Needing more from Friendships - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 109 Old 02-27-2003, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I find that at this point in my life, the friendships that I have worked so hard to foster the past 3 or 4 years are not supplying me with what I need. I find that I tend to be a better friend to others than they are to me, and I'm willing to let go of them, but I'm scared to do it. I remember how lonely I was before, and I recognize that I still am pretty lonely since my friends don't act how I need them to act, but I feel like something is better than nothing. Sometimes, I feel that way. But, more, I'm starting to feel like I'd rather be alone and friendless.

It's very frustrating, b/c I have issues with letting ppl down, and I feel like I'd be abandonning these ppl if I stopped dealing with them. It seems like they need me more than I need them. But, at the same time, I'm very frustrated with myself, b/c I feel like if I would just let them go, better ppl would come into my life. I feel like I'm sabotaging myself.

Anyone else dealing with this?
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#2 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 12:02 AM
 
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Yup, I'm basically alone and friendless. I can relate, but I don't have any advice for you.
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#3 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 12:08 AM
 
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Now why do you think I spend so much time on these boards?

When we moved here to GA, I left behind my 'soul-friend' (if there is such a thing). We literally still talk daily, but it is costing our husbands a mint. They are conniving on how to get us back in the same city.

I really think friendship comes in waves and many of us nurturing mommas have a tendency to give more than we get. It is the nature that also attracts those that take more than they give (not intentionally . . . well, not always intentionally).

If your friendship is a constant drain, I think releasing it will free you for the opportunity to meet others - or even to find a blissful peace in yourself for a short time.

I didn't realize how much fun I had with my husband until we moved to GA . . . he is my best friend, always has been, but now we 'hang' more.

I say RELEASE and that'll at least keep you from emptying a 'well' that isn't being filled right now.
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#4 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 12:59 AM
 
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I am in the exact same position. I don't really know what people expect of me. I give my all into my friendships but I seem to get nothing back. It's hard to let friendships go but if they were really your friends then you wouldn't be feeling this way. I don't really have any advise but hang in there.
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#5 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 01:39 AM
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CHAKA!!!!

I'm right here for ya sista!
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#6 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 03:17 AM
 
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heather, i love your take on "releasing" friendships to make space for something else!
chaka, i'm in the same boat. i think there's a whole bunch of us here, too.
my exp. is of friendships where i'm putting energy into them, but not getting what i'm hoping for back. i try to figure out what it *is* that i'm really craving in a friendship and that's tricky to pin down.
this has always been my dilemma, i think: i want a friend who is growing/has grown in ways i'm interested in growing, but a) it's hard to find someone similar when you're so far off the mainstream path, and b) if i did find her, i worry that it the friendship wouldn't be equal, would be off-balance in a teacher/student kind of way that i don't feel comfortable with, if that makes any sense...
as i type this out (and erase and retype) i'm coming to the rather surprising conclusion that *my* problem in finding friends is probably that i'm not confident enough to seek out the people i admire from afar and that leaves me at the mercy of whomever is attracted to my energy, which often is people who are not well grounded.
hmmm.
i'll have to think about that some more. i'm not too thrilled about it but it's probably true.
in general, though, it's very difficult to make new friends when you get past college. we had a discussion about this in my meditation group, which is led by my psychologist, who places a huge premium on the friends in her life and puts a lot of energy into maintaining those friendships. but as she points out, as life progresses, you have less and less time and energy to devote to existing friendships (with husbands, careers, children, self-care), much less make new friends. and we define ourselves more and more distinctly and precisely as we get older and tend to want to find people who are similar, which limits the pool, compared to when we were younger and more wide open in our personality.
sorry for the ramblyness,
interesting subject to consider, tho
peace,
susan
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#7 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Phenomenal women of MDC...

I find releasing ppl to be very emotionally difficult and draining for me. I know that's one of my (many ) issues that I need to work on, but I over-think and analyze things and I sooooo worry that ppl might take my feelings the wrong way. (still working on releasing my mother from my psyche!)

Of course, that's on a bad day. On a good day, I couldn't care less what ppl think of me. (w/friends, it gets a little more intense, but I think you know what I mean)

Well, I think at this point, I'm just going to let certain relationships dissipate. I'm not going to put anymore energy into them, but I won't avoid the women, either. I think this will have to be gradual for me, b/c although I'm good at confrontation, I don't like it.

I don't really have a problem approaching ppl I would like to connect with...it's just a matter of figuring out exactly why I want the connection, ykwim? Like, I have one "friend" who it seemed like we were on the same page spiritually and she seemed so politically active (a trait I admire). I remember her specifically telling me that if we were going to walk our spiritual path together (we're both new at it), then she couldn't tolerate flakiness on my behalf. Well, that was right up my alley! I don't like flaky ppl, either! But, now, it's turned out that she's so flaky, I don't want to bother with her. And, she's not near as open-minded and peaceful as I thought. So, now, I'm like...what happened? How'd I misread the signs?

I guess I should have known since we've known each other for about 3 years, and she's never kept in contact even though she claimed to really like me.

Oh, well. I've decided to devote my energies to attracting ppl that I can have deep, meaningful relationships with.

Good luck to all of us!
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#8 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 10:27 AM
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I have had my share of flakey friends over the years (seemed to be I had a flakey friend one or another for most of my life)

But I ditched the last flake about six years ago and haven't picked up another since (Perhaps something in me has changed to stop attracting them LOL)

But I don't have good solid soulmate friends.

I have some really nice friendly acquaintences.

What I *have* is my children and family.

Seriously, my good friends are my SIL, my daughter, my other daughter and her fiance (Seriously a great guy could be a friend if he wasn't my daughter's fiance) my other DD is a Marine and I miss her terribly.

There you go, my firstborn daughter is especially close (she's earthey-crunchey like me and we can argue about Iraq and still be extremely close (like, "why did you wear that french flag on your shirt" Because france is against the war. I can't stand the french, paint a german flag next time" and we move on to another subject)

I'm close to my 13YO as well. I'm also strangely close to my mom.

It's a nice thing about having a large family we're our own social circle
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#9 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 10:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by DebraBaker
It's a nice thing about having a large family we're our own social circle
This is exactly what I'm working on building with my kids. There are times when they are of a completely different opinion than me and my dh. It is over 'small' things like bed-times, privileges removed, etc . . . it becomes dinner time chat. I find that if my 6 year old can come up with a good argument against our choice, that my dh will let her 'win.' It used to frustrate me as I wanted us to be an authority that she respected until I realized that out in the world I didn't want her to take things at face value . . . so why should I train her to do that at home?

My family - immediate and extended are the loves of my life! I wish we lived in one big commune!
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#10 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 01:01 PM
 
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I have just been struggling with this myself these past few days.
Wondering why there is this pattern of best friends whom I get real close w/ and then move away (either me or them moving) to another state.
The last one I opened up to, who was my soul sister, just trashed my heart all to hell in December. Now I am scared to get too close to anyone.
I, too want to attract a solid soul sister.
I've asked if there is something in my psyche/emotional makeup that is preventing from such a friendship forming.
I am sick of the flakes and drainos.
I want someone who can lift me up and cry with me. Long talks over tea, has kids that my dd can play with, has same morals and values as me....
I think if we can be specific in our search, then the universe will send one our way.
My dh is my best friend, but he just doesn't compare to a female best friend. He cannot comiserate about being a sahm, bf, pms, etc, etc.

btw, Chaka, when you moving here?

Alayne
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#11 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 03:13 PM
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but I over-think and analyze things and I sooooo worry that ppl might take my feelings the wrong way.
This is me. I can't just let something go, I have to approach it from every angle, flip it over, turn it inside out, and eventually wear myself down worrying about it- so tiring.


I have been 'friends' with a woman for 27 years. I was so proud of that number, but really it didn't mean anything. We have grown so far apart, and I haven't spoken to her sincee Christmas, and even that was strained. I have always been the backbone of the relationship. When we were teens she would come to our house when things got rough with her stepmom at home. When she wanted to get away from her husband, she would come to my house. When she wanted to CHEAT on her husband, she came to my parking lot- and of course I never told anyone. But these things didn't bother me at the time because she was my 'best' friend.

But when I was down, or in need- where was she?

When I moved to NC, I kept up emails, letters, and expensive phone calls. She has never written, and never called. So now the phone calls from me are few and far between. I don't write anymore and I do not send her emails or updates on Kailey. During our last call she commented on how she hadn't heard from me for such a long time :

Anyway, I just wanted you to know I understand...


BTW, it's so hard to find and make friends now. At first I think that there is a connection, then once I get to know them, they aren't what they seem. I don't think I have misjudged anyone, because there is always more to a person than what your first impression tells you
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#12 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 07:26 PM
 
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e
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#13 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 07:37 PM
 
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Vesta, you touched on something I've noticed myself - the junior high mentality. I've even used this description to my husband. I am a mother, yes. However, I do still enjoy intelligent conversation, it just might be tailored around my current situation (recently: natural birth, midwives -v- OBs, vaccinations, circumcisions, needless medical intervention) or with my older ones (giving 'room' for them to act as thinking children without giving so much room they have no 'reign,' so to speak and things of that nature). My husband is military and we talk through issues of the war and how it would impact our family, the children's lives, possibly being separated again.

However, most moms I encounter talk about hair appt.s, the latest clothing sale, that they got a Tommy shirt for their son at 1/2 off (and it still cost 3x what I would pay), how fat they are when they are skinny as all get-out, and other things that are of no interest to me.

My soul friend and I weep together, rejoice together, share in the concerns and prayers for each other's children, share spiritual battles and personal concerns. When I moved here my heart broke - it was a bit much to take.

I realize that I don't allow others in my heart here. I don't want to waste the time b/c it does take so much TIME and I've yet to even spot a momma that seems vaguely interesting.

Sometimes I think I'm a friend snob - anyone else feel like that?
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#14 of 109 Old 02-28-2003, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, gawd, Heather, yes! I am a friend snob! That's why I let my guard down a few years back (I thought something was wrong w/me since I wasn't making friends easily or often), and now I've got all this friendship residue all over me. Ugh! I should trust my intuition about ppl, but sometime I doubt myself and think Just give her a chance. And, then, I get severely disappointed.

I guess I'm not so much a snob as I am right about ppl.

I understand about the junior-high mentalities. I want to talk about important, serious stuff with a little fluff thrown in, not clothes, cars, or mall prices. I don't care how much credit card debt you have or how you had to refinance your house in order to send Josie to the "better" preschool. Let's discuss breastfeeding and co-sleeping and politics and our sex lives.

I have one friend where it seems like we always end up discussing more serious topics when we talk. She always thanks me for discussing these things with her when we're getting off the phone. I'm like You're welcome, but I'm not into chit chat so I don't know what you thought we'd talk about. She cracks me up!

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#15 of 109 Old 03-01-2003, 12:20 AM
 
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I can relate to so much of what you all have written.
I am in a place in my life where I don't want to waste time with shallow friendships. I have had my share of draining friends. I have been the one that held the friendships together, and oh how old that got.
Right now my only female friends are my sister and my mother and those relationships aren't w/o their own set of problems.
I really want to find a deep friendship with a mother who shares many of my beliefs about pareting, politics etc..
I have a very hard time making friends , for one I am very shy and I guess I am a friend snob as well.
I do not come across any mothers here where I live that have veiws compatable with mine.
I also don't want to sit around talking about hair or clothes, those aren't very important to me.
I want a friend that will lift me up and I can learn from and I will do the same for her.
I do not want to have deal with any catty , competition or jealousy shit either.
This is what I do want in a friend someone who
breastfeeds, extended
does not circumcise
homeschools, would be a real plus
doesn't vaccinate
down to earth, not matrialistic
who like to discuss the government, health care , etc and not freak about my veiws
pro-choice
has natural childbirth and if she has or plans on a UC even better
shares similiar spiritual beliefs (which would be Atheist with a spiritual twist)
is kind
funny
and on and on, I'm not picky am I.

So if their are any mothers fitting my discription for a friend that live in G'vlle, SC email me.

OUR DAUGHTERS ARE PROTECTED SHOULDN'T OUR SONS BE TOO! :
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#16 of 109 Old 03-01-2003, 12:34 AM
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Now I am concocting a plan to bring likeminded moms together(in their respective areas). We have the penpal thing, but that is more long distance....

Hrm....
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#17 of 109 Old 03-01-2003, 12:44 AM
 
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Greenville, SC, eh?
We are in Augusta, GA.

But you got me on the Atheist issue . . . I'm Christian. That said, my best friend in college was Atheist and it didn't seem to affect our relationship. Hmmmm .. . I wish she and I hadn't lost touch, she introduced me to Indian food at a little Taj Mahal dive in Houston, TX.
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#18 of 109 Old 03-01-2003, 01:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chaka Falls
Phenomenal women of MDC...


Well, I think at this point, I'm just going to let certain relationships dissipate. I'm not going to put anymore energy into them, but I won't avoid the women, either. I think this will have to be gradual for me, b/c although I'm good at confrontation, I don't like it.


You ladies are SO singin' my tune! I realized a few years ago that I've always been the one to pour heart and soul into the friendships in my life and that in oh- 9/10's of them there was little reprocicity (did I spell that right?). After my kids came along I just stopped putting the effort forth for anyone who wasn't mutually supportive and it was a nice painless way to jettison a lot of non-nurturing friendships. There was one person I had to write a letter to to tell her I wouldn't be seeing her anymore- we'd been close but she was very much a person who took way more than she gave and I just didn't have the energy to give after becoming a mother. It hurt her feelings, it was hard to do- I second-guessed myself for months afterward (could I have worked a little harder to salvage the relationship?) but in retrospect it was a good move to make.

Now when I start getting close to someone I sometimes take a step back to see if they'll take up the slack when I can't- it saves a lot of time to learn early on who can be there for you and who can't. ha.

One thing, though- I think people generally do the best they can in relationships and a lot of people just don't have all that much to give. I'm glad I'm getting better at spotting those people (I think: ) and just keeping it casual with them. Sometimes Friendship Lite is just about the right speed.

Lory (sorry for the end-of-term-meta-babble)
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#19 of 109 Old 03-01-2003, 02:17 AM
 
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#20 of 109 Old 03-01-2003, 03:07 AM
 
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I was just thinking about this today.. thank you for this thread Chaka.

I guess I am still analyzing my thoughts, though.

I think I need and want more from relationships in general.. more out of my expiriences on earth. Am I crazy? Are my expectations just completely outrageous?

I haven't had a close friend, the sort of person you can pour your heart out to, since high school, maybe college. I didn't keep up with those friendships.. I should have, but one thing or another got in the way. Distance, responsibilities, family, careers.

I recently saw my best friend from high school. She lives 40 miles away, though. We really grew apart, because she got to be something of a religious zealot along with her growing responsibilites that came with her growing family. She seems sweet now and I'd like to talk with her again, but do not really want to have her trying to 'save me' all the time again. She just isn't very open minded. The sort of person who is always right.. no room for debate with her. Her beliefs about everything are infallible in her mind..

Is there something wrong with me? I know I have moved several times. I live 30 miles from where I work. Even then, the people I end up working with under my supervision.. not in an equal position with me. Makes it tough to be close friends with them.

Where do you meet people to become friends with anyways?

I so crave people in my life to enhance it, to expirience life with. People to grow and learn with. People who want to enjoy living and pay attention to the important stuff. People who also enjoy occasionaly goofing off and just plain silliness. People who aren't going to get all wrapped up and obsessed in just one thing. There's just so much out there. Religious and political differences aren't all that important to me. I like to discuss things in an open minded way. Having a friend with similar views and beliefs would be alright, too.

Sometimes I just feel like no one really understands me.. like no one really gets it. Not even my Dh.. I am pretty sure he thinks I am insane by now I'm not exactly sure what he wants out of life right now, but it seems like he's content with the old day to day mundane existing thing... There's got to be more out there, I hope.

Karen Mommy of McKenna 2003 & Alysson 2004 homebirth.jpg Expecting stork-girl.gif an early Christmas Present
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#21 of 109 Old 03-01-2003, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lea, I get you!

I feel the same way about my dh not getting me. He gets me the most out of everyone else, tho.

A problem I have is that I might meet moms who seem like we could really get along and stuff, but they always claim to be "so busy". I know this one mom who really is cool (she even attends the UU church I used to visit, so we wouldn't clash religiously, I don't think), but she is so hand's-on with her kids. She has to have a couple hours of "table time" (that's what she calls it) every day and is very, very involved with crafts and her kids. Now, we do crafts and play around here, but I'm not anal about it. So, I just feel like she wouldn't have the time to involve herself with me (we share a friend who feels annoyed and stressed out alot by dealing with her, too).

So, while she is so cool and craftsy (I really dig this lady), I think trying to befriend her would be hazardous to my mental health. But, if she'd just loosen up...that's what I tell myself.

I really should stop looking for friends. It's tiring.
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#22 of 109 Old 03-02-2003, 12:23 AM
 
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WOW - I had no idea that I was one among so many.

I haven't had a good friend for 6 or 7 years now........ I mostly just have the people I work with and then DH.

My sister would be PERFECT - and we do talk alot - but she lives 15,000 miles away....... in Africa.

Oh well....... it would be nice to have a good buddy.

Chelly
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#23 of 109 Old 03-02-2003, 01:56 PM
 
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Im right here with you guys too! I guess Im a friend snob, but only b/c Im a great friend to have. Im reliable, always there, a good listener, non judgemental.....I would do anything for you. I dont think thats alot to ask of a friend. I have friends like that in the state I moved from 5 years ago, friends I had for the past 20years that are like sisters, maybe closer. I can pick up the phone and talk like it was yesterday. I miss them so much, sometimes it makes me cry, my heart aches for them.

I had a bad experience when I first moved here with a friend. We were pregnant together, had are dds 2 weeks apart, then it seemed her true colors started coming through. THe competiveness, the gossip, the hurtful things she would say to push me away. I finally ended it by not returning her phone calls. I havent seen her since and its been over a year. I realised that I was so desparate for a friend, that I couldnt see her for who she was, not my friend.

Ive met other moms since, started a moms group, and still havent met my soul sister. Though there are a few good candidates. I think its cos ive been burned......maybe Im looking for this ideal....... maybe I just think I deserve what Im looking for in a friend. I thought having a child would make it easier to make connections with women, but I think it makes it harder. THere are so many dealbreakers now. So many differences that are hard to overlook, the big ones anyways. Alot of flaky people......thats so hard for me to deal with!

But we must be on the right track. Im not giving up yet!
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#24 of 109 Old 03-02-2003, 03:15 PM
 
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Wow-this is a potent topic. And I am right there with you--i actually posted about this a few weeks ago, confused about how to make new friends.

I had some good friends in school, (grad) but then they just drifted away. I called them at least once a week, or emailed, trying to set up dates to get together (this was before I was pregnant) and at the last minute they were always "too busy".

About a year ago, I told my friends that I need more from them. I explained to each of them that "I expect my friends to call once in a while, even if you're busy, to say hi, or how's life" and they all seemed to understand completely, but only ONE has followed through. She calls, returns my calls, comes to my get-togethers...

I have made some new mommy-friends, but they are new friends so you can't talk about everything with them. Don't people realize how hard it is to make new friends, and how long it takes to really get to know someone==it really is WORTH maintaining existing friendships.

I too feel like I try with my friends, more than they try with me. And I get really resentful about it. How hard is it to pick up a phone? I think EFFORT needs to be made by people to maintain friendships. I tell people, you know how you make an effort with your boyfriend or SO? YOu call, you buy them things, you worry about them, etc. Well, I think a similar effort needs to be made on behalf of your friends.

Sigh. Don't people realize how precious good friendships can be?
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#25 of 109 Old 03-02-2003, 03:38 PM
 
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What I have a problem with is "friends" who spend the entire conversation bit*hing about their immature husband, debt, in-laws who walk all over them, out of control kids, etc. but do nothing about these issues.

I was a bit*cher too, in my late teens and all throughout my 20s--I read somewhere that complaining is actually a bonding ritual when you're in your 20s and learning who you are--but I'm almost 33 and have a great marriage and 2 small kids now. I may not know who I am yet but I know I'm tired of "friends" who use me as a sounding board, get me VERY worried about their supposed marital crises, and then do NOTHING to change their bad situations, leaving me with an aching stomach.

I have a *really* good marriage, and DH is an outstanding, mature partner in parenting. When friends tell me about their husbands who don't *ever* watch the kids/go away for weekends with the buddies/have extramarital affairs/demand control over every penny in the house/scream at the kids for no reason/spank the kids/let the in-laws criticize them in front of family/themselves criticize their wife in front of the family--and so on, I try to offer ideas and suggestions--gently--for them to change things.

What I've come to realize is that these folks don't *want* to change. And so I need to move on.

The sad part is, I've just described about 90% of the mothers I've met in this area! Grrr.....

And all I hear is how *lucky* I am to have found DH, how *lucky* we are we don't have a lot of debt, how *lucky* we are to live near MIL who helps, how *lucky* we are to have a child who listens most of the time and who eats food other than mac&cheese, PB&J, and chicken nuggets. Um, no, we aren't *lucky*. We've made conscious choices that resulted in positive life outcomes. Why can't people understand that their actions have consequences?

Oh, off the soapbox. Good topic!

Mel
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#26 of 109 Old 03-02-2003, 03:48 PM
 
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I agree. I think I did the same thing in my 20s too. I seemed like a magnet for women in abusive relationships. Thing is, their toxity leaks everywhere on the relationship. I finally caught on that is was a one way friendship with me doing all the work.

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#27 of 109 Old 03-02-2003, 05:14 PM
 
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I feel that bitching with friends is a good thing (but I am in my 20's) but it can get to be too much when that's all you do. When I complain about my husband or spiritied child I actually would like to hear how someone over came the same things, but sometimes it does make things better just to get them off your chest.
We are poor and seeing that my husband just lost his job our money woes will probably get a little worse before they get better.
I don't have an issue with having friends that are better off money wise but I can see where if you let it , it could cause tension. I admit it is hard to struggle really bad and then have friends talking about all the new stuff they have bought etc.. but then again why shouldn't my friend be able to talk about it with me.
I have found that women really knock each other down a lot. There is a lot of competition among women. I do not want to be a part of that at all.

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#28 of 109 Old 03-02-2003, 06:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by gurumama
And all I hear is how *lucky* I am to have found DH, how *lucky* we are we don't have a lot of debt, how *lucky* we are to live near MIL who helps, how *lucky* we are to have a child who listens most of the time and who eats food other than mac&cheese, PB&J, and chicken nuggets. Um, no, we aren't *lucky*. We've made conscious choices that resulted in positive life outcomes. Why can't people understand that their actions have consequences?

Oh, off the soapbox. Good topic!

Mel
Yep, I hear all of that too! I bet a lot of mommas here can nod on that one! Luck doesn't play much into happiness - good choices have so much to do with peace and joy in life. IMHO
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#29 of 109 Old 03-02-2003, 08:50 PM
 
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I second that!
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#30 of 109 Old 03-02-2003, 10:16 PM
 
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I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I agree that a lot of life choices after adulthood determine where you are in life and how happy or finacially stable you are. I do find it to be simplistic.
Not everyone started off with the same advantages. I actually do think "luck" plays a part.
Not being in debt , now that is becasue of good choices!! Having a great MIL, I'd say that is lucky. Being born into a family that is loving and supporitive I'd have to say that is luck a well. Which a good foundation in life goes a long way, not everyone has that.
So there are some things that most definitly are a result of choices you have made and then there are things that aren't.
Just like I have worked damn hard to be who I am today with a lot of struggle, I'm still struggling. Looking in from the outside you might say well this is wrong in her life because this and this choice etc. but you wouldn't have the whole picture at all. I can be pretty safe saying I have in my adult life worked as hard as a lot of people and I have made some very good choices but I am still poor and I am still struggling to over come the massive hurdles in my life, and a lot of them were not put there by me.
I take responsibility for the mistakes I have made in life but I will not pretend I didn't have disadvantages to begin with.
That said I feel everyone should be damn proud of what they have accomplished but just keep in mind that everyone isn't starting off at the same "level" Someone that seems to not have accomplished much might have in many ways accomplished more than you can know. Sometimes you don't have anything to show for it, it's all on the inside.

OUR DAUGHTERS ARE PROTECTED SHOULDN'T OUR SONS BE TOO! :
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