Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On Community (a note to self)

Note to self:

When you're having "one of those days" and you see another mom at the playground and think she must be the type who never has "those days," remind yourself you're wrong and say hello.

When you see another young family at church and you wish you could meet them, but figure they probably have plenty of friends and don't want to hang out with little old you, remind yourself you're wrong and introduce yourself.

When you hear that someone is having a baby and want to offer to make them a meal, but are worried that they'll think you're too forward, remind yourself you're wrong and make the offer.

The list could go on and on of the various situations in which insecurities prevent us from forming friendships or creating community.

I  have been there in each of these situations, thinking the other people certainly didn't want to be my friends.  But the crazy part is, in many cases they now are my friends - and I can joke with them now about the insecurities that prevented us from getting to know each other sooner.  One time, on "one of those days," (actually, the day I wrote my stay-at-home-mom challenges post), I was at the playground with Anna and, assuming she had it all together, didn't say anything to the mom pushing her daughter a few swings down - that is, until a mutual friend showed up and introduced us, and the other mom told me she was having "one of those days" and had talked herself out of saying hi to me earlier.  Perhaps we can blame it on my being solidly in the "not cool" camp in high school, but I tend to assume that everyone else is far cooler than me, and that they're too busy with all of their cool friends to talk to me.  I'm learning the lesson (several times over because I seem to be a slow learner in this case) that most people feel the same way.  So we risk just going on in our isolated worlds, wishing for the connections that are right in front of us.  I know it's not just me because my friends have all said it, and fellow bloggers have said it.    We're communal creatures - often without coworkers as stay-at-home moms - and the desire for connections is mutual.

So here's my take-away advice which is as much for myself as for anyone else who's reading:

When you think that you're the only one who is longing for community or friendship or that you're the only one who has these silly insecurities, remind yourself you're wrong and create the community.

I have never regretted someone's introduction or their offer to make a meal or their friendly hello.  With that in mind, I am trying to be the person to make the introduction and the offer and the hello.

I've decided I don't like posts without pictures, so I went through my files to find one that I could marginally connect to the topic.  I figured Anna looked welcoming in her little house (which she LOVED) at the apple orchard!

P.S. Incidentally, I am fighting the urge to just delete this post...(insecurity!)...but I feel like there might be someone out there who needs to hear this.  Or just that it's something that I'll need to read and re-read (especially when we move and I need to do this whole friend/community thing all over again).


  1. Emily, This doesn't change as you get older---just the situations. Creating a community is always good.

  2. I love everything about this post. Especially its truth and encouragement.

  3. I second the previous post. And for what it's worth, I think it does get a little easier to "put yourself out there" with each move.

  4. attagirl! thanks for posting!

  5. This is great! I'm totally guilty of assuming everyone else has friends, has their act together, never has one of those days, ect. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. How brave of you to post this! And look how many people can relate! Sometimes it seems the most obvious things are the ones we need the reminders for the most. Don't be discouraged, you've got so much to offer people (friends & strangers alike!)