The a.card or how not to make friends.

I am not ok. yeah, #fml !
Lots of stuff has happened already this year, health things, money things, no-job-for-me things, and I feel that it’s getting all a bit much.

I know it sounds whingey, but after soldiering on for well over a decade now, at the moment, I feel my life has simply a little bit too many obstacles to be an adventure. And I feel alone.

Yes, I know, the best remedy for some of my problems would be to MINGLE, make friends, get out.. but, unfortunately, that’s not that easy for me.

In my mother tongue, there is an expression for a situation where you are somewhat handicapped so you can only lose :

you have been handed the “arsehole card.”

three_acesThe origin isn’t quite clear, maybe soccer, maybe card games.. For really desperate cases, people will sometimes say : that’s a double a-card !
Well, let me present you :
my personal TRIPLE arsehole card pack!

1. I am foreign. That isn’t a problem as such, it makes for a good conversation starter. But expatriated twice now I have found confirmed what expats told me before and it was the same in the first country I lived. Here is how it goes : You meet new people. First it’s kind of exotic that you are foreign and they want to know lots of stuff. You tell. (Europe is very far and different for Australians). THEN people get used to you and get back to talking about other things. Now you need to find something concrete that you have in common with your new friends (parenthood alone doesn’t usually cut it), or you drop out of the gang. Because you cannot relate. You do not share the collective memories they have, you are not fond of those particular cookies, you don’t know that tv series!  You might throw in an anecdote about your stuff and your memories.. but their interest  only goes so far and in reality, now you create more distance. You might unintentionally criticize something they cherish since their childhood. You start to get those empty glances that mean “don’t know, don’t care”. Retreat.

2. I have been into hell and back.
Now without trying to sound dramatic, and certainly without giving any details, I had some VERY extreme life experiences in the past, in the context of and following domestic violence.
I have ‘survived’ ,as they say, long-term physical and mental abuse. I also have PTSD.
When we make friends (or try to) at first, we basically keep it a bit light and casual, and as I said under point 1. already that isn’t without difficulties for me.

But then, sometimes, I just can.not.small.talk.

I will make a “friend” one day, then see her again and, while she might be open for another chat or maybe even wants to have a coffee somewhere – my on-board mood regulator being instable as it is, I won’t be able to deal with it, and will back out, hide away, cancel.
Or I will just talk a LOT, and I mean TOO MUCH, so that I don’t have to really talk, if you know what i mean. Either way, I am not extremely good, or simply no company at all.

finally, 3. My child has autism.
Please don’t think that i am BLAMING my son – who obviously struggles with social interactions – for my own failure to connect with MY peers. But! I am desperately trying to get at least some loose friendships going with mothers of kids in his grade so that HE can also profit from it. Don’t all kids find friends in school ? Sadly, this just doesn’t work, as in addition to my own problems (a-cards 1 and 2) the kids aren’t overly keen to hang out with Nemo either. Oh, he has really progressed with peer integration during the last year and spends his lunch break with a group of boys he calls friends. I am thrilled about that. But there are still incidents on a daily basis. I have been exchanging mobile numbers like a needy teenager with some of the mums, and honestly, without much result.
No child is begging their mum to have my son over after school or for a sleepover. We do not get invited for birthdays or barbeques.
This is actually why I hurt most.

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6 thoughts on “The a.card or how not to make friends.

  1. vickyfinch

    I could say something profound and uplifting, but I won’t. Because sometimes life just fucking sucks.

    I’ll wave though, as a fellow traveller on this journey we find ourselves on. Hopefully you will get something out of the post that I will eventually write that I have been researching about.

    Xxx

    Reply
    1. nikki Post author

      it’s ok. i wasn’t expecting anything. i just had to get my frustration out and formulate what i felt makes me so inept for simple social contacts at the school run. it’s not that i am fearing it or that i don’t talk to people at all. but i just don’t connect, i feel different and nothing meaningful has come out of it after 2 and a half year of mingling. and you are right, sometimes life just totally sucks, and admittedly a chain of bad decisions, uncalled for “life-challenges” and health issues in the family have turned this in a quasi permanent state for me, it seems.
      at the moment i just feel it a bit more than usually.

      Reply
  2. surfergirl

    Ah the ,, Arschkarte”…sounds like we have done the opposite move….me from Canada to Germany. The first 2-3 years were the worst….me with 2 young kids, one adhd and one aspie, and no I could not speak a word of german when we arrived. My german husband couldn’t for the life of him understand why I didn’t understand what anybody was saying and refused to translate anything. 3 years later I’m fluent, and have learned to adjust my expectations of social encounters over here. No, I don’t have a best friend but I do have meaningful contact with others and can honestly say that I feel integrated into german culture, but it took 5 years to happen.

    Reply
  3. nikki Post author

    Yeah, I see you get the concept of the Arschkarte, literally through experience :/ sounds like a bit of “tough love” with your husband throwing you in like this? lol at least I did speak the language, but the cultural differences between even ‘similar’ western cultures are just easily underestimated. Speaking the language alone just doesn’t cut it, must have been tough for you – and I am curious now! :-). Where about are you? Do you blog??

    Reply
  4. surfergirl

    Black Forest. I think about starting a blog just to get some of my thoughts out, but there are so many great ones already out there…. this one included. The point you make about similar western cultures is a good one. I was shocked when we moved here just how different the social expectations were. A lot of it is subtle, but led to an unexpected culture shock.

    Reply
    1. nikki Post author

      Give it a try? Sometimes it helps to actually get your ideas around something or see it clearer. Of course, feedback is great but do it for yourself firstly. Every blog is different – and I would definitively read yours 🙂

      Reply

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