Ever feel like you're putting out a want ad when you invite people over... Or try to set up a play date? When you're first "dating" someone as a potential friend, you tend to scrutinize every text or email, or wonder if you're over-liking their Instagram posts. Do I have too many emojis in there? Or just the right amount?
Several years ago I read a blog post by Rachel Bertsche, author of MWF (Married White Female) Seeking BFF (obviously I borrowed her book title for my blog post title). She captures her attempts to make close connections with girlfriends after she and her husband had been living in Chicago for three years.
She set out on a very methodical mission to meet her "Miss Right" - or in other terms: BFF, bestie, shopping soulmate, friend for life, sister from another mother... whatever you want to call it. I related to her journey so much then (in 2012 when I read it) and bam - FOUR YEARS LATER, I find myself often feeling the exact same way I did then: still wanting more friends. Real friends. Authentic friends. Especially family-compatible friends.
Now don't get me wrong. I have some very precious, very authentic friendships - both here in Huntsville, Alabama, where I live, and elsewhere. I am part of a supper club that I adore (and pretty much group text with them about something once a day - read about finding them here). I love my church family and constantly seek those women out to build relationships. I have lot's of pals I've met through my profession in marketing and public relations. But what I really long for is a family where the husband and mine get along, kids on both sides who even if they aren't the same age can tolerate one another, and most importantly, a mom (OK she doesn't have to be a mom but I doubt a non-mom would be able to put up with my brood) whom I can call last-minute and plan a family dinner date with or one day take a family trip with! That's what I'm talking about: a Disney-2019-or-bust-together type family friend.
I find myself feeling ashamed that I don't already have this type of relationship. Apparently, I'm not the only one like that (thank you Rachel Bertsche for summing this "stigma" up perfectly below).
When it comes to admitting that we want more... or that making friends can be difficult, or hilariously awkward - we clam up. Why? I think it's because if you say to someone 'I want more friends' what they often hear is 'I have no friends.' There's quite difference.
So I'm making it known that we're on the market.
Here are the important things you should know about my crazy... I mean adorable family. You can even social media stalk us on Instagram if you want. I do it too. :)
We want to build an authentic community with families - people who know that my daughter's favorite dress has changed from Elsa to Anna (and may have even given her the Anna dress) and want to come to my oldest's first hockey game - even if it starts at 8 AM on a Saturday. So what if you weren't there when Marc and I got married - you can help him pick out one awesome 10th anniversary gift for me (hint: I want diamond stud earrings). And I'm not selfishly seeking this - I want to do the same for your family!
I'm tired of talking about it or even thinking about it and have committed to doing something about it. I put my family out there for the first-round opening weekend for college football with an open invitation to 30-plus families or individuals to come hang out at our house for football viewing at any point during the day. I spent an hour writing the email (which was pretty clever) - worried about my "want ad" coming off as desperate or not interesting or too basic. And after two uncomfortable hours of no one showing up for what we deemed "Football Fun Day," I thought - wow. That was an epic fail.
But then one family came. And then another couple. Then a hockey dad and his son came. Some kin-folk on both of our sides came and then a few more families. I had a great time and the kids seemed to have an even better time. Was it love at first sight for our next (well first, really) family bestie? No. Were there several candidates we'd like to take on a second family date? YES! All that worry for nothing. We all had a great time and made inches closer to true, authentic relationships that might enrich all our lives.
As a follow up note after this post was written - I had a play date with two other moms from Football Fund Day a few Saturdays after our party. And I wrote a post about that one too.
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Wife, mom and full-time marketing pro. Diet coke addict. Auburn fan (and alumn). Christian - striving to comprehend grace.