3 Tips for Making Friends in the ‘Burbs

Dear future Suburban friend,

I apologize this note may be honestly harshly worded, but all I could fit into this morning were my cranky pants.

So here’s the thing: I’m getting a little tired of “life in the suburbs” which began when we moved to TX almost 6 years ago. It took an eye opening post from The Suburban Jungle – which you can find here - to help me see why I was completely justified. As Jenny points out, LIB (life in the ‘burbs) can be a little confining. Limiting. Claustrophobic. Maddening. Just because we live 30 minutes away from a hip, metropolitan area doesn’t mean we have to be so defined, does it?

 

First of all, it’s important to make as many friends as you can. You may think you’re safe living in a smaller town. Perhaps you live with the misguided idea that your ilk are trustworthy, normal, or even less prone to violent acts than most. Guess what – that’s not the case. The homicide rate may be dropping (according to the US Department of Justice blog), but it’s only dropping in CITIES - not the ‘burbs!

Bottom line, widen your circle of friends: it improves the odds that it won’t be you that gets whacked.

Feeling a little more open to meeting people around you now? Great! As such, I’d like to offer 3 suggestions for getting to know the mom who lives nearby / you bump into at kid’s school events / you see at football game (okay, I’ll drop the pretense – it’s me).

1. Feel free to ask “what do you do?” – I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Believe it or not, women work and have careers! Isn’t that amazing? I know it can be a shock, but in places outside your lovely suburban locale, there are these swaths of women who are driven by this motivation to I don’t know – EAT. And pay their RENT. And add to our RETIREMENT. It could be that once we got the right to vote we just got a little heady and realized, you know what, these pants I’m wearing fit nicely!

But if we happen to stay home, that’s okay – you can still ask us about what we enjoy, beyond our kids. Try something like, “So you do work, just not outside the home. But tell me, what do you do when you have a spare 3 minutes? Go!”. Guess what, there are women who balance kids with something else they enjoy that you might find interesting. Get to know us!

2. If you find out we work outside the home, please try not to adopt a pitying look. Believe it or not, I have gotten this mostly from women and it’s enough to make me want to take a fork and drive it through their throats. Work can be irritating, infuriating, frustrating, yes. But work can also be awesome. Earning a bonus rocks (especially for those of us who can be described as ‘coin operated’).

3. If I’ve started a business, feel free to ask about it! Actually, after reading Jenny’s blog I now get why people don’t ask about women’s businesses. Believe me, I’ve encountered my share of craft businesses - geez, makes me wish I’d invested in Michael’s stock.

Here’s a quick guide to identifying potential “I make bedazzled teddy bears”- businesses:

  • Check family member clothing – does the speaker or any members of their immediate family sport an unfathomable  amount of glitter that appear self adhered?
  • Do their pets wear unreasonably nice attire or anything that the owner describes as a “fur accent?”
  • If the owner is not present, could you tell that by the pictures of their pets scattered around the house?
  • Were said pictures in what are obviously hand made frames decorated with random crap?

If none of these apply, chances are they may be involved in a business that is non crafty. Congratulations, you may now ask them about it! I recently met a woman who started playing poker as a hobby – until she was sponsored at the World Poker Championships! Another woman I met wrote for Playboy; how many questions would you want to know about THAT? A recent colleague of mine had an awesome yarn about growing up above a morgue (“we were that family in 6 feet under. Halloween was awesome.”).

 

With that, I’m off – got to prepare for a few meetings this week in the hopes that my online business can help me achieve world domination. Luckily, my target audience is people who live in urban areas – lucky bastards.

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  1. Wow, no respect! I can totally see people from Texas saying, “So how’s your little project coming along? That sounds like fun.” And you wanting to rip their head off! Maybe it is time to move!

    • I’m pretty sure I’m dealing with a case of ‘the grass is greener’. I’ll be honest, I do enjoy driving less than 3.6 miles to do everything I need to do on a daily basis…

  2. I’m pretty sure it’s a case of ‘the grass is greener’. I’ll be honest, I do enjoy driving less than 3.6 miles to do everything I need to do on a daily basis…

  3. Although I would never call NMG “little,” I must speak in defense of Texans. “Little” isn’t meant as an insult. I always call my blog “little,” even though it’s clearly the 4th funniest blog on the Internet. People call their $3.6 million oil patches “little,” as in “That little 400 acre field near Midland is really doin’ well right now.” Oh, and half the people who live in this suburb are actually from Alabama. Let’s make fun of them!

    • Ahh – sort of like “bless your heart” (which really doesn’t mean that at all). I’m getting it!

  4. As a native Texan, I truly believe that Texas is the greatest state in the nation – I have to, I can’t deny it, it’s in my DNA. However, from living abroad for 8 years before moving home, I can also empathize with the folks who aren’t from these parts. I’ve been told by EVERY SINGLE PERSON who moved to our particular small town from anywhere else on earth, that it is a difficult town in which to live. Everyone has too deep of roots, too many skeletons, too much history, too hung up on Old vs. New Money, and are too insular to invite “outsiders” into their circles. It makes me sad to think that my fellow Texans are that way; after all, our motto is “friendship.” Hope it gets better for you and that you meet a fabulous bunch of good people soon. If not, you are always welcome here for coffee. :) Found you through Bloggy Moms.
    Pary Moppins recently posted..Brookshire’s Coupon Matchups 1/9 – 1/15My Profile

    • Mary – please know that Texans are among the friendliest people I’ve ever met. I should have mentioned in the blog that many of the folks in my area are transplants and not native Texans!

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