Reader No Girlfriends writes:
I'm a new mom in a new state (my hubs and I moved to his home state of Minnesota from my home state of California in 2013). We welcomed our son in August of this year!
That all being said, I have been trying to make some mom friends, especially during these crappy cold winters. One issue I've ALWAYS had though is that I've always been better friends with guys than girls and tend to gravitate towards girls who feel the same. But it's a tough market here. The women whom I've met, while very nice, are just, to be honest, too girly. I hate crafting, not a fan of cooking, despise shopping and would rather spend time hiking with our babies, watching football with the kiddos with friends or doing something active. I've also noticed the typical trend of groups of women turning into clucking hens, talking about another mom's weight or chatting about the latest soap opera, which I RUN from.
My problem is that I don't seem to communicate well with most women. I'm simply not interested in most conversations and always feel like I'm coming across as awkward. I'm a super outgoing person so I try to make the best of it. But when I encounter another Tom-boyish girl or guy or lesbian even (I'm completely straight), I feel like I can be myself. And men are just always so easy going, don't gossip, and generally love to be active, which is why I've always preferred their company.
But now, being a mom, I'm craving strong female friendships again. I know there are gals like myself out there (I have a tight knit group in CA) but I have had NO luck finding any. Do I suck it up and try to make friends with the "typical" woman aforementioned. Is there something wrong with me?
I have written about the importance of mom friends here, and there is a video detailing how I meet mom friends here (Stroller Strides, meetup groups, randomly in the park, and Mommy and Me classes). But it can be tough to find women you click with. Since you do have a group of girlfriends, you obviously have made connections with women in the past, but it's worth thinking about what in your early life may have made you feel out of step with most women.
Was your mother similar to you, or was she a girly type? If she was similar to you, without much in common with most "traditional" women, you may not have learned how to interact easily with women from your female role model. If she was very traditionally feminine, I would imagine you felt out of step with her as well, and this can carry over now. Either way, you seem like you have a long standing pattern of assuming that you won't fit in with women, and this self-fulfilling prophecy shoots you in the foot.
Try thinking more positively about the prospect of meeting kindred spirits. Do activities that you enjoy and try to meet people there. I like Stroller Strides so I like people who like Stroller Strides, so I've made friends there. I don't enjoy scrapbooking, so I wouldn't go to a scrapbooking club and expect to meet friends there. You also need to re-examine your idea of the "typical" woman. I know many laid back, active women, and many anxious sedentary men. I would say that the typical woman you'll meet at, for example, the gym, will be active. The typical woman you might meet at a yoga class would be more laid back. Just go where the people are that you might like.
Regarding the small talk issue: In general, Highly Sensitive People don't like small talk, introverts don't like small talk, and I particularly hate small talk, so I get you. But if this is the case, how come you don't like women? More women like to talk about deep emotional topics to bond with friends. Men usually bond by engaging in shared activities (golf, drinking, skiing, whatever). You may feel awkward because you're actually an introvert or an HSP trying to engage with extroverts. Here, I discuss the idea of the extroverted introvert. Is this you?
To conclude, here are my recommendations: explore why you may feel uncomfortable around "typical" women, by thinking about your childhood and likely, in particular, your mom. Then, find things you like to do, meet women at them, psych yourself up to ask for their contact info, and then contact them and hang out. It will get easier both with practice and with a more positive and glass-half-full type of perspective. Keep me updated. And until we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Also Doesn't Click With Everyone, It Is An HSP Thing.
This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.