I know what you’re thinking — the title to this post is just wrong. You’re probably already judging me and are glad I don’t like playdates, because you wouldn’t want to hang out with me anyway. Or perhaps you're disappointed, because you were hoping to be my friend.
Either way, give me a second and let me explain myself.
I’ll spare you the back story of how I’m a hidden introvert who comes off as an extrovert, because I don’t mind being around people. But I almost always hate being around strangers.
Picture it: you’re a new mom. You’re on maternity leave or you’ve left your job to be an at-home mom, and you really want to do a good job at this mommy’ing thing. You’ve read books and blog posts, and consulted your baby’s pediatrician and Dr. Google more times than you’d like to admit. It’s all fun and games until you look around and realize that you’re amazingly lonely.
Maybe your spouse is wonderfully supportive, or you have other supportive people in your life who are there for you. But it still isn't enough. You crave the understanding and support that you can really only get from a very specific group, a group of moms who also have small children.
It sounds good in theory, it really does. I’m not against the concept of mamas getting together to chat while their babies play. But man, said concept never works out the way newbies like me want it to.
I have no problem networking at a conference, but put me with a bunch of sleep deprived moms and babbling babies and I’m like a deer caught in headlights.
Playdates suck because they are so incredibly awkward. They just are. Granted, I’m an introverted woman who has started more friendships online than in person. But really, there is no way to effectively step into a room full of women and their babies and not feel a little, you know, awkward. The moms are only interested in talking about their baby, comparing their baby with your baby or speaking amongst themselves in hushed whispers.
Am I really supposed to hang goofy around all of you strangers?
I really have no problem acting a fool in public. I don’t live life so seriously that I can’t sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" loudly and off-key. This is all okay in my living room or around people who actually know me. But around strangers? It just feels strange. I know I shouldn’t care and should really focus on being in the zone with my kid, but yeah, no.
How do I start a conversation?
At most of the playdates I’ve been to, I have never known how to approach people. I have no problem networking at a conference, but put me with a bunch of sleep-deprived moms and babbling babies and I’m like a deer caught in headlights. It really shouldn’t be that difficult, because we clearly have a common connection.
I really shouldn’t hate playdates too much because of the two that I’ve been to over the last couple years, I've managed to make two close friends. One thing we all have in common is that we agreed playdates are awkward. And we haven’t returned.
Is it just me or do you also find playdates to be just awful?