Friday, September 30, 2011

Thoughts of the Week - Odd Girl Out

I took this post down early this morning for 2 reasons:
1. I was afraid I wasn't clear about my friendships and that I'd hurt 3 of my best girlfriend's feelings.  Right after college I met 3 amazing woman; Jen, Kimberly and Lea.  We are all still best of friends today.  But because of distance and other factors, it's always hard for us to connect on a regular basis and always has been.  It wasn't until I also met my current "mommy" friends that I have what I have always craved; a sense of community, a support system.  A group of woman that I can spontaneously call up and say let's meet for a cup of coffee, or can I drop off my kids for a while.  It took me 30 years to find a 'group' of friends if you will, where I feel whole.  

2. After recently helping to host a blog conference, I didn't want to seem like I was anti-social media friendships because I'm not at all.  In fact I've been able to turn a couple of online friendships into awesome real life friendships.  What I was trying to convey though is that sometimes we/I can let myself get too wrapped up in how people see me or building connections with people that I may never actually meet in person.  Instead I need to make sure I'm first and foremost growing my 'in real life' relationships.  

I had 2 very sweet friends email me today and offer encouragement after reading the post before I pulled it.  Their words touched me and of course, brought me to tears, so because of their kindness I'm posting it back up...so here you go...yes, I'm crazy :)
A friend invited me to lunch today.  We went to a new restaurant and I tried oxtail poutine for the first time.  I guess it's a Canadian specialty?  I have to be honest, while such a simple act, an invitation to lunch, it made me feel special.

It's taken me a long time to feel comfortable with woman, and secure in the friendships I have.  30 years to be exact.  The stemming of my insecurities with female relationships is so painfully obvious it almost seems contrived.  In a nutshell, odd girl out one week, good girl in next week BS throughout school left me feeling unstable and left me questioning most female relationships I made all throughout high school and college.  I wish I could say the friends I made in college are still my BFF's, but not even close.  Aside from 1 girl, and my 2 sisters, my entire bridal party would be different now than it was 12 years ago. 

Now I feel like I've finally found a group of friends that believe in me, that love me and care for me, that I can depend on and call on for just about anything.  If you've had a group of friends like this for a while, I'm truly happy for you, because the gift of female friendship is one of the sweetest gifts you can have.  If you haven't found that group of friends yet, don't lose hope, it can still be out there for you in the least unlikely of places.  Like I said, 30 years right here.

This week I've been a bit emotional if I'm to be honest.  Exhaustion mixed with self doubt can prove to be a bad concoction.  Someone wrote to tell me I was so much nicer in person than they expected me to be after meeting me at Blog Sugar combined with the other comment that has since been cleared up, left me feeling at times, well a little crappy.  I even asked a few friends if I come across as bitchy on here or something.

While I don't dare dismiss the friendships I've made online because many of them are true, 100% real worthwhile relationships worth fostering and growing, all this angst made me realize that it's the friendships in real life that are what are truly important.  It's the friendships of those that I see on a regular basis in the flesh that matter the most, and the ones that I need concern myself with above all else.  So while we can make hundreds of friends on Facebook and gain thousands of Twitter and blog followers, it's really those chicas that you have to come face-to-face with that take precedence.

I've known this all along, honest I have, but that invitation to lunch today was the perfect little reminder considering my feelings this week.  It all dawned on me tonight as I was lying in bed with Syd, helping him fall asleep.  A dark quiet room with a sleepy little boy lying next to you usually helps to pull all sorts of things into perspective.  As I write this I cry, because I cry at everything really.  But I really am grateful for all my friends.  Thank you friend for inviting me to lunch today.  It was just what I needed and I love you for it.


  1. Oh I hear you! Such a great post, and perfect for me to read. Thank you so much!!

  2. I totally feel like I am finally finding my friends now. I really believe that it is because I have now started including God into the mix.

    We will disagree or miscommunicate with each other, but nothing is ever so drastic and dramatic anymore because we always come back to our common place.

    I love Jesus. You love Jesus. Let's find peace because that is what He would want for us.

    Thank you for posting this... it really spoke to me...

    AND you are just as beautiful and nice in real life as you are on here... some people shouldn't really be allowed to talk ;)

    Amber Van Duyn

  3. It's funny that this post came for me with such great timing. This is something I've been mulling over lately. I've ALWAYS struggled with female friendships. They say it's something chemical..who knows. But I've always had closer friendships with men and still do. I do have some close girlfriends but do I have a BEST girlfriend...not even close. I wish I didn't feel this way, but friendships w/ women can be difficult and tend to feel like a competition. Is it something I do? I'm not sure. I think this is a longer conversation to be honest, that might require a bottle of wine. Ha! Thank you posting this and making us all realize we are not alone with these feelings.

  4. I can't write much on this topic because it's always been a difficult one for me. But you give me hope that even at 31 (almost 32) years old I can still find a great group of friends. Andrea, like I wrote in my post about Blog Sugar, I found you welcoming instantly. You made me feel comfortable. Someone at blog sugar commented to me that they didn't realize I was so "smiley"... guess I come across on the blog as a grump. ;)

  5. Wow. Thank you for this. Like Shelley said, this is perfect timing for my situation too. We recently moved and I miss my friends like no other. It hurts. I think I make a friend here and it's not as important to them as it is to me, because they've already got their friends. Just hurts.

  6. I completely relate. I didn't have one REAL long lasting female friendship where I truly felt comfortable until just recently. I met these women through a local volunteer organization and they have changed my life. They've brought casseroles, bottles of wine, and kindness whenever I've needed them and have made me feel safe in doing the same. My best friend of 18 years is a guy and I love him, but nothing compares to having someone who GETS you as a mom, wife, sister, daughter. I'm grateful for these women EVERY SINGLE DAY and you write about it beautiful. And you aren't bitchy. In person or online.

  7. I think we have different sorts of friendships at different stages of our life.
    And friendships change at different stages of our life too.
    Friendship is a living thing, it grows stronger and weaker or just different.
    It can be hard sometimes to accept those changes--especially when what was once storng is no longer so.
    I, too, have struggled with girlfriends for much of my life. I had friends that broke my heart.
    But in the last few years I have found friendships that are the dearest, deepest of my life.
    Maybe because we are all finally growing up?
    Glad you shared this Andrea. It gives us pause to think and be thankful for our firendships.
    And yes, you are crazy.
    But just a little bit.
    And we love you for it. :)
    Love from,

  8. hello! i was at blog sugar and i sat close to you during heather's talk. (i didn't think you asked too many questions!) anyway, i never got to say hi, but i did want to say that i just found your blog and couldn't stop reading it last night. and then this morning - i'm in love with this post. i can SO relate.

  9. I can totally relate with you when you say your bridal party would be completely different now than it was when you got married. Ive said the same thing many times.
    And I think one of the greatest things I came away from BS weekend with was that online friends turned into REAL LIFE friends. Those connections ran deep and now Im thrilled to say that I made some lasting connections...all they way out in California!
    At the same time, it makes my heart ache that those girls are all the way across the country. I cant just meet up with them and go shopping or out to eat with them. And yet I feel like I have more in common with them than I do with my friends here in NY. So that realization has been tough on me.
    Regardless, Im very thankful for BS and making friends...old and new:)
    And I hope my comment before about not introducing myself to you didnt come off wrong. In fact, I was very touched at how sensitive you were in the sessions and also while up front. You and I would get along great if we lived next door:)

  10. I have struggled with this too. My closest friends are from high school not college, but we are spread apart now. I have a few close friends now that I'm close to, but they are not connected to each other. I miss having a tight knit group of friends.
    P.S. You are warm and kind and just as I expected at blog sugar.

  11. andrea!!!!

    also, you are a delight. you radiate beauty and class AND warmth and love. i've felt super comfortable with you online for awhile. meeting you at blog sugar proved it in real life: you are a treat. you're very different than me, i adore that. i need that.

    love you, and goodness am i thankful for you! also, will you be my sister?

  12. i wasn't planning on commenting, but came back to the computer to do just that... i find that the older i get, the easier friendships become. when i was younger, i felt like i had to have it all figured out and had to prove myself to others. in my mid-thirties, i realize that i don't know much :) and it's by God's grace that i have the wonderful relationships that i do. God made us to crave relationships. we need them to survive in this world. extending his grace to our friends (and everyone we meet) is the way i want to live my life. i've also gotten very good at saying sorry, a skill that definitly takes growing up!
    p.s. if you ever want to go to lunch, i'd love that!!

  13. Interesting to read your thoughts about the blog you pulled and then re-posted. Thanks for letting us into that window of your heart. I guess that just shows that you *are a good friend, a kind friend who wouldn't want to talk up something you have now at the expense of what you didn't have then.

    It's a good reminder that friendships can be as much or as little as we make them. Sometimes being a better, more-involved friend is a better choice than looking for something different. Sometimes you need to keep searching for those hearts that are "kindred spirits."

    You've got me thinking, now....friendship is so simple at its truest core, but yet so complex. I'm glad that you have the warm cozy sweater of it in your life.

  14. When I read that love/hate comment the other day, it was on my mind for awhile because I don't understand how anyone can read your blog, filled with such introspective honesty and humility, and feel anything but love for you. Even if I'm not particularly interested in the topic, I enjoy reading all of your posts. Like Blog Sugar ... totally not my thing ... but I read about it and looked at the pictures because I enjoy the journey you take us on. I especially like reading the posts like this one when you let us in on your thought process and your doubts and your craziness ... because we all do that! It's refreshing to see that someone who appears to be all neat and put-together and fashionable is still just as crazy and imperfect as I am on the inside. I actually like you more after reading your blogs for the past year or so than I did when I first met you. Not that I didn't like you before! I did, I swear ... please don't take that the wrong way. Even though you were always nice to me, if I'm being honest with myself, I've always been a little intimidated by fashionable women. I've always felt a little like Molly Ringwald in Pretty In Pink where I just don't fit in with the popular crowd ... and to me fashion = popular. But reading your blogs made me explore that feeling and how I judged you by this image I had of you which was not fair. Thank you for being so honest in your blog and opening my eyes to this bias I had within me. Maybe that person with the love/hate relationship with you has their own feelings or biases that they haven't yet explored. Anyway, this comment is getting way too long and I hope it came off as I intended which was not to make you feel crappy but to be encouraging.

  15. I've been blessed with a "best friend for the past twenty-two years but as we live in different cities and our kids go to different schools our circles have grown and changed in the day to day setting. Friendships take effort and sometimes when all is said and done it's hard to give when you're giving to so many others: husband, kids, work, etc....You are a sweetheart. I'm so glad I got to meet you and hug you in real life: )

  16. I've often commented that my bridal party would be different today than it was 15 years ago too- but that's ok! At that time in my life, those women were the most important people in my life- as we age (and move far away), it does take time to develop close relationships with women- but as a mom- we need to have at least 1 person to go through the journey of parenthood with (besides our husbands).

    I think this is a very beautiful and honest post- and your friends from college know you've drifted apart, that is normal.

  17. I truly love this post becaue I can relate on so many levels. It's been hard to cultivate real and "true" friendships with women for one reason or another over the years. the ones I let in I found weren't really true and the ones that were have stood the test of time. I'm getting back to having that core group of local friends and that feels good.
    I LOVED meeting you and no without a doubt if I lived closer we would be shopping/wine/craft buddies.
    It's hard to find your niche and once you do it seems we all wonder:"what took me so long to get HERE?" i'm glad that you too are finding comfort & strength in your relationships because that is something so special, it's hard to go through life without it.
    all my love,

  18. Isn't it sad how girls can make each other feel that way in high school? I and even some of my friends still struggle with female relationships due to the same "drama" as I saw in high school. Now I just avoid the drama croud and have been blessed with some great friends - the game changes when you become a mom and don't have time for the BS.

  19. oops - I meant drama crowd - guess I need more caffeine.

  20. LOVE this post. LOVE it. I can relate. I also have 2 sisters & we all get along incredibly well, we are best friends for sure. My best friend who lived next door to me growing up also went to the same college, but then she & her hubby stayed in Colorado. So although I have my sisters & a best friend, I don't have that "group" of BEST girl friends. In the past few years, I have also found a core group of girls who would do anything for me & vice versa. My bridal party would also be WAY different than it was 9 years ago. Only 3 of 7 would be the same.


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