Emm….. yes! Because it’s hard to make friends in later life, let alone make one as a Mum.
However I have one caveat; before we start can everyone agree that just because we had babies around the same time, and live in the same area, it doesn’t mean we actually have anything in common or should be friends?
Of the friends I collected in life very few of those friendships were based on geographical location or similar stage in life. Sure, we may have met because we both happened to be working in the same place or attending the same college but usually the true friendship didn’t develop until after the fact; when we no longer conveniently bumped into each other, when an effort had to be made to see each other, that’s when the friendship was truly formed.
Like relationships, friendships take work. Sure, you can have the friendship equivalent of a booty-call; a pal you call because you want to go to a particular event or club and they are the only ones that might be interested, but I would class those as acquaintances rather than friendships.
Friends are the ones you can talk to for hours on end, about everything and nothing. Friends are the ones that on the surface you don’t appear to have that much in common with, but you may share similar outlook on life, you have a similar humour and your personalities gel.
Good friends usually end up being life partners, even if they are not your actual life-partner.
So if friends are so like romantic relationships (without the obvious and the romance) then it makes sense to me that we should make these friendships in a similar way that we meet romantic partners nowadays. It makes sense to me that we would have sites akin to dating sites where Friend 1 ‘seeks buddy interested in goofing off at the shopping mall and trying on clothes they would never wear – true fashionistas need not apply’. Or where Friend 2 ‘seeks buddy to discuss deep and meaningful novels while checking out the tight butts leaving the gym across from the coffee shop – must enjoy eating too much chocolate cake’.
That makes sense to me, and speed dating for friends is a natural evolution of that. I love the immediacy of having five minutes to see if there person sitting opposite has anything interesting to say, and no weirdness if one of you says ‘I just want to be friends’.
Having made new friends in adult life, I have to say it felt the same as dating. I took the bold move and asked a possible new friend out for dinner. She accepted, thank god. I have to admit I was less concerned about what I was wearing, or how my bum looked in the jeans, than I would have been going on a real date, but I was no less concerned about the conversation drying up, or what we would talk about, or if she would think I was funny or interesting.
As a Mum though I do find it harder to make friends, because there is that added awkwardness about whether to bring the baby or not. If I’m bringing my son, then we have to look very hard for child friendly coffee shops or venues, and this usually means a day-time weekend meeting for an hour max, before the coffee shop boots us, or one of the babies kicks off. If I’m not bringing him, then why does it matter if my new friend is a Mum or not, surely it just matters that they are funny and interesting?
So I would like to go one step further with this speed-dating proposal, I suggest we have it open to all, parent or not, to see if there are any more potential friends out there. Unlike life-partners, which I do believe is firmly a one horse town, friends, I can’t have enough of!