I’m terrible at making friends. I mean really lousy; the other day, I said to Mr. Book, “I am so desperate to make friends with another mom from the moms’ group that I worry about freaking them out.” To which he replied, “Good thing that you manage to disguise that with your incredible standoffishness.” This is the same idiotic tactic that I used when dating my husband, and while I’m glad that it worked out in that instance, the experience may have cemented my impulse to hide my friendly interest. There are three moms in particular whom I see at the weekly library storytime whom I want to befriend: one has started conversations with me, which I am desperately grateful for; one is in the moms’ group and just had a baby, so I signed up to bring her a couple of meals; the last isn’t in the moms’ group, but she seems like a cool person and her daughter is bold and enthusiastic in the same ways that Joey is—and she seems to appreciate that about her kid. The third mom I’m having a hard time figuring out how to approach; Okay, yes, “How old is your daughter?” is an obvious start, but she’s usually pretty busy chasing said daughter . . . and I am shy. But I’ve smiled at her! The second mom—well, I’ve talked to her briefly, but the Mister dropped off the first dinner at her house on Thursday and apparently did a better job conversating that I have managed in months. His social skills can be really irritating. But I should be able to go along for the dropoff this Thursday, and will prepare chat. Yes, I am this broken re: people skills.
But the first mom? Well, to be fair, she has been friendly with me from the start. She has two little girls, one a few months older than Joey and one three days younger than Kit—and I asked her about and then arranged a playdate. I know! I felt amazingly forward, but she seemed enthusiastic about the idea, so now I just have to make sure the kids are clean and well-fed. I’m assuming that this is the kind of playdate where I stay with them—I think it’ll only be an hour or so, but it will be at this other mom’s place—and I will need to be (or fake) socially competent for at least an hour. Still, this feels like a good step. With the kids not going to daycare, it feels especially important for me to make mom friends so that they have a network of little playmates in town. My loneliness is just a footnote to this. I have a hard time doing things for myself, but am able to push myself for the kids.
I think I’ll bring her a loaf of bread. Do you bring hostess gifts to a playdate?