Wednesday, August 4, 2010

That was short, wasn't it?

Did ya miss me? Of course not, I didn't go anywhere. I planned to but then changed my mind. Let me explain.

My birthday is coming. (16 days!) I like my birthday. I don't stress about getting older and love having a day that is all about me.

So this year I decided I would have a BBQ for my birthday. I joked with my mom that I was going to throw myself a birthday party on behalf of Sean. I invited all my family, all of Sean's, my bff and some new friends.

I've never had a large social circle. I've always had a lot of acquaintances but my real 'friends' have been limited to only a couple. My bff has been that since we were in high school. Usually I'm okay with that, I am shy, I don't do well in crowds and tend to push people away, but every now and then it bothers me.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I was getting RSVP's to my BBQ. My brother and SIL are coming. My bff and her partner are coming. My brother in law is coming. But everyone else....not coming.

Now in all honesty, I'm not surprised. Some of them I truly didn't expect to come. But I invited them because I am making a concerted effort to build new friendships with some people. It's hard for me to do. Really hard. Others I didn't expect to come because, frankly, it's the MO. They rarely come to events or they say they'll come and then back out last minute. The only one who's not coming who I thought would is my brother and SIL but they have a genuine reason. It's not just a dodge.

And I guess that's the thing. I remember when my mom thought of throwing me a baby shower when I was pg with Connor. (regardless of individual opinion on showers for 2nd and 3rd children, it's the norm here to have a shower for every pregnancy) My mom asked who I would have her invite. I didn't want a shower, not because I didn't think it was right to have a shower for the third child but because I have no friends. Seriously.

My social circle is my family. My SIL's are my girl talk. And since we don't really do anything together (we all have children and jobs) outside of family functions. I talk more with one of my brothers than with even my bff. I do have my bff but our lives are on very different paths. She's single(ish). She's got no kids. She's got a large social circle. We still email regularly and we make an effort to get together once a month which, don't get me wrong, I love, but I just wish it was more. I had another friend once, a few years ago but she moved several hours away and we've just lost touch. I miss her.

So yesterday my mom said to me "So who do you want invited to your birthday party?" I laughed and said, "Well, I've already invited anyone who's going to come. I mean after all, it's only family. I have no friends" She said "Yes you do!" I said "Really? Who? I mean besides (bff) what friends do I have? I don't work. Most people are friends with either people they went to school with (I didn't make friends in college and my bff was my bff in high school) or people they work with (I've worked from home for the past 7 years) You need to have something in common with people to build friendships. I'm working on building a friendship with some people who have kids Connor's age but that's not going as well as I'd hoped. The other women I know who have kids Connor's age are from FF. Great but since they all live....well, everywhere but here....that limits friendship to online.

So I had a bad day yesterday. I felt sorry for myself. I decided that maybe if I put my focus on what's going on around me I'd make more friends. But here's the rub. This is my life. It's always been my life. I have a small social circle and I always have. And it's no good for me to whine and complain about how small it is because chances are, it's not going to get bigger. So rather than feeling sorry for myself I can continue on, be happy for the friends (the true friends) that I have and the rest....well they can bite me. Much like one purges their FB friends list I'm purging my 'real life' friends list. Not hard really, since there is only one and I've got no plans to purge myself of her. I'm sure I'm still going to be envious of others who have wider circles of friends, who can go on girls weekends or have big parties....but in the end, even if I had that I suspect I wouldn't be happy. Because I don't do well in crowds and I tend to keep people at arms length. I want to be sociable but I'm afraid to be.

Yesterday I started to worry. Maybe I'm becoming one of those weirdo's who has a million billion friends....but they are all online and no real, live, in the flesh friends. But I do. I have my family...who I know will always have my back. I have my bff, who's stuck with me through thick and thin for 23 years no (okay A: shocking that I'm old enough to have had a friend for 23 years and B: even more shocking when I say that she and I actually met 28 years ago) Sure, I'd love to have a couple of more friends, preferably with kids the same age as mine but sometimes that's not how life works. You play the hand you're dealt and this is mine.

And yes, I have a million billion friends and yes, they are online. And don't get me wrong, I am grateful to have them because sometimes you just need someone to talk to, even if they are not in the flesh. And I know that for a few of them, if we lived closer together we'd probably be great 'in the flesh' friends.

So, we'll go on with the status quo. I'm done feeling sorry for myself. As with most things in life it's not about the quantity, it's the quality. I may not have a lot of friends but the ones who really, truly are my friends are the greatest and worth their weight in gold. And that is really all that matters. So on couple of weeks I'll have my birthday bbq and it will be small and quiet and that's okay with me because the people who really matter will be here.


  1. Ok, this one made be laugh and cry. I relate all to well! Really jean, you sound just like me (so sorry).

  2. Well, just so you know, if you lived here you would have been invited. We could have celebrated both of our birthdays just like we did the summer you were up!

  3. And I'd be there--we'd have a blast!