Well, here we are. All moved and stuff.
We’ve been in the new house a grand total of ten days now. All the boxes are unpacked, the broadband is set up (miracles do happen) and I’m at the point now where I have time to sit back and reflect. What I realised, on reflection, is that I have moved us to a city where basically none of us know anybody.
And yes, I knew that really, but I was so focussed on the long-term, on the picture in my head of us all thriving in a vibrant city, surrounded by interesting people and activities, that I forgot about the bit in between, the bit where you have to go out and meet people.
“When are people going to make friends with me?” I asked Bee this morning in a slightly feeble voice.
She looked pityingly at me, but wasn’t able to offer any concrete answers.
Bee has two months of lying in bed and eating toast to do before she starts her new college, but I’m sure that as soon as she does, it won’t be long before she’s gathered a new group of girls with dyed black hair, and scruffy boys, unable to draw their eyes away from her chest. Belle has started already, wasting no time in making friends at her new school. She’s even ingratiated herself with the neighbours already, managing to get herself invited round for tea with a girl in our street, just by knocking on the door and asking.
It doesn’t quite work like that for grown ups though does it? I don’t think I’d get quite so friendly a reaction if I simply spotted someone of a similar age, knocked on their door, and asked if they’d like to play Sylvanian Families with me. Making friends as an adult seems to be a more complicated process.
The obvious place for me to meet new people would be school, but playgrounds have always scared me, probably both a cause and a symptom of my questionable level of popularity during my own school years.
When you think moving schools, the focus is of course on the child, and how they will settle in, but what about the parents? How do you go about breaking into the established parent friendship groups? How, with just five minutes at either end of the day, do you make friends on the playground?*
Never one to wait for things to happen to me, I am seizing the bull by the horns and on Thursday will be attending many parent’s worst nightmare – a PTFA meeting. If I can’t win friends with my personality, I can definitely win them with my efficient administrative and fundraising skills.
I just need to learn the lessons from school and not put my hand up for everything. I won’t learn of course – I never could control my arm at school either. I will come home as the Treasurer, I just know it. Still, it’ll be a small price to pay if I make a friend or two.**
*If you are reading this and happen to be a parent at Belle’s school, please go and say hello to the lonely looking woman standing on her own. Actually, if you are a parent at any school you should do that. That would be a Nice Thing.
**I am aware that this has a slightly desperate edge to it. I do HAVE friends, I would just like some within a 30 mile radius.