Monday, April 26, 2010

Friends who make you feel insecure.

Some women seem designed to make you question how entertaining you are. Are you fun, are you stylish, is your house a thing from the pages of Elle Magazine? Are your children from the pages of a Boden catalogue? Or are you more likely to be from the pages of Mumsy Magazine Quarterly (in this months issue - how to blend in with your oatmeal coloured sofa. Simply wear your usual dull clothes and ensure you don't apply lipstick. That should do it!)

There is a saying that you should live in the worst house in the best area. I am not sure if this holds water. We do, and it sucks. Just a bit. Our house is not tiny, but it is bijou. It is charming. It has mismatched rental furniture which is always just a bit sticky despite cleaning. It could fit into the extension of the house around the corner from us. All around us though it is like Wisteria Lane. Yummy Mummy's, gorgeous flaxen haired children romping about in clap-board New Englandly mansions. We look a bit like trailer trash compared to them. Having the worst house in the best area is a recipe for discontent. (I fully, fully acknowledge that compared to real suffering this is extremely minor league. Having sticky furniture is not a national emergency.)

And it is not to say that the mum's aren't lovely folk. They are. Very warm and welcoming. But you have to sing for your supper with quite a few of them. It is like trying to keep up with the popular cheerleaders in school, when you know that really your should be with the band geeks. These mums have really opened their hearts (concealed in perfectly gym-toned bodies) and doors (architect designed) to me, but there is a part of me that feels insecure that there doesn't seem to be conditional friendship there. I'm absolutely sure that I am reading too much into it, but I sense I have accidently started moving in circles of the super-wealthy 'royalty' in this area.

On the other hand, I have made some 'warm bath water' friends. They kind of friends who look a little frayed around the edges, don't have personal trainers and admit to their imperfections. When you are at coffee with them it is like immersing yourself in a warm bath and going 'ahhhhhh' with pleasure that you can be yourself.

Why do I run myself down? My children are both flaxen-haired, we are not slack-jawed fools (infact, I would probably be classified as 'a bit posh and brainy' back in England), and although I talk way to much, I am generally considered entertaining. Why am I put off these women by the fact that their kitchens and abdominal muscles look like perfection?

Perhaps it is that they are not a perfect fit for me, nor I for them. So the kitchens and abdominals are a good scapegoat.

It takes a while when you move to a new place to find out which friends are glitter, and which friends are gold.


  1. May you find your "gold" friends and hold on to them. Friendships are so important and you should never have to try and be someone that you are not (your 'warm water' bathroom friends sound lovely) x

  2. Your last line sums it up perfectly, having moved so many times I know this to be true. I tend more towards the imperfect abs, heart and bog standard door myself. I would feel uncomfortable with consistent perfection, being honest, it would wear me out. It's not me. Doesn't sound like it is you either and you sound perfectly normal to me :) Jen.

  3. Hi - this is quite a thought-provoking post from lots of angles for me. I am sure if you move to a new country there must always be a feeling that you are an outsider...even if you are no different to anyone else who is a local. Plus there is just something about mothers - they do, especially en masse have the ability to sap one's confidence. And then not to mention how making new friends can actually make you miss the old friends you had.

    I do hope its not getting you down. Even people with perfect houses and perfect bodies and perfect children have imperfections and discontentment. Its just about the front they put on to the world. Over time, true friends will make themselves known I am sure. x

  4. Ah yes I have friends like this.
    Women know how to strike a blow with just one raised eyebrow.

  5. Great post. Love the last line and the 'warm bath water' friends. I know the feeling. Where I used to live was a bit like that - it was all taffeta ball gowns (for the babies) for their cruises and prams worth more than our car. But it sounds like you have made some good friends. The other ones are probably just as insecure in their own ways.

  6. I know a lot of mums like this too and the funny thing is it's women like you and me who make them feel insecure. They get a lot of their confidence from their impeccably high standards and being able to beat their friends at the game. When someone comes along that just doesn't want to play, it wigs them out a bit and they secretly admire us for not being sucked in. Apparently.

  7. Hi!
    i love this post for how real the feelings you write about are. I love what you write about and how you write. I'd like to add you to my blog roll, Can I?

  8. Thanks for all the responses!
    Think I must have hit a nerve there with all of you, that even at my advancing age it is still possible to feel like the last one picked on a team!
    @Sunflower - thank you!
    @Expat- I hope it is also that way around.LOL.
    @Deer Baby - taffeta ball gowns? for babies? I used to wear a fair bit of that in the 80's. Yipes.
    @Thrify Mrs - fab comment about the raised eyebrow!!
    And thank you LooBoo Jen and Suzanne for commenting as well. You are all wise women!

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