parent opinion

'I'm trying to make friends in my 40s. Other mums keep telling me I'm "too much".'

Growing up, making friends is meant to be a rite of passage. You go to school, find your tribe, then you all go on to live brilliant, super connected lives. But for me, that has been far from reality.

I have a wonderful, albeit quite small, group of friends. They 'adopted' me after high school, and I am so grateful, thankful and #blessed to have them all in my life. But I can’t help but be envious of the friendships they have with each other even after some moving hundreds of kilometres away. They've known each other since kindergarten, are the maid of honour at each other's weddings, they tell stories about 'that time when', but I can't relate because I wasn't there. 

Desperate to find my place, I tried to form a bond with pretty much every single person in my grade at school, but I was too loud, too fat, too pretty, too ugly, too bitchy, too quiet, too try-hard, too boring, too goodie-two-shoes, yet also too left-of-centre. I once overheard two girls saying that I was cool, just in small doses.

Put simply... I was just too much.

Image: Supplied.

My mum put my ‘over-ness’ down to hormones and just being a young girl who was just trying to figure out who she was but fast forward over two decades, and being too much has followed me all the way into adulthood. Workplaces, conferences, music festivals, sporting clubs, actual clubs, even just saying 'hi' to a retailer when I walk into their shop to browse. 


I am starkly aware that I'm not everyone's cup of tea, I can read it on people’s faces, but since having my two daughters and moving towns, I have really made an effort to try to connect with new people. Not just so my girls can see that Mummy has healthy relationships with other women, but because I want to. Because I need to.

By 40, I thought I would have friendships down to an art, that I would know how to pick someone I could relate to and form a mutual bond with. But from my experience to date, it seems as though I can find someone that I can relate to. But they can’t find it with me.

I have tried to form friendships with school mums, people up the street, friends of friends, even the lady who works at our local tavern. I dream of sharing BBQs on the weekend, group holidaying at Seaworld and going to the movies whilst our kids sleep at home under the watchful eye of our partners. But no one wants a bar of me.  

I have tried a number of ‘pick up’ lines to see if it might help, but there always seems to be the quick rebuttal that doesn't result in things going any further...

Me: 'Our girls should hang out sometime!'
Them: 'We have so many playdates, I have no idea when she'd find the time!'


Me: 'Did you see that Guy Sebastian is coming to town?'
Them: 'Yes! I'm so excited, my friend Kelly will be so excited.' 

Me: 'Does your daughter play sport? Mine's looking for a new team.'
Them: 'She just signed on for touch footy. Her team is full though.'

Me: 'We should grab a coffee in the morning while the kids are training.'
Them: 'Sounds great!' (Then on the day they proceed to avoid me like the plague, and I spy them eating a B&E in the bush).

Watch: Best friends: Translated. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Someone once told me that I’m a bit like a Labrador – I concentrate on something for a little while but then am easily distracted by something shiny on the other side of the room. I’m excitable, I have a really loud laugh and when I find someone I like, I want to like them forever. I didn’t realise until recently that this may have been an insult; a negative judgement on my character that alludes to the suggestion that I should maybe rethink the way I approach others. That maybe I should be someone else. If that is the case, then that hurts. Real bad.


In all of my vulnerability and desperation to find someone who was my person, I put it all out there on one occasion and told one mum that I would like to be her friend. You know what she did? She laughed and said, 'Oh my God, you're so cute'. Honestly, it feels like I’ve spent a lifetime dating and I will never ever find my match.

One evening, I confessed to my husband that I feel lonely. He of course offered words of comfort like ‘you’ll be right’ and ‘you’ve got heaps of friends’, but when I tried to explain further, his eyes glazed over. Not because he wasn’t listening, or he wasn’t interested, but because he didn’t get it. He couldn’t understand.

Image: Supplied.

My husband doesn’t ‘friend’ like I do. He doesn’t seem to crave the human affection and connection that comes with my need for having girlfriends around. He can quite happily sit on the lounge and watch the footy alone whereas I get ants in my pants and find myself yearning for someone to play with me. 


My husband finally blinked (phew, he was still in there!) and said something that was all too familiar – that maybe I’m too much for some people. My eyes widened as I stared at him. He instantly started apologising, but he was right. I am a lot. And maybe that means too much. Too much colour. Too much conversation. Too much fun. Too much excitement for the things that most people don’t get excitement from. Too much to be a friend. 

To begin with, I continued to try to connect with the new people around me, going over to say hi when I saw them, asking them about their weekends, but the nonchalant answers just continued. Now, I no longer ask. I’ll still smile if they walk past and accidentally make eye contact with me but other than that, I feel like I’m not worthy of their time. Or perhaps, just not confident enough to keep trying. I believe that the heart can only take so much rejection before it starts to feel different. 

As I sit here and reflect, I can’t help but wonder - is making new friends just something people don't do after 40? Is me trying to form connections such a foreign concept that it pushes people away? Or do I simply need to come to terms with the fact that I really am, just too much? And if so, then what?

Feature Image: Supplied.

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