We've moved a lot in the last several years, and each time we kind of have to start over in the friends department. It's frustrating that each time we start to get to know people, we end up moving. And neither my husband nor I are very outgoing, so this is a huge effort.
Lately, I've been really going out of my way to try to meet other moms. It's occurred to me that there's something about the several-step process that's disturbingly like dating....
Step 1: Getting the digits
Whenever I'm at our local community center or a birthday party, I try to strike up a conversation with another mom. This involves scoping out the moms, seeing someone who looks like they're someone I could get along with and is around my age. Then if we can successfully chat for a minute, I have to work up my nerve to get her phone number and/or email address.
Step 2: Trying to figure out when to make first contact
According to Swingers, you're supposed to wait three days, right? But in that time, I could easily wash the jeans that I put her phone number into. And I'm eager to make first contact before being forgotten.
Step 3: Trying to set up a (play)date
Seems like it shouldn't be that hard, but it is! Do we do it at their place, ours, or a neutral location? I don't want to impose, yet our apartment is small and I don't want to drag someone over here. And do just I go to the playdate? Or is it better for both me and my husband go?
Step 4: Impressing the Mom on the (play)date
You want your kid to be on good behavior, of course, but sometimes you can't control that. Then you have to socialize with the mom (and/or dad) as well. You have to make stimulating conversation. Should you bring flowers.... er, snacks?
Step 5: Waiting for her to call you back
For me, this has been the hardest part of playdating. If the other mom doesn't seem to want to set up another playdate, I feel like I did something horribly wrong. I said the wrong thing, was impolite, etc. When you don't have a lot of friends, you start to doubt yourself and wonder if there's something intrinsically wrong with you. It's a blow to the old self esteem.
Step 6: Dealing with rejection
Last year, there was a mom whose daughter went to daycare with mine, and most days, we would walk home together and talk the whole way. I liked talking to her and she seemed to like it too. The walks would last sometimes an hour, despite living two blocks away, because our kids would get sidetracked on the way home.
But every time I called her to hang out on the weekend, either at one of our houses or a kiddie event, she would come up with some excuse and say no. The excuses were incredibly lame, akin to needing to wash her hair. After a while, I got the hint and stopped asking. I felt really embarrassed and rejected though. I guess she just wasn't that into me.
In summary, I hate (play)dating. I can't wait to settle down.