It occurred to me today that I’m not a good friend.
I get very self centred and find it all too easy to focus on the things that are going wrong in my life. When I was working full time, pregnant, and often caring solo for the Sprog when Mr Moi travelled every week, it was all ‘woe is me’.
Now I have two kids and find some things more difficult and some easier. But since becoming Harrie’s mum, I’ve more than doubled my friends in Darwin (and I haven’t made that many friends – I just had very few to begin with).
Today I was at the park with one of my friends (someone I met initially through work, where we discovered we had mutual friends in Melbourne) who recently had a baby. She was chatting with another girl there, saying that she’d found it difficult to meet friends in Darwin (incidentally, she moved to Darwin a year after I did).
I looked at her in shock and commented that she had so many friends (because she does – a wonderful bunch of friends who I’ve met on occasion) and she said, “Yes, but it was really hard work”.
And I’ve been thinking about that statement since. See, there’s a couple of things at play here. I’m not lacking in confidence. I’m not in your face, either, but I can socialise with people, I enjoy conversations and learning things from these conversations, and even though I don’t love being front and centre in public speaking type situations, I’ll do it if I have to.
But I don’t think I’m a terribly interesting person, especially in recent years. So when I meet someone I like who I’m sure I could be great friends with, I lack the confidence to be a bit pushy about getting them into my life. I always manage to talk myself out of inviting people over for dinner (or morning tea, being on maternity leave) or arranging to go out for lunch- I think, essentially, because I don’t think I have that much to bring to the table as a friend. I’m lacking in a strong ‘friend currency’.
I’m not sure when this started, but it’s certainly amplified since I’ve become a parent. Especially where potential friends who have no children are concerned.
And now I look back on the friends I DO have in Darwin and I realise that I’m hard work for them. It’s usually my friends who organise an outing, asking me to come along, rarely me as the initiator.
Saturday nights used to roll around and the Mr and I would discuss what we could possibly do – we never stayed in. Now Saturday nights roll around and there’s nothing to differentiate it from any other day. I never thought I’d be like this – I always had a joie de vivre, but as a new mum arriving in Darwin and finding it hard to meet people, I entered a funk and in some ways I still haven’t gotten out of it.
I’ve become a person I never thought I would – part of that is what being a parent is about. But part of it is me being lazy and dejected. There’s no real conclusion to this ramble, except that now I realise what a drip I’ve been, I guess it’s time to rouse myself out of it. Any suggestions?