“Friendship is so weird. You just pick a person you just met and you’re like ‘Yep, I like this one. Let’s do stuff.'”
I put this quote on my best friend’s Facebook wall a few months ago because this is she and my relationship in a nutshell.
Or as she would put it “Leah decided we were going to be friends so she called, texted, and came over till she solidified the deal.”
Sound intense? Yeah.
But accurate? Oh yeah, totally.
Y’all, I’m a super awkward friend maker. [I’ve even called myself an awkward friend-making dragon, so I totally own it.]
As a kid, I never would have guessed that I was an awkward friend-maker. Over-eager, sure. But that’s how I approach most things so I assume that’s my personality.
In my case, I spent the first 10 years of my schoola-ged life in one of two classes with approximately the same 40 people, give or take. So yeah, we knew each other. Yeah, we all had friends.
So let’s just say that an actual skill set for friend-making I never really developed. And when I started college, I thought that approximately 700 new students living in dorms and also needing friends, that I had pretty good odds.
Well it took a while to find a groove, a good group of friends, and people I liked being around. I won’t say this experience has taken me seamlessly into adulthood but I can say I’ve transferred some of the best of the situation to making friends as an adult, as a couple, as a mom, and as a person who moves frequently.
Do you want to know my secret to making friends?
Lean in super close, I don’t want to just share this willy-nilly with people who won’t appreciate it.
I’m awkward. And I’m over-eager.
How to Be the Most Awkward Friend Maker in 18 Easy Steps
- In a group situation like MOPS, or library story hour, find the other mom who is by herself and corner her. I mean, not in a scary way but in a way that it’s totally obvious you have your laser beams set from ‘acquaintance’ to ‘seeking new bestie’ mode.
- Look for something on her apparel that would indicate you could be fast friends and quickly transition to best friends. Something like a college sweatshirt, the same scent of hand sanitizer, the same spit up puddle down her back that you have. See, common interests. Then comment on them to start off the conversation, “O I see you are wearing an Ohio State sweatshirt and we do not live in Ohio. However I used to live in Ohio and I’m thinking you must also be from there or went to college there and that’s good enough for me.”
- Every time you see her, say hello to her and her kids. Not in a creepy way. You don’t want to be THAT person. But again, in that awkward way that makes people remember you.
- Talk way too much. Over share. Ask her to check for bats in the cave or if you something on the butt of your pants.
- Ask too many questions at rapid fire. “How old are you? How long have you been married? Are you guys done having kids? O that’s none of my business, but are you? How many cups of coffee do you drink in a day? What do you like to read?”
Be sure to add in some of the really mommy-war divisive questions, just so you know where she stands from the beginning. “Do you work outside of the home? Do you want to go back to work? Cloth or disposable? Breast or bottle?”
- Bonus points if you make commentary on each of these questions because, adding awkward sauce to an already awkward conversation, for the win.
- Add her on all social media outlets while you’re still within visual distance of her. You’ll know she got the notification when she checks her phone and you can nod and smile and put her on the spot.
- Ask her if her kids take karate, swimming lessons, or gymnastics, then plan with her to sign your kids up for the next session together.
- When she misses a few library story hours, comment that you haven’t seen her in exactly 4 weeks, not that you’re counting.
- Make up a bogus reason to get her phone number. “Hey, I’m collecting phone numbers to see if I can get 400 contacts in my phone because, you know, so popular like that. Anywhoozles, if I could get yours too, I’d be at 397. And go.”
- This also gives you an excuse to get her last name.
- Invite her to another mom-friendly event with you. Playground. MOPS group. Coffee house with a play area. Chick Fil A.
- Text her all like “Hey, I don’t mean to bother you but my garden like exploded and there is too much lettuce over here. You want some? You can swing by anytime. And I mean, why not bring the kids and we’ll make a morning out of it?”
- Communicate to her often that you don’t really have any other friends yet.
- Then try to set up a regular playdate every week on Tuesday and Friday morning for exactly 6 hours.
- Find things that your husbands have in common and say stuff like “O man, I think our husbands would just be bros!” (Because boys don’t say ‘besties’ I’ve asked.)
- Ask her to borrow stuff right away. “Oh hey, date night, so do you have anything cute I could borrow?” or “O man my biggest casserole dish just shattered. I’m such a klutz. Can I borrow yours? I need it tonight so I’ll be right over.”
- Text her TMI about your kids. “I have just been dealing with so much #2 today out of Jr. I think he’s pooped like 12 times no joke and one of his turds was over a foot long. Is this normal? I took a picture. You want to see it?”
Why Awkward Feels Awkward
I’m awkward and I’m working on owning that. Of this list of 18, most of these are real situations of things I have done or said to people that I have attempted or succeeded in making friends with.
And here’s why I’m learning to own that – when I’m awkward, when I’m fumbling and bumbling, and asking stupid questions, or asking someone for their phone number, I’m taking a chance. I’m putting myself out there. I’m saying “Yep, I like you. Let’s do stuff.”
Relationships take vulnerability to really work. And vulnerability almost always has an element of awkwardness to it. There’s a baring of soul-level stuff that comes out of your insides and is given to someone else to care for.
This isn’t easy and so fumbling and bumbling is a reality. I own that. Because it means I’m trying.
Use Awkward in Moderation
I do not recommend doing all 18 of these awkward things, say, within the first 2-3 days of meeting someone. No one wants a stalker, creep sauce for a friend. At least not that I know of.
But even if your awkward looks differently than my awkward, I think it’s ok to let it out, whether it’s slow drip style or over-eager, full on in your face style. At the end of the day I’d rather have one friend who can handle me geeking out about Downton Abbey, talking about my kids’ poo, and sees me wearing the same shirt every where I go (I own 6, but they don’t know that) than having 10 friends where I feel like I can’t be myself.
Feel like you don’t know how to own your awkward?
I know sometimes I’m just awkward because I’m not sure what to say or ask because I haven’t slept and don’t talk to grown ups maybe as much as a I should and because sometimes I *gasp* don’t want to talk about only my kids. So I came up with 20 conversation starters to use with other moms that aren’t all kid focused to help you (and me!) out a little bit.
You can grab this free printable here.
At the end of the day, awkward works for me.
I cannot think of one friendship that I currently have that doesn’t have an element of my awkward and over-eagerness running through it. My quieter college bestie said she’s drawn to my personality because she wishes she was more like me in some ways (and I feel the same way about her!) so even though I’m a fumbling, bumbling, overeager, friend-maker, it’s part of me. For better or for worse.
But mostly, I kind of like it.