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If you just realize what I just realized...

I have never been a "girls girl." I imagine that this is due to my crippling self-esteem issues and general social awkwardness, but I have always been one who gravitated towards guy friends. Mind you, the boys really did just want to be friends. There were no secret crushes or any stealthy coveting of my early-20's B-cups. We were just friends.

So fast-forward ten twenty years and into my Facebook messages, where an invitation to a mixer for moms with kids going into Kindergarten sits. It seems harmless, even nice. It's a chance for the moms to meet up and get to know each other. At this young age, it really is up to the parents to facilitate the friendships of our children, so this is a fun, gracious, welcoming way for the host to ensure that everyone gets to know each other. But, for some reason, the invitation all but paralyzed me with anxiety.

In my old age, I have come to appreciate female friendships. I treasure the close friends I have and the fledgling friendships I have embarked on in the past few years. The people that are the closest to my heart are women. My very best friend in the entire world is my sister. I have learned to make connections with women and yet a group of women will render me 1. silent or 2. obnoxious. I find myself too self-conscious to speak or trying so hard I become ridiculous. I'm sure you can imagine what a hit this made me at pre-school pick-up. My presentation is just off and I am left wondering why I am not making connections.

When I received the invite, I quickly messaged another friend to see if she was going. Note- my social awkwardness is always relieved if I feel like I have someone on my side. This particular friend is another of those fledgling friendships- new but with potential. I decided to confess to her that I am often intimidated by other women. Women who are good dressers, who have good jobs, who chat with the other parents with ease. I can't imagine that I would have any gifts to offer a potential interaction and, instead, lapse into one of the two options I mentioned above.

To my surprise, my friend was able to relate. In fact, she let me know that often, the "cool girls" are feeling the same anxieties and social awkwardness that I am, but we'd never know because we have already closed them out.

"I'm a 'cool girl bigot' that way," she stated frankly.

Cool Girl Bigot. Aside from just being a brilliant phrase that I flat-out told her I would steal, I realized that it is also a diagnosis for my issues. I leap beyond my realizations of my own shortcomings and go the extra mile to assume that the "cool girls" would withhold their gifts and rebuke mine. I let scenarios I made up in my own head stunt my chances for great conversations and amazing connections. It's not that I am being rejected, it's that I am doing the rejecting. What the hell?

I have put down a few roots these past years in my quest to have more female friendships. They do what roots should do, grounding me and offering support and nourishment. But now it is time to grow some branches, and I will do so at the home of a fellow Kindergarten mom. I'll bring a bottle of wine and leave the bigotry at home.

Comments

I think we tend to feel like we are the only ones who feel any type of social anxiety, but most other people do also. It's hard to go into a group of people you don't know. Flat out uncomfortable as an adult.
Anonymous said…
Also keep in mind that those moms who seem like they are chatting casually and at ease, are sometimes, in fact, very uncomfortable and scared underneath as well...wink wink! Love this blog :-)

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