Connection not Comparison

I love to entertain. I like hosting dinner parties, game nights, girls’ nights, taco nights you name it, really any excuse to have people gather at my house. We have a wonderful and ever-growing and evolving group of friends, but here’s the thing: Most of my friends have beautiful homes. Like magazine gorgeous homes. My house is small. My furniture is old-ish. I keep things tidy, but I’m not a clean freak. So, I often talk myself out of inviting friends over because I feel inadequate about my house. This is ridiculous; right? So why can’t I get over it?

Hi Honey, I get this and admire you (I am mostly a hermit.) Let me ask you a few things: What do you enjoy most about hosting get-togethers? Do you like hanging out and laughing with your friends? Sharing stories and wine? Do you like to nurture and care for people by feeding them?

Chances are if you love entertaining people, people love coming to your house. I imagine you radiate hospitality and warmth, and your guests probably couldn’t even describe what your old’ish furniture looks like because they come to your house for you: your heart, your love, your kind and welcoming spirit. Maybe the food too?

Lots of my friends have beautiful homes as well, but what sticks out when I visit them is not the size or decor but the energy. It sounds like your home has good energy. I rid myself of people who came to my house with white gloves on, and it sounds like you have too, so don’t get caught in the comparison trap.

I don’t love to host or attend big parties. They drain me. I’m a one-on-one type of person. However, after failed attempts at being part of organized religious groups, hanging out with friends, eating, drinking, talking, laughing has become “church” for me.

So host away! More girls’ nights, taco nights and dinner parties. Play games and share stories and have communion with your friends. Enjoy your parties and don’t give a second thought to whose house is bigger or better because yours is happy and filled with love and so are you.

xoxo

 

Moms, Friends, and Mom Friends

In order for my husband to take a great job opportunity, we moved our little family to a new community at the beginning of the school year. We feel it’s an idyllic place to raise a family, but unfortunately it’s about 100 miles away from our former home. We have two school-aged children and a toddler. My school-aged children have adapted well and are doing great in school. My husband is so happy at his new job. I should be overjoyed because all I’ve ever wanted is to be a stay-at-home mom–which I am now–but I’m feeling kind of lonely and isolated as I don’t have any friends here. I had friends in our old community, but most of them were friends I’d grown up with and people I worked with. How do you make “mom” friends and can they become “real” friends?

Hi honey! Congratulations, it sounds as if you have lots of fun and exciting things going on in your life. However, it also sounds as if you’re in the middle of a lot of transitions physically as well as emotionally. Full disclosure: I went through a bit of an identity crisis when I became a stay-at-home mom, even though it was something I’d always wanted. And being a stay-at-home mom of a toddler can be lonely and isolating as they demand so much attention and depending on his/her age, sometimes they aren’t particularly portable.

The good thing about having school-aged children as well is that you’ve got an “in” to meet other moms. Are your kids involved in sports? Some of my best friends now are other moms I met sitting next to night after night at the baseball field and/or in gymnastics classes.

It is intimidating to enter any new situation. It can feel like everyone already has established groups of friends, and there’s no place for you. But I promise you, that’s probably self-doubt working overtime. Unless you are not a nice person–and you sound like a very nice person–people will want to be friends with you.

What about your kids? You probably gave them a similar kind of pep talk when they changed schools, right? Have they made friends? Do they want to have play dates? Again, some of my very best friends are my kids’ friends’ moms.

I’m an introvert too, and here’s what I’ve found: It’s easier one-on-one. If you can find one person who is open and friendly and established in your new community, try to strike up a conversation. Find common ground. Most people love to talk about themselves. Most people love to talk about their children even more.

Having one good friend to talk to will help alleviate some of the loneliness and isolation you feel. Let me know how it goes!!

xoxo

 

You Win.

Not sure how to write this without sounding childish, but here goes. I have this friend who is ultra-competitive, passive-aggressive, and for lack of a better way to say it copies everything I do and and then tries to pass things off as her original ideas.

For instance, I get a new car–she gets a better new car. I start a “cleanse,” and she posts 90 pics of her new paleo meals–cause she’s paleo now. My kid gets an award at school, and hers enrolls in astronaut camp or some shit.

I know it should not bother me, but it is so ANNOYING!! I can’t really cut her out of my life, and she’s not a bad person … but this behavior drives me crazy.

Hi Honey,

My gut reaction: You must be super-fabulous if someone is trying that hard to be like you. Do you wanna be friends, lol? I promise I won’t copy you 😉 Seriously though, if your life wasn’t so awesome, your friend wouldn’t be trying so hard to emulate your behavior–even while trying to pass your ideas off as her own, which is incredibly annoying.

When I was in 8th grade I told a friend about a pair of shoes I really really wanted. The next day she showed up with the exact shoes I was coveting. I was so pissed, and my mom told me, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But when I finally saved enough money to buy the shoes, it would look like I was copying her. Ugh. Never got the shoes. Lived to tell the story.

Side note: That full quote is “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Well well well, that’s a bit harsher. Oscar Wilde does not play.

But through elementary and middle and high school, I’ve used the same sentiment 5000 times or so with my own girls. And it’s actually started to ring true to me. Even though I still get really fucking pissed about it sometimes. Especially when someone tries to pass off my words or ideas as their own. Work in progress, folks.

During my brief stint as an avid churchgoer, I shared one such annoyance with my pastor about a person who–while actively disliking me–followed my blog and periodically plagiarized my writing in her own posts. His response stuck with me: There’s no such thing as an original idea. Think about it…what you wrote? You probably got the idea from someone else. Most likely someone you admire or who at least inspired you in the moment. So try re-framing it in your mind. No, that person is never going to give you credit, but you can give yourself credit, knowing that you’ve inspired someone else. Even someone who doesn’t like you. That’s something.

Circling back to my original sentiment, I think you must be pretty freaking amazing if your friend wants so badly to be like you. Yes, I agree with you 100 percent, her behavior is super-annoying. But here’s the thing: She’s not fooling anybody. And so what if she is. You are living the fabulous life she is trying so hard to create. You already won.

I really mean it about being friends, and as all my friends know, I’m not even currently interviewing new friends. But I’d make an exception for you 😉