February 7, 2012

FRIENDSHIP written by ANONYMOUS

I was contacted by someone who wanted to more or less spill her guts, but wanted to remain anonymous.  And I was more than happy to host her thoughts on my blog.

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I've always wanted a sister.  I figure the closest thing to a sister would be a best friend. You know, a BFF. Everyone's got one, right?  Not me.

For some reason I've always struggled in the friend department.  I've always had friends.  Friends as in a group of girls that I got along with and we did things together all throughout high school.  Friends in college that I always hung out with. But never a true BFF that I couldn't go more than a few hours without talking to, told everything to, or went on trips with.  Stuff like that.  I have friends from high school that I still get together with and it's like time hasn't passed and it's as fun as ever.  I have friends that I've met in the last few years that I hang out with and it's fun, but I'm still waiting for that BFF. Someone that won't make fun of me for being stupid, or will make fun of me for being stupid but still love me for it.  Like a sister would.  Someone that never gets sick of me and will call just to say hi and that they miss me.

My husband has 4 sisters.  When we were engaged I kept thinking how I couldn't wait until we were married because I'd automatically have four sisters!  People who would be my friends, that I would always hang out with. That's what sisters-in-law are for, right?  Not so much.  For whatever reason they never really took a liking to me. Here we are almost 11 years later, not to mention a total of 15 kids between us all and you'd think we'd all be closer.  I couldn't wait for my kids to have cousins to play with or for me to have a babysitter that I could always count on.  I figured since I was in the family that's the way it would work.  That's how they are with each other!  Their kids are always playing together, and they're always watching each others kids.  In the meantime, I'm always searching for someone to watch mine. For some reason, we're always left out.  


Our kids all go to the same school and my kids are always asking why so and so got to play at so and so's house and they didn't.  I hear about trips they've taken together, skiing weekends, or night out at the movies that they've done together that we're never invited to.  Then there's the field trips during the summer, days at the pool and picnics at the park.  I'm not asking to be invited to EVERYTHING but don't talk about it in front of me like it's not going to bother me.  

I could be to blame.  I'm not the most social person.  I might even come off as being unfriendly at times. But it's only because I'm so self-conscious that I don't dare say anything to anyone.  Ever.  I'm always wondering what someone is thinking of me while I'm standing there talking to them. What do they think of my hair?  My clothes?  My shoes?  My face?!  Heaven forbid I actually say something because then I'll have to worry about what they think of what I said!  But, despite those feelings, it's nice to be invited to things.  If not because they want to include me, but because they want to include my kids. Their neices and nephews, right?  It's one thing for the sisters to talk about things they're doing without me, but for them to sit and talk about things that their kids have done together when my kids haven't been involved really gets to me. 
     
So, my question is, what is it about me that has made it so I can't really seem to ever find a close friend? Am I too self-conscious?  Trying too hard?  What is it about someone that makes them BFF material?  I'm really starting to wonder what exactly I'm missing, or what I'm doing wrong.  I'm so over-anxious to have a true friend that I'm over analyzing my every word! 

     When you're married with kids, it's hard to find friends.  Or at least it is for me.  I'm always wondering if my husband will get along with her husband, will my kids get along with her kids, etc. I want to make sure that my friends don't take too much time away from my family, but a girl needs friends, doesn't she?  I know I should just be myself and not worry about what everyone thinks, but it's easier said than done.

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Thoughts?

19 comments:

  1. I have always kind of struggled in the friend department. I do have a BFF but she lives 4 hours away so we only catch up every month or so. I have one friend that has daughters the same age as mine and I look forward to our weekly coffee breaks during dance class. It's the only 'girl time' I get!

    It's too bad that your in laws aren't more inclusive but it seems like your kids really want to be included. Maybe try organizing something on your own and invite everyone? I know how it is to be self conscious but even if it's awkward for you, your kids will have fun and you can just enjoy them. I always have my camera with me so if it's really awkward just start snapping some photos to capture the memories!

    I feel for you because I know the spot your at. Try to let go of some of the insecurities and step outside your comfort zone. There's a BFF waiting for you!

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    1. Great advice, Kasey! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  2. Just let it go. It's their loss. Your husband is your BFF!

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    1. I don't think she should let it go. This is something that she really wants and is seeking advice. Besides, husbands can't fulfill all or our needs.

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  3. I have been thinking and keep coming back to this- I am not sure what kind of advice I can give- but I know exactly how you feel. I have never really had a BFF either. I do have sisters I talk to and a sister -in-law that I get along with, but I think that as we have grown up and changed our relationships have changed. I do have a sister in law that is very difficult for me to get along with. When she brings her family to visit or when we go visit her - I dread it- A LOT. I feel uncomfortable and don't know what to say(So that I don't feel "Stupid" or like a little child.) One thing I try and do is ask her about her, her kids, so that I am showing interest in her. I also try and have few other friends to do things with,even if they are not BFF's. Another thing is that I talk with my husband about it- what I should do or say to help the situation. And even if he isn't sure- it helps to talk about how you feel and that your husband knows how you feel. I think that it is important for cousins to get together and know each other- so like Kasey said- get everyone together somehow. Good Luck!

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    1. Thanks Becky for sharing your thoughts.

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  4. It sounds to me like you are over-thinking this, but I'm guessing you can't totally help it. I really think the only way to find the result you want is to put yourself out there. Take a chance. I'm sure there is another woman you may not know that well, but that also feels a little left out. If you start reaching out to people, you'll find that friend. It's hard, I know. Especially when all those doubts and worries start to fly. But you just have to let go and take a chance.

    As for the in-laws, I bet there's a bit of a misunderstanding going on. From the way you've described things, I'm wondering if maybe they don't invite you because they think you don't like them. I thought Kasey had a good idea. Try hosting something and inviting everyone.

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    1. I agree with you, Karen. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

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  5. Loving these comments. Keep them coming!

    And Karen...no misunderstanding...I've told them all how I felt and that I want nothing more than to be included! I know I need to just get over it...but they're FAMILY! There's no getting away from them...unless we move.

    But, I did just buy the book The Secret of Letting Go...so we'll see how that helps.

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    1. I'm glad you found a book that you think will help. Keep me updated!

      As for letting it go, perhaps the inlaws are a lost cause, at least for now, but for sure keep working on building friendships and finding someone you can trust completely.

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  6. Oh I can so relate to this. And even with "built in" friends, it's hard to feel included sometimes. But I agree with the idea of hosting something yourself. Bringing them into your comfort zone (even tho it may be a little out of it still) I know for me, when I am hosting, I am much more comfortable. It's my house. My things. Etc. Please come for lunch. The kids can play and have fun and we can too. Give it a theme even. Pinterest is a great place. Put something out that is a great conversation maker. I have a few of those and they work great! I am horrible with small talk but these gems are my life savers. They break the ice for me. Good luck!

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    1. It's always nice to know that people aren't alone in their feelings. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and giving your ideas.

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  7. My mother spent years trying to be best friends with my father's sisters only to have them treat her horribly. I too, tried really hard to get close to my husband's sisters to no avail. I would let the idea of being besties with your SILs go. Make friends elsewhere. Join a book club, or take a class in something you are really interested in. Try to find friends who have similar interests as you, trust me, it will be so much better than trying to BFFs with your husbands sisters. Also, don't be looking for a best friend straight out of the gate, deep friendships often grow out of more casual friendships.

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    1. It's very true that sometimes a best friend will develop slowly. You had a lot of great advice. Thanks for commenting!

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  8. It's interesting to me that so many of us feel this same way. Maybe that's a lesson in and of itself...we all have insecurities and we all need a friend. I've had the same feelings over the years, especially when it comes to the SIL department and I have hopefully moved away from it and found friends and interests elsewhere. I have hosted the family parties at my house (where I did everything, including keeping the kids entertained while they sit and talk with each other) and I have never said no when they have called and asked me to babysit. I have suppported their kids at their baptisms, baby blessings, and games. If they tell me about something they or their kids are invovled in, I am there. I've done the best I can to foster the friendships, but I have found more meaningful friendships outside of the family. I don't think they (the family) are 100% comfortable with me because I have a tendancy to speak my thoughts and feelings, which isn't always popular. Maybe I stir the pot, I don't know. I try to keep my mouth shut, put inevitably it comes out. I am who I am. I love them warts and all, and I would hope they could do the same. However, my best friend is my polar opposite. Running a lot of miles together helped build a solid base for our friendship, and because we are opposite in our interests we aren't threatened by each others successes.

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    1. Isn't it funny how people get so upset when we just are being honest or being ourselves? Family relationships are so much different than friendships.

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  9. Ah Karen! So nice to hear someone else has gone through the same thing...although I'm sure we're not alone. I'm the same way...always say I'm willing to babysit, we're always at their family parties, birthday parties, baptisms...etc. Our condo is too small to have everyone over so we never do, but of course we include them in everything we possibly can. We've done stuff at our church that they've all come to. I think everyone's right...I'm focusing too much on that when I need to be looking elsewhere. It's time to actually put myself out there...and so what if people don't like me, right?

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    1. Odds are, people will like you. :)

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  10. Wow, can I relate to this! The best friend I’ve ever had lives 12 hours away from me and has a completely different lifestyle than me now...so it’s gotten hard to stay close over the last few years. I think that the lifelong BFF is something we all thing we should have, but is actually very rarely found. (That doesn’t make not having one any easier, I know!)

    The only advice I could probably give is to talk to the sisters and say how your kids have mentioned that they’d like to spend more time with their kids. Then suggest a time for a play date or even say how much you’d like to go on a family vacation. I know it can be hard to feel excluded. Please also remember that it may not be intended; so try not to take it too hard.

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