Asking her if she wanted to be friends was awkward. Embarrassing. On a scale of one to ten, it fell somewhere between spinach in the teeth and accidentally texting an ex. It was akin to passing gas in church or bouncing a daycare check.
The only other woman at the meeting for new employees was a rare breed: a woman I instantly connected with. She was smart, smarter than I am. She dressed stylishly without a hint of materialism or snobbishness. She probably wouldn’t judge me for watching The Bachelor, I thought. But I shouldn’t tell her about The People’s Court.
I’d moved back to my hometown to get married, and in the five years I’d been gone most of my friends had moved away. In the past I hadn’t had trouble making friends, but suddenly I found myself in between single gal and mommy. In college there were roommates and sorority sisters, classmates and coworkers my age. Things in common weren’t hard to find, especially over a pitcher of cheap beer.
But in the years since, friends had spread out across the country in search of themselves. Some had married. Some were coupled up like me. Some had chosen to pursue grad school, and others were on their way up the corporate ladder. No matter where we were in our lives, it seemed that girlfriends had been pushed to the back burner and other priorities stood out in front.
I missed it.
As teenagers we were inseparable. The kind of friends that travel in herds, slinking out of bedroom windows, coming to each other’s rescue. We were a wild tribe of blood sisters, howling at the moon.
I’ve cherished other friendships, stood up in other weddings, held other women’s chubby-legged babies. But I’d never again have friends like the girls I grew up with. And sure, we’d stayed in touch, but there was still something…missing.
One day I realized that there was no one local who I could just call.
The friend to see the silly romantic comedy with, both of you knowing it’ll end with kissing and a triumphant song by “The Supremes.”
The friend to get a manicure with on a Saturday afternoon.
The friend to approve my thrown-together outfit for the fancy work affair.
In a late night conversation with my brand new husband, I admitted a secret I’d been holding in my heart: that I didn’t want him to be my best friend. I missed the companionship that only girls can provide, the raw honesty when you need it, the white lies when you don’t. The intuition, the phone calls, the borrowing of earrings and the trading of truths.
It sounds like you need to find some friends, he said.
And with that, I made it a mission. I was going to recruit a new tribe, not to replace the old one, of course, but to move into this new stage of life with me.
The woman at the new employee orientation was just the beginning. Sure, it was awkward asking if she’d like to meet for coffee sometime. Yes, I felt like I was asking her out on a date.
But I did it. And I’m so glad I took that step.
Even if it ranked up there with realizing toilet paper was stuck to my shoe.
Curvy Girl Guide Contributor, Mary Lauren Weimer, is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and write their own stories. Find her on Facebook.