread venting, and I know exactly what you mean about narcissists. They tend to attract people because they often have more confidence than others.  But I am equally annoyed by spineless sheeple who follow them around.

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#25 of 38 Old 06-09-2013, 11:56 PM
 
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I think an important part of making and retaining friendships is to be open to not doing it one's own way.

 

So, I follow Erogeron's practice. If the bulk of people that I come into contact with and perhaps wish to befriend use Facebook, then I'll  grit my teeth and make an account and use it in a simple and utilitarian way.

 

Also, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they don't talk because they are shy, so I try to think of things to say.

 

"Are you new here too?"

Really, when did you move here?" [if before you, ask her for advice on something local, if after her, offer to help her find things or settle in]. 

Or, "Wow, you grew up here, has it changed much since you were a kid?"

 

Or, "What do you like to do for fun?" or "What are your interests?"  - maybe one of them knits or weaves or does genealogy or likes to read historical novels? 

 

Another tactic is to find something you care about doing - is there a local food co-op to join? A bird watchers group? Maybe something outside of "being a mom" that can give you a network. My mother used to do a lot of political volunteering.

 

I also try to see what I have in common with people, rather than how I am different, look for similarities, and where there are differences,see them as opportunities to come to know and enjoy someone else's interests. I don't want to sound harsh, but I think if I looked at other human beings and saw "zombies" or "sheeple" rather than my fellows, journeying through life, doing the best they can, I would find it harder to care for them and want to befriend them; and perhaps they would sense it, and not want to befriend me.

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#26 of 38 Old 06-10-2013, 04:28 AM
 
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I dont make friends that easily. Seems like I do ok at making them but the effort involved afterwards never seems to fit into my day to day life. I stay busy. Children, my garden, all the animals. I also very much enjoy the company of my SO and so I dont mind just hanging out with him alot. Not to mention we live mainly off grid and so just getting through each day is an enormous labor of love. I also hate when I make a friend ( usually someones wife or girlfriend) they tend to break up and then im torn about hanging out with someone because I dont want to get involved in someone elses drama. All that combined with preparing for a baby again at 36 just gives me an excuse to stick to myself. You all are doing better than me for sure! Maybe Ill see about a mom meetup. I did find another mom on here who lives very close to me but it doesnt seem like we are very similar. I hope all of you make some new friends!
 

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#27 of 38 Old 06-10-2013, 05:05 AM
 
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I met my close friends through a homeschool group. It wasn't a co-op or anything, we just met for "socialization". It was specifically created a long time ago to be an alternative to all the religious groups (we are in SC...at the time most homeschoolers were very religious) and most of the moms who drifted into our group tended to love it and we all were friends. We were also very friendly to new moms. I miss it SO MUCH...most of the kids grew up or went to public school, or moved away. I am still close friends with a couple of them and the rest we talk on facebook.

 

I did try one of those famous MomsOfPreschoolers in the late 90's or whatever that was called, it was awful and no one talked to me either. I found it in the paper. But a relative found it very nice when she joined her area's group.


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#28 of 38 Old 06-15-2013, 05:23 AM
 
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I'm so sorry. I totally understand how you feel. I am very introverted and struggle with making new friends. I have been in FL for just over a year as well. I am in Orlando. I have met a few friends, but I haven't been able to establish a "real" bond simply bc I don't see them enough and it is hard with two little ones.

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#29 of 38 Old 06-16-2013, 01:45 AM
 
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Do keep trying - at meetups or just chatting in the playground - sometimes it takes a really long time to find the person/people you feel comfortable with and hit it off with but they are out there.

 

The scenario you described sounds very familiar - I've joined loads of meetups over the years and some work out, some don't.  I too am always amazed at an organized meetup where people really don't make the effort to include new members and make them feel welcome.  Surely that's the whole point?  I've found different meetup groups even in the same area often have very different vibes and sometimes the ones I thought I would fit in better with didn't turn out to be right for me - it's all down to the individuals.  I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially in the playground situation; assume that they're shy/preoccupied/busy rather than cliquey/trying to exclude me, but there are certainly some situations where there's no excuse other than downright rudeness.  Don't take it personally though - it's not you it's them.  Keep trying; even try again after a bad experience, you may find the vibe of the next meet is better.  See if there's a "new to the area" group, or even maybe start one up yourself?  If everyone is new, then you are all in the same boat and the others are more likely to be open to being friendly.

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#30 of 38 Old 06-17-2013, 09:10 AM
 
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OP-as someone not actually especially introverted (although to be honest, I never get these definitions anyway), but married to an extreme (lovely) introvert, can I gently make a suggestion? Is it possible that the other mothers at the groups are also feeling shy, introverted, uncertain and that their behaviour, which seems to you as zombie-like, is actually just that-shyness, introversion, maybe tiredness? New motherhood-before kids are around five or so, actually, I'd say- does that to everyone really. Everyone feels very uncertain, everyone's identity has gone out of the window, no one is sure who they are. We're all struggling with little sleep, stress, often money or job worries, and it can be easier to retreat into our shells. And it does all change pretty fast too, friendship wise, anyway. You know, new parenthood is pretty like fresher's week or high school in some ways, no one is sure who they are and its easy to think people are way more confident than they are when all that is really going on is that some of us are way better actors than others. 

 

Also, having volunteered/worked with women with youngish kids, I'd say that a surprising number of these women who seem very confident-especially the group leaders, IME-will actually often be people who are very shy and need a role to "function". Maybe they even have some PND or similar. I think its pretty usual for people who feel unconfident and out of place to volunteer to run a group or an event, and that's not a criticism at all-its a good tactic IMO for integrating, and I know I've done it in situations where it would otherwise be much harder for me to be part of a group and get to know people. I guess, we're all human, is all I'm saying. I was going to say that none of us are really zombie parents, deep down but then I thought about how I probably was, once upon a time, three kids under 5 none of whom slept more than a few hours and with no car...I am sure I was spaced out and quite possibly a bit unfriendly quite often, even though, basically, I really like chatting to people I don't know. 

 

Its hard to be rebuffed by someone you thought liked you and knew you and I'm not trying to take away from that.

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Raising Geek_Generation_2.0 :LET ds= 10 ; LET dd1= ds - 2; LET dd2=dd-2; IF month=0.67 THEN LET ds = ds+1; 
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