Not a great friend am I

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?


17 thoughts on “Not a great friend am I

  1. You need to arrange a morning tea or coffee date! I understand where you are coming from I have been in both sides of this equation. It is hard to be the bad friend & it is also hard to be the organising friend.

    1. Thanks Sara. I’ve met some really nice mums through the mums group that I have more in common with than just a baby, if you know what I mean. But I’m yet to have the nerve to move beyond the ‘group morning tea’ and invite someone out one on one. Or invite them over for dinner with their husbands… it’s like there’s a line that I’m too afraid to cross. Seems silly doesn’t it?!

  2. Pffft. While this post was wonderfully written, it’s bollocks, Brookey. I disagree – you’re a lovely friend – and one I’m very grateful to have in my life!

    1. Nope nope – I thought back on it and you’re always organising us to go out, not vice versa. It’s horrible of my. The older Frankie got the more stuck in my selfish ways I got, as opposed to the more freedom I always thought I’d give myself!

  3. Isn’t it funny how we view ourselves, because I have always thought of you as so interesting and knowledgeable and with so much worldliness and culture, and that most people would be trying to impress you to get noticed, and yet you feel the opposite! Take a chance and have a dinner party or something, I am sure any of those darwinists would be thrilled to indulge in an evening with you and the mr with the amazing food that coming from your kitchen and the witty conversation, do it!!!

    1. Meggsy! You are FAR too generous xx Hopefully one day we can indulge in dinner parties together again. DO you remember that one you hosted at Little Bennett bc M kept telling you to have one… and then we had something else on! He’s so bad.

    1. I know I know. I just get *almost* there and convince myself that it’s not worth it.

  4. First of all, I enjoy reading your blog, I enjoy your honesty and style of writing. Secondly, as a fellow Darwinite I find Darwin to be so cliquey and of course transient! I’ve found if you’re not a “local” it is difficult to make long term friends and when you finally meet someone who you are friends with because you genuinely LIKE them, they plan to leave Darwin soon anyway. Oh it’s all too hard! haha

    1. Hi Ruth. Thank you for visiting. I have to admit that I did find Darwin very cliquey when I arrived but luckily work helped me firstly, assimilate, and secondly, make some friends. Not that I have ever invited anyone except Miss Posy above over for dinner! Anyhoo, I also understand what you mean about people leaving. Usually it’s me though – having so far left, Brisbane, Sydney, and Kiev, I’ve left behind a lot of friends, but I see that as a good thing because I’ll always have someone to have a coffee(beer) with somewhere in the world! But yes, the transience would be frustrating for a native Darwinite.

  5. I agree with Gary….just do it…call someone, invite someone out for lunch or tea or whatever…it’ll make you feel human again to be out and socializing….even if it’s just every once in a while

    1. Hi Claudia! Long time! Hope you’re well. You’re right. It wouldn’t even have to be often. That’s a good point. I’m such an all or nothing person – I either think I have to be a recluse or a social butterfly, I didn’t even really think that I could achieve a nice balance of entertaining people just once in a while.

  6. You know, I have always felt in the same boat and mostly because it is hard – everyone has different schedules and so busy with their own lives. After a busy week with kids and schedules, I prefer to just hang on the weekends with my husband and not have to go or do anything.

    But – I agree with Gary – just do it. Have an easy luncheon or tea and just invite people you want to get acquainted with. Sometimes not everyone comes – not because they don’t want to , but because of that schedule conflict.

    1. Ohhh now I like that idea… Luncheon (fancy name!) and maybe a bottle of wine or fizz! now we’re getting somewhere 😉

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