I was never great at making friends. I always needed a lot of time to recharge – and don’t even get started on my social anxiety when it came to a group of women. But then I saw those two pink lines and was instantly excited to have a friend I didn’t need to search out or impress (in the hopes my baby would like me for me; they usually do, right?!). I could tell her everything and not be completely alone.
What a lie.
Don’t get me wrong; I love my built-in bestie and enjoy the quiet we can sit in together. Any other introverted quality time gals here?! I also had my other friends, but most were long-distance and either with older or no children. Those friendships I had spent years building and I truly valued them. However, there was something more I needed.
Motherhood is an isolating place; add in that ugly sprinkle of the rapid hormone changes of postpartum or the clock that never slows down, and finding and keeping mom friends seems impossible. Yet, those relationships are vital to our sanity!
Which is why I decided to hack it.
Amidst my postpartum panic attacks, I forced myself to fake friendships until I made some real ones, and it’s working. If you’re ready to fake friendship, try out these tips.
Be a creeper
When I found out I was pregnant, I joined all the mom groups on Facebook. As someone hesitant to make the first step or boldly post looking for friends, I just sat back and read the posts and comments. Taking the time to be a creeper gave me the courage to start commenting, making connections, and eventually start attending a mom group.
Put on your big girl pants and go
Once I saw a few advertisements for the mom group, I finally worked up the courage to go. This first week was great. They were so kind and inviting.
Fast forward to the next get-together. I was running behind, and feeling that chest tightness of a panic attack coming on. If I’m being vulnerable here, I was stomping around the house, reliving the terrible twos, tears streaming down my face smearing the mascara I was actively putting on until my husband pushed me out the door.
Even though I was a little quieter that week, just going and putting my face in front of my new friends was another step closer to connection.
Make it Facebook official
We were so quick to add people in middle and high school, so why is it daunting now? I’ve had those moments where I sit and contemplate even just the friend request. But the social media add is a great way to learn more and find commonalities.
Your words have value
I used to despise commenting on people’s posts. I felt my comment was annoying, or maybe they didn’t want to hear from me. Now that you’re friends, just comment! Think about how you feel when someone replies to your picture or question, and be the friend who does the same. Continue commenting so they can see you value the relationship. Encouragement goes a long way in friendships.
Do what you don’t want to do
Talk to the mom at the park. Join the fitness class. Text your new friend. Ask for advice. You desire friendship just as much as everyone else. The more you do the hard things, the easier they get.
Don’t trust your feelings; they’re lying
As moms and introverts, it’s so easy to get stuck in our heads and let negative thoughts take over. “Oh, she was just being nice.” “They definitely talked bad about me when I walked away.”
You’re not the only one with those thoughts. I have them too. I bet the moms you just talked to do as well. Believe the best in your new friendships, and don’t allow intrusive thoughts to win and keep you from forming new connections.
Know your limits
If you are an introverted mom like myself, it’s likely you only have so much to give each day. So be patient as you navigate making friends. Push yourself and don’t give in, but know the limit. Having a limit may also make it easier.
When I started going to groups, I loved having an end time, so I knew I only had to go so far. If you’re enjoying yourself, you can always add time and energy, but start small and ease in.
You deserve to have friendships in motherhood, with people walking through the same moments as you. And those people deserve to have you. Put these things into practice, and you won’t have to fake your friendships much longer.