I feel a bit foolish using the world “popular” as an adult. It seems like a word that should be left to those battling their way through the social dramas of middle school hallways and high school social hierarchies.
Unfortunately, unlike many of the less pleasant parts of adolescence such as braces, acne and bad perms, popularity followed us into adulthood. And for most of us who didn’t quite fit in as tweens and teens, we find it is no different as grown women, and especially as moms.
Perhaps you are like me and you just aren’t the warm and fuzzy type. Although I am quite chatty, at heart I’m an introvert, and I often come off as somewhat intense and standoffish.
I have a handful of life long friends who still tell stories about when they first met me and how they thought I was an “ice princess”, a “snob” or one even uses the less flattering “B” word.
These friendships have endured three decades proving that first impressions aren’t always reliable, but the busy pace of our adult world rarely leaves us the time to give people a first chance, let alone a second.
This makes life even more difficult for those of us that need more time to make a connection as we face all the new social circles that come with motherhood; mommy and me groups, PTA and soccer moms. What’s worse is our outsider status can feel like it not only has consequences for us, but for our children.
However, take heart, especially if you are a new mom trying to navigate these waters. Because what we learn over time about popularity is that it is made up of the thinnest of social fabric. When we are young, it can look sexy and appealing, but as we get older, many of us begin to see right through it.
We begin to recognize that there is a difference between a clique and a tribe. A clique is often based on surface qualities. The friendships formed are rarely built on accepting individuality, but rather on a willingness to conform.
A tribe on the other hand goes much deeper. It’s no longer about trying to fit in, but instead it becomes about letting people in so they can truly get to know you. These will be “your people” for life.
As I mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to have found my tribe early in my life, but now we all are scattered across the country. So, in my day-to-day mommy world there are still times when I struggle to create new friendships and feel the sting of being left out.
When that happens, I can always call on one of my tribe to remind me that having even one true friend is more valuable than having dozens of friends and still feeling alone.
As a recent quote I found says, “The older I get, the more selective I am about who is in my tribe. I would rather have four quarters than a hundred pennies.”
Need a little more mom encouragement: