How to Make Friends

I love this post from Jezebel, about how to make friends when you are old.

As someone who is under 37 (OK, I am 37), who has lived in four countries, ten cities and too many new houses to mention, I know a thing or two about making new acquaintances.  When I moved to Brooklyn for my husband’s job and with a visa that wouldn’t let me work, it was soundly up to me to make a home. And that meant making friends.

Falling pregnant in the second week you are in your new city helps. Yes, there is the awful morning sickness, the homing-pigeon hormones that have you weeping for your childhood bed and the sobriety but having a baby is one hell of a way to meet people. Pre-natal yoga, hospital waiting rooms, birthing classes are all excellent places to meet kindred spirits. It’s not like you can’t spot someone in the same situation as you either.

However, making friends when you are pregnant can be very odd too. Bonding over leaking breasts gives a a false feeling of intimacy  You’ll find yourself in situations where you’ll know if someone has a family history of postnatal incontinence or hemorrhoids before you know if they have any siblings. Or before you’ve even had a chance to snoop around their bathroom cabinet during a coffee morning.

Once the baby is born, if you meet a new friend in the supermarket queue for example, there is a danger of unintentional over-sharing because you are so damned happy to be talking to an adult for the first time in eight hours. Like the time I told a woman that I used to fake a squint as a child for attention. It’s not just me and my social Tourette’s. Total strangers have asked if I’m planning a vaginal birth or not. Sir, the stretchability of my cervix is none of your business!

Mommy ‘meet up’ groups should be treated with caution too. They are OK  for the first six weeks when frankly you are so high on hormones and delirious with lack of sleep that you could talk to a lamppost if it stood next to a cushioned seat that won’t irritate your suppurating C-section wound. But after that, it won’t take you long to consider ditching the group. And this is to be advised, least you go mad with the ‘Mommyness’ of it all.

I’ve sat through lunches where one Perrier-sipping woman said that she didn’t watch TV or check her Blackberry while she was breastfeeding least the baby feel she wasn’t totally present. I took a slug of my lager shandy and mumbled something about a mother’s sanity being the most vital element in child raising.

And, stay away from Mommy websites too. They may be good for snapping up a second-hand Bugaboo but they do breed a certain type of parent that has way too much time on their hands. One recent post by a local mom asked how other mothers were dealing with the ‘hair pulling phase’. She stated that her eight month old baby was yanking her hair really hard but she didn’t want to stop him least it limit the baby’s sense of adventures and curiosity.

Because they wouldn’t be able to see me rolling my eyes, I cancelled my membership. (That will teach them; though if anyone knows of anyone who is flogging a second-hand umbrella stroller, do let me know.)

Now my baby is nearly nine months, I can say I have four good local mum friends. One is my neighbour, two I met in the same birthing class and one I met randomly in Gorilla Coffee. That’s plenty for me.


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