Taking the bold leap from texting to purposefully hanging out
Yesterday I was brave. I did it. I had lunch with a mom friend that I briefly interacted with over a month ago in the Barnes and Noble Children’s Section.
Photo Credit: UnSplash
See, I am an introvert but I manage to be pretty good at being spontaneously or unintentionally social in small, quiet, let’s face it, nerdy spaces. Spaces where it is safe to talk about nerdy things, deep things, book things, and mom things.
And there’s really no better safer space to talk to anyone than in a bookstore.
In our brief first interaction we talked about what books we like, what books our kids like, how it feels to be a mom when your kids get older and maybe don’t want to snuggle with you anymore, racism, classism, higher education, bullying, and we found out we were both born in Michigan.
Then, we texted for a bit. And I think this is how mom friends are made. Or maybe any friends after you reach the age of 35.
On making mom friends and introvert spaces
My first mom friend lives in my soul forever. There’s no one like her in the world. We met at an Art Museum Gift Shop (note this also meets the necessary criteria for introvert nerd social success: small, quiet, nerdy). We exchanged numbers. And now, though we live too far apart from each other, we say that we live in each others phones. We are here for each other. And our daughters, both ten years old, will hopefully always call each other sisters though they really rarely speak.
(Brief aside: other ‘outside of your home’ spaces that meet the necessary criteria for introvert nerd and mom social success and also, I feel, actual meaningful conversations include: libraries, some coffee shops as long as the music is not too loud and they are not overcrowded, and sometimes places involving nature as long as they have nice benches and are not too hot or busy.)
(Second brief aside: a shortlist of spaces that are not conducive to introvert, mom, and/or nerd social success, or to, I feel, actual human connection that uplifts include: bars (the absolute worst spaces), dance clubs, casinos, tourist traps, Chuck-E-Cheese, and actually, most other spaces that involve loudness, encourage egotistical behaviors and celebrate potential and probable displays of human ignorance, stupidity, excess, and place high value on fakeness.)
(Thank you for listening to my passionate introvert vent session, now back to our current adventure:)
Lunch date — on being intentionally social
But now, after a month or so of texting, Barnes and Noble mom friend and I made the jump to being intentionally on purpose social.
We were going to have lunch. Coffeehouse lunch because, of course.
I arrive first and let me tell you something, — I rarely spend much time out in the world. It is often too much. It’s loud, busy, so much talking, and too much energy to feel for an empath (really, I know, I know it sounds cheesy, but ok yes, I am introverted, nerdy beyond measure, and also deeply empathic, — I mean, I guess read any of my other pieces on Medium and you’ll get a good idea about who I am and how I am in life, and also thank you if you do that, hashtag blessed).
This place was also fancy. And hip. And full of youth. And I think I might be none of those things? But, it was actually great. See, introverts sometimes work hard to psyche ourselves out and to make ourselves feel better about not fitting in by being harsh critics. But I hold the position that being a harsh critic is probably ok and pretty valid most of the time. Because so much of society is simply, truly, basically, awful (see above mentioned brief aside two.)
I see my new mom friend, and her tiny adorable child, come into the restaurant. We hug. Because that is a mom thing to do, ok? It just is. And also, I am a hugger in general. And we both admit that we were proud of ourselves for not canceling at the last minute. This is common ground for both moms and introverts.
And I love it. I love that we can admit to each other that while we were really into making friends and hanging out, we also both know that we could have canceled and stayed home and still been into making friends and hanging out.
I love the no pressure feel of mom and introvert friendship.
We had a great time. A fancy hipster food time. A vanilla iced chai time.
And we made plans to meet up again next week, when my daughter will finally be back in town. Our kids are not the same age, but when you can find a good mom and introvert friend, and someone to connect with over the basics — values, spirituality, worldview, parenting, — it does not matter. My girl will love playing with her two year old while us moms get to talk and relax a bit.
Photo Credit: UnSplash
Tips for Making Mom and Introvert Friends After 35:
- Be sure you want and need to. Because heads up: sometimes you don’t want or need to and so it’s ok to just not pressure yourself about it. We have enough to deal with as moms and introverts in this culture.
- Space matters. As I mentioned before, the right spaces are filled with the right people. And these spaces also give you things to talk about, bond over, and that are intellectually stimulating and simple. Hectic spaces of loudness and let’s face it, mostly morally bankrupt focus, don’t give much for introverts to go on.
- Texting is awesome. Enjoy that time. When you think of mom things or of things that remind you of the brief first conversation you two had, send a little text.
- Take it to the next level: lunch, coffee, even a playdate in a nice quiet safe space as mentioned. Be the person you actually are. Enjoy.
The bravery of introversion, the vulnerability of intelligence
It takes bravery and vulnerability to be a mom in our society. It takes bravery and vulnerability to be an introvert in our society. And, it is often painful beyond measure to be a person who is intelligent and who has values and who believes in morality, justice, enlightenment, and Goodness in our society.
The thing is we have to keep doing it. We have to keep being who we are, we have to keep carving out spaces that are safe and supportive, we have to speak our truths and stand our ground.
Whenever we can make meaningful connections with others who share in these vulnerable and too often underappreciated things that are who we are, we can take steps towards changing the world.
No, we are never going to go with the flow and nod our heads at what this culture says is ok, — aggression, exploitation, ignorance as bliss, objectification of people and the sacred, egotism as normal, loudness as the only way to get heard, no, no and no.
But we can change the course of this society by being who we are and leading by example. We can show our kids the deep value of our quiet strengths.
Our differences and our passions as introverts with often less valued by society values and less appreciated by society intelligence can only be appreciated and respected if we cherish them and bring them into the light, where they belong and will shine.
Photo Credit: UnSplash