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Social Anxiety and Having No Mummy-Friends



I'm used to writing from the heart, but somehow this seems like a particularly hard post to write. I don't really know how to start it, so maybe I'll just go ahead, get to the point and say it ..  I think I can sometimes feel a little lonely. 

'Lonely' maybe isn't the right word as I have Adam - the person who I've grown up with and have been with for nearly half of my life. He's truly my best friend - the best, most kindest friend I could ever have wished for. And then I have Ethan and Logan - my two little boys who since being born have made me feel more alive and more content than ever before. I also have Adam's family who I'm really close to and who I feel extremely lucky to have. I also have my own family, I don't see them as much as I like and I'd love to be closer to my Mum, but they are always there and they always have my back if I'm ever in trouble.

But when it comes to friends that I regularly see, I'm not doing as well. I have one lovely friend who is also an ex-colleague, but unfortunately we don't get to see each other that often anymore. This is something I'd like to change.  

The problem with me is that I've never really known how to 'friend'. I think I was born an introvert and also suffer with a degree of social anxiety - I'm not shy but I've naturally always preferred small amounts of company and I really like to get to know a person. I don't really like to gossip - I tend to think that as I wouldn't want people to gossip about me behind my back, I shouldn't do it to others. It's nice to be able to trust someone and be around somebody because you really want to be around them. A friend to me is someone that makes you laugh and somebody you can be around with no barriers or guards up. 

Being without Mummy-friends or friends is a mix of insecurity in the form of a fear of rejection. It's a mix of anxiety in the form of sometimes struggling to step out of my comfort zone and meet people somewhere unknown. And also a mix of a lack of confidence as I'm usually too quick to doubt myself. 

Growing up with Adam and doing everything with him has meant we sort of only ever needed each other. But now we have the boys, we are forced to spend more time apart and focus less on each other. I've also recently quit my job working for the police and I sort of miss the social element of seeing different faces everyday. Being a Mum, especially of two young children, I sometimes wish I had Mummy-friends around who 'just got it'. I absolutely love the blogging world for that - I feel so connected with so many other like-minded people because of my blog and to me that's invaluable. But sometimes I wish I was actually real life friends with some of the people I talk to or who leave me comments. It's hard when you feel like you really start to know someone and can really relate to them, but then you can't be there when they (or you) just need a hug and for someone to say 'It's going to be OK'.

A lot of how I feel is something I need to change myself. I need to overcome certain things and start saying yes to a lot more. I need to stop being afraid of rejection... I'm always surprised when I do pluck up the confidence to ask if someone is free and they say yes - I need to get over that. I need to believe in myself more and actively push myself out of the door when I want to do something but I'm too afraid to step out of my comfort zone - I know I'll be OK so I don't know why I do it. I need to start trusting people more and stop feeling like I'm the only sometimes-awkward or nervous person in the room. I want to set a good example to my boys, I want to kick anxiety's butt - but more than anything I want to rid myself of this sometimes reclusive feeling that creeps over me.

Do you ever feel this way or are you happy with the social balance in your life?


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40 comments

  1. I am sending massive hugs! i am so this too!

    I think to the world i come across as being confident but in real life I do struggle with friends as i dont want to live in someones pocket but do want to spend some time with some like minded ppl and instead i intend avoid mummy friends for fear of them wanting more than i can give .. does that make sense?

    x

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    1. Absolutely Jaime. I can totally and utterly relate to this so much! I know exactly what you mean. I find the blogging world is great for having friends that way. xx

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  2. Ah lovely motherhood can be lonely and I definitely struggled when my girls were younger, I had friends but most of them worked or lived away. Also the more lonely I felt the less confident I got.

    It was only when my eldest started school in September that I knew I had to step out of my comfort zone and make an effort with the other Mums, so I did and I haven't looked back. Good luck lovely you will get there xx

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    1. Thanks Natalie. This is really inspiring and gives me hope for the future. I just desperately don't want to get more and more lonely. I hope when my little boy starts school locally, I might find myself some Mum friends then. xx

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  3. Oh Alex, I so get where you're coming from. I've only just got the courage to start up conversations with the other parents at the nursery gates, and it's the last term! And everyone got different schools to us! Typical huh? I agree, it's a mixture of not putting myself out there, and just being too nervous and shy to talk to people. The amount of blog events i've turned down because i haven't wanted to be alone at them or have to talk to people there I don't know! I envy those big groups of mums with their pushchairs who just laugh and chat with each other at the park. So I have no advice, but I understand and you're not alone! xx

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    1. Ah Emma, I'm the exact same with blogging events. I want to have the confidence to go to them, but I'm nervous about the travelling alone and the actual being there alone. Well done for finding the confidence to start making conversation at the school gates, everyone may have got different schools, but you still managed to get chatting, so you can do it again! Thank you for commenting lovely, I really appreciate it and as much as I don't want anyone to feel like this, I take comfort in knowing I'm not alone. xx

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  4. I am exactly the same lovely. I think a lot of Mum's are. I only made friends at my step-daughters old school when I started teaching the choir, no-one wanted to know who I was before then. Now the girls have moved school and I only picked up (before my severe anxiety set in) most of the nights but it was awkward cos there was another Mummy who picked up the other nights. My friend (who lives in London) tells me when the little ones are at school I'll start to make friends but I am so like you. I really struggle to engage or get involved, I detest gossip and just won't join in. I've always felt I don't fit in. I felt very awkward at the last blog conferences I attended but I am starting to get to know a few people, and I've found someone who feels like me and we're going to go together. I hope this helps. I am sure when the boys are at school you'll find a rhythn but yes, lonely is how I think Mum's of tots definitely feel. Sendinf much love and hugs to you, thank you for being brave enough to write this so others don't feel so alone xxx mwa

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    1. Ah thank you so much for your comment. I'm hoping when Ethan starts school locally, I'll maybe meet some local Mums with children the same age. It's getting over the first barrier of making conversation then I think. I'm glad you've found someone to go to the blog conference with, it will hopefully make a huge difference for you and it will be so nice to spend time in real life with the person that you're going with. I think it probably is about having young children - it's so hard to do anything sometimes, let alone work on overcoming social anxiety. But I guess there's hope for when they start school like we said. xx

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  5. I feel this way ALL the time lovely. As we get older, it's harder to make friends as the main places you meet people in 'real' life is at work or through your children. And then it's hard to get to know people - and sometimes, you don't want to! ;) Honestly though, it's hard to find like-minded people and that's why we find comfort in blogging.

    My family (only my mum and dad, really) live 130 miles away so I don't see them often and they aren't a close source of support. My best friends from uni (3 in total) live in Yorkshire and Durham, so we're not close again. And they too have a similar situation - not having a good friend just down the road to talk to. I honestly think it's a bit of a trend.

    All you can do is put yourself out there whenever you can. I've tried to get to know some mum's via Ethan's nursery and have a play date set up. I've asked a couple of other people too but worried they thought I was weird to ask - but nothing ventured and all that!

    And I'd happily be your friend, on or offline :) xx

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    1. Ah thank you Kelly. I wondered before I posted this if I might seem a little strange but I've realised I'm not alone with how I feel as much as I thought I was. I feel comforted by this but sad that like you say it seems to be a bit of a trend. Blogging is such a comfort, without it I'd feel far lonelier. I love that you're confident enough to have set up play dates and such, I'd love to be able to do things like that. I want to work my way to that level of social confidence, but I think it's something that will take time and will only be achieved by me really pushing myself. Thanks so much for your comment, I really appreciate it lovely. xx

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  6. Yes! It made me feel quite isolated in the early years - especially having twins - because popping out to see friends became so hard. I still tried to arrange as much as I could as they were such a support to me throughout the tough days. Maybe join a few groups or playgroups?? I think this is why a lot of us blog, for the support. It definitely gets easier as they get older :) xx

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    1. Thank you, I've heard that things get easier when the little ones start school as you can meet local Mums, so I have hope for that, it will just be a case of pushing myself to start a conversation up. I go to a through groups and am really chatty there, but then when they end I sort of disappear and don't feel confident or comfortable enough to stay any longer. It's a barrier I need to break. xx

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  7. You are not alone, I think if we were all honest we feel lonely at times too. I've never been the playgroup mum so always felt alone when I had each if my children. Sending you much love x

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    1. Thank you Sarah. I'm glad I wrote this and I now realise I am actually far from alone. x

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  8. There is a great website that may help. www.mummysocial.co.uk Set up by a mum who felt the same way you do. Take a look and see what you think.

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    1. Thank you for this - I will take a look! x

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  9. I always get "lonely". I have my husband who is my best friend and I love spending time with him, and my 5 month old daughter, but don't have many "friends". None of the people we know have children, and we live away from family so I don't really see anyone. I try to go to mummy and baby groups, but find it difficult to approach people so lots of the time I end up just playing with my daughter and not talking to many people. We moved to Hinckley in Leicestershire too, and our closest friends who do have a baby are in Milton Keynes, so we try to go there when we can. I don't know where you are, but if you are up this way would love to chat with you :) I'm on instagram too @amundanelife

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    1. We're actually in Milton Keynes. Or not actually in it, but close - about 20 minutes away. I'm just the same as you with liking to spend a lot of time with Adam. I just feel so comfortable around him. But when you have littles it's not always as possible as it used to be. I'll look you up on instagram. :) xx

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  10. I was completely the same until my eldest started nursery and another Mum approached me to ask about a birthday party we had all been invited to. That lead to us chatting st the party and becoming friends. I then organised a night out for all the nursery mum's and much to my delight everyone went. We had a great night and I made some great friends, 3 of which have become my best friends. Don't be scared most mum's feel the same way, it just takes one mum to reach out and strike up a conversation x

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    1. Thank you for this Sally. This is really lovely and just goes to show that a lot of mums feel the same way really. xx

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  11. I totally get this.... Only I have no family around either! I think when you've been with someone (a partner) from a young age you lose your school friends too so unlike some people who have kept in touch with loads of people, I met the love of my life and moved away at 17. I'm very lucky that I have two lovely friends who do make the effort almost every week so that we all get together, without them I'd be lost. But on the other hand I have met 3 lovely mums since my little boy has started school.... And we all live on the same street! But we never spoke before the kids went to school. So you do start to socialise a little more when the kids go to school :) but I get you. 100%. I'm lonely and I don't know how to make other people aware that's how I feel and some days I don't know how to shake that feeling of lonliness off. I miss work, I havnt worked for 3 years and I'm ready to go back. But so scared to. There's so many things I never expected to come in tow with motherhood.... Sometimes it's not the being a parent part of I that's the hard part!

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    1. I can totally relate to this! And I totally agree with you about when you meet your partner at a young age you tend to lose your school friends. It's great you've met some other mums who live on the same street as you, it's interesting that you didn't even know about each other until your little one's started school. I live in a little village, I wonder how many other mums with children the same ages as mine live close to me. x

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  12. Oh Alex sending you big hugs. I'm right there with you on all of this, I felt like you were writing about me. I'm sorry I don't have the answers. I find it so hard and don't put myself in situations where I will feel isolated. I don't get invited to blog events, but if that ever changes and I do, we can keep each other company. It would be lovely to meet you xx

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    1. Absolutely, I'd love to meet you. I think we'd get on really well. I get invited but I'm just too nervous to go alone. I want to change this and start saying yes, but I think it's about small steps first. x

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  13. well done for sharin g this. I have never heard anyone talk about this before, because it takes someone brave and honest, which you are, I love this article because I am the same, I dont have any real close friends, main ly becuase I am also an introvert and also because Ive been rejected alot in th epast and can never put myself through that again. When the kids were little, it was easier because they were the distraction when we all got together. Now they are teenagers, I dont have that social element and to tel you the truth it scares me to the core, because I just cant do the friend thing anymore. I wonder if this is just who I am or whether life has moulded me this wAY. Both my sisters have colourful social lives and steady friends and its all wonderful for them, sadly this isnt how social life is and I do get lonely alot.

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    1. Aw Barbara I'm sorry to hear this, I often wonder if this is me too. It's hard when you're an introvert I think because part of you doesn't really want to socialise but at the same time, even introverts can start to feel lonely. It's a bit of a mind battle sometimes I think. The great thing about this digital age for us introverts is the internet, it gives us a way to connect with others but in the sort of way we often feel more comfortable with. I think in regards to pushing ourselves more socially, it's about taking little steps one day at a time. xx

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  14. I wonder whether it's a facet of blogging that those of us that blog might be a little more introverted l life? Because this is totally me too, my H is my very best friend, and we've been together since we were 18, so my Mummy friends and girl friends are few but treasured. I do sometimes wish that the people who are so very clearly my soul sisters on the internet lived a little closer in real life!!

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    1. I think it might be Carie, I really do. I know blogging helps me as an introvert, it gives me a way to connect with others that I feel comfortable with. I'd be a little bit lost without it as an introvert, that's for sure. x

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  15. Ah Alex it's hard isn't it. I think tow certain degree everyone feels this way but if you canmanage to step outside your comfort zone, I'm sure people will love to eat friends with you just remember when you ask them for a cuppa, they're probably just as delighted as you would be xx

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    1. That's a really good way of looking at it actually, thank you Katie. I've always been too scared to ask, but actually I'd be flattered myself, so why wouldn't they be?! Thanks for your comment. x

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  16. I feel like I have written this post myself. I have always really struggled with making friends and I've never had a "best friend" and sometimes I get down when I think about that. I unfortunately walked out of main stream school because of my social anxiety too. I'm so grateful for the internet and for people like you who write these things that makes me feel a bit less alone X

    penzees.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Hi Penny. Social anxiety is so hard to deal with sometimes, but you're right - the internet is a great tool for keeping people with anxiety and those that are introverted social. It gives us a way to connect with others that we feel comfortable with. x

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  17. A lovely honest post and one I nodded along to. I feel like this and don't feel like I ever got that "best" friend, yet as I get older I fear saying someone new is that might be a bit strange and I worry other people already have friends. Although I think I worry too much! Blogging has been great for me yet as I am still new I have that social anxiety but I'm trying to get past it. You're not alone xx

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    1. I really think blogging and vlogging is fantastic for those that feel this way. It gives us a way to connect with people in a way we feel comfortable with. It also helps to know that we're not alone in the way we feel. There's so many of us out there all feeling the same, and that can only be reassuring. x

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  18. I used to be like this with James! I was so used to doing everything with him that I hated the thought of doing anything without him. I'm a lot better now and since having my daughter I find it easier to go out and about as my friends also have children so it's mainly for them! Also starting a new job has helped me because I've had to make friends :) sending hugs xo

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    1. Aw that's lovely. I'm so pleased that you've managed to find your own friends and feel more independent. I definitely feel like having children can push you to become that much more confident about things, it's what pushes me to go to baby groups etc. x

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  19. I definitely feel this way Alex. I had to force myself to go out to baby groups and make friends when Blake was born as my best friend had moved away and I only really have my husband to talk to most days. I do go out with mummy friends occasionally but most the time its just me and Blake.

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    1. Baby groups are a bit of a saviour sometimes I think, there's a lot of benefits for mum and baby to going. xx

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  20. This is such a honest and frank post Alex. A lot of this post resonates with me. I made quite an effort with my firstborn to meet new mummy friends and go to groups, then that tapered off when I had my second.

    If I'm honest though, I just have too much that I often need to do out and about and at home to be going to groups etc! However, I'm always aware of cliquey groups and that makes social situations worse for me. I talk to people at the school gates and have had play dates, but I'm never the one to suggest them unless we are on more friendly terms! I know that I can come across as aloof, but I'm not really. I've moved around a fair bit and my main group of friends were my group of school friends, even though we're all still in touch, I miss out now as they live so far away. So I see women go out who have known each other for years, since their teens and I no longer have that :(

    Best friends have come and gone but my best friend is my husband and my little family always comes first. Now I just have friends (mostly met through my job) that I meet every now and then, with our kids or out for a meal. I don't have a 'group of girlfriends' anymore to go out with, but I know I also don't have time for that or won't make the time at the moment (especially with my little girl still fairly small).

    I agree with Carie about blogging being for the more introverted on the whole. I've always been surprised when meeting some people at events, that they're often not as sociable as I would have imagined and sometimes the opposite to their chatty online persona!

    It's always good to read that it's pretty common to feel like this. I think some people hide it well though xx

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  21. Ah Alex, I really feel for you. Being a shy introvert myself one of the things that terrifies me about motherhood is the isolation - being less able to go out and socialise - so I really admire you for writing this and saying 'how it is'. Judging by all the nice comments on here, the online community looks like a good place to make friends and get support. It's a shame new mothers 25 years ago never had access to this. x

    http://scentsandthecitylondon.com

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