A while back, my friend group dissipated. I remember writing about it a little bit here. There was a lot of pain for me while experiencing that loss.
I lost my confidence along with my friends, wondering – in the absence of an actual, complete explanation from the lost friends – what fundamental personality flaw I had that had caused the end of multiple friendships simultaneously, and if that flaw would strike again and ruin any new friendships I tried to create.
On top of being a new mom, which is lonely, painful, and confusing all on its own, I was lonely, hurt and confused because several of my most important friendships had ended.
It was rough.
Time passed, and I got tired of feeling so isolated. I finally decided I had to try to make new friends. To shove aside my insecurity and anxiety about the same thing happening again, and seek friendship.
So I joined a facebook group for working moms, which sprouted into a mama’s night out group. I joined the shoot-off, and decided to attend the first meeting.
I was terrified, but also desperate enough to be brave. I thought to myself, “If I can just find one friend, I’ll be ok.”
I was so scared of not being liked that at first I was a toned-down version of myself – unsure how much to reveal, how “me” I could be without ruining friendships before they started. Toned-down me wasn’t rejected immediately, so as the meet-ups continued, the real me started to seep through more and more.
I found that one friend at the first meet-up, and she and I have never looked back. But, much to my surprise, it didn’t stop there! The mama’s night out group sprouted into a bunco group, which sprouted into a book club. And all three groups have brought new, wonderful friends into my life!
I don’t have the same confidence in myself and my friendships that I once had. I will often leave a social engagement with my new friends and dissect everything I said and wonder if I have blown it forever, if I dominated the conversation too much, didn’t listen enough, was too over-the-top, was insensitive. I frequently wonder if people wish I didn’t attend, and rejoice when I RSVP “no” to the next event.
I wish I could turn that part off, but even with that anxiety in tow, I feel connected to these women. I now have a minimum of two events with friends each month, plus a few friends whose husbands and kids get along with my husband and kids. I feel like I have a support system and social outlet outside of family again!
These new friends are who I needed in this phase of my life. The friendships may be new, but they’re powerful. The grief and pain I felt from losing my old friends is weak now, and I don’t often think about it anymore. That loss left its mark, but I think I needed exactly these women at exactly this time. We laugh, we cry, we open up, we dance, we sing, we lose at trivia (badly), we care for each other, we accept each other. It’s a pretty special thing.
I wouldn’t have sought these people out if I hadn’t lost my group of friends. So, in a way, I’m pretty grateful that happened. These women are worth it.