Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Law of Making New Friends through a Playgroup

Ahh the trials and tribulations of finding a play-date group to not only fit your child(ren), but to fit you as well. As I have posted about this before, making friends as an adult, this is very hard to accomplish! This year, however, I learned it's really not at all. It just requires a little bit of effort... on YOUR part (your being the person in place of looking for friends, like myself).

Living in Central Phoenix, where it wasn't a family oriented suburb, but yet an urban city, there were no friends to find. So, to my excitement, when we relocated to a West-side Phoenix neighborhood I was THRILLED at the idea of updating my profile on, and finding a new "mommy" group, because at this stage it was for mommy more so than my three kids. And I did just that!

What I found was an amazing group, welcoming, friendly, kids in similar age, women in similar situations, work-o-holic husbands (so we could stay home), crazy kids, and not enough money for the necessary martinis to get us through. I found women who liked my company, as I did theirs. I felt accepted.

So, why is it I just now found a group I connected with? Is it really because I didn't connect with the groups I have joined in the past (shortly after having the twins)? I was home one night talking to my husband, and I told him I realized what it is! I'm older, my kids are older. I'm not a 23 year old new mom trying to fit in with 30 year old new, or experienced moms. However, for as much as I thought that had to be the reason, that's not it at all. The reason is, I had been so deprived of socialization, I jumped into this new group full force! I attended every single meet-up event, participated as much as possible, went on the message boards daily, found members on Facebook, added them, and commented on their comments. They were forced to love, and want me... they had no choice. I was in their face. (Luckily, I'm pretty easy to love, I think ;-) Come to find out this is what it's all about, being involved. Until you have been friends for a long time, you cannot go weeks, or months without seeing someone, and expect there to still be the same closeness when the relationship is so new. Not only that, but to "groups" specifically, you cannot join one not attend meet-ups, and expect to have the same closeness as the women who saw each other the day before, and the day before that, etc... I am not saying you must attend every single meet-up, or even be super active forever for that matter. I am, however, saying that you must attend several in the beginning to build that trust, and foundation among one another. The beginning being about the first 3 months from the time you join, and participate in my opinion, but I am no expert!

My theory is, forget about cliques, forget about not fitting in. We all have one big thing in common, we'll get along somehow, we're all mother's learning as we go. So, clique-shmique... no, but in order to feel connected, you MUST participate. I don't care how old you are, how many kids you have, whether you stay home, or work, whether you wear make-up or not, wear trendy clothing, or sweats and tees, if you do not see your new found friends on a regular basis, they cannot be your new found friends. It's just reality. (An additional reality is, you have to friendly, nice, non-judgmental, because if you're not than you have bigger problems that just finding friends.) You cannot be friends with people you do not spend time with. When you join a group, and feel left out, think about that, because the girls you may accuse of being "cliquey" just have more to talk about. They see each other on a regular basis, and conversations carry over to the next play-date. I can say this, because I've been on both sides of the fence.