Looking for friends

Making local friends has been one of my goals for the past few months, and I’ve been working really hard at it. I have not been very successful. It’s said that making new friends is hard for all moms, and all people over 30, but making friends as an INTP mom is impossible. It’s even harder than dating as an INTP. It doesn’t help that I’ve lived in 3 different states in the past two and a half years, and I never stay in one place long enough to develop lasting friendships. But I think the main problem is that I’m an INTP mom.

Making friends as an INTP is hard enough. I’m bad at initiating conversation, I tend to say things that alienate people, I hate small talk, and I’m not interested in things that most other people are interested in. Throw in the fact that I have a couple of small children, and that alienates the only people who I wouldn’t otherwise alienate by being me.

I’m also pretty picky about who I want to be friends with. There are some times in my life when I’m open to meeting all kinds of people regardless of their personality type, interests, or whether we had anything in common. In college I didn’t really try to make friends, it just happened with whomever happened to be in the same places I was. In my twenties I lived in such small towns that I couldn’t be picky at all, and pretty much had to be friends with everyone else in town, even if I didn’t want to. It worked out, and those friendships had their merits. But at this point in my life, I’m so low on energy and free time that I’m really not willing to spend time with people who I don’t like a lot.

The qualifying criteria for being my friend are someone who:

  1. either likes kids and tolerates my kids’ presence, or is accommodating of the fact that my availability is severely limited by them
  2. does not want to talk about kids or parenting
  3. is a Myers-Briggs iNtuitive
  4. enjoys some of the same types of activities/discussion topics as I do
  5. wants and has time for a new friend
  6. is not an anti-vaxxer or climate change denier

It has been impossible to find people who possess all of the above qualities. #2-4 are very difficult to find in conjunction, even without the other criteria. #1 is usually found only in other moms, and is almost always exclusive of #2 through 4. #5 is probably the most difficult to find because most people I’ve met either already have enough friends and don’t have the time to commit to a new one, or, as in the case of most adult INTPs I’ve known, don’t actually want to make friends and spend time with them. And #6 is surprisingly hard to find among moms. There are not many topics that really matter to me whether someone agrees with me on; I don’t care if someone has different views on religion, politics, breastfeeding, whatever. But I really can’t be friends with anyone who’s completely impervious to science and common sense.

I’ve tried everything. I created a Meetup group for people who would meet the above criteria. I joined regular moms’ groups and attended playdates, hoping to beat the odds and meet someone interesting. I joined non-mom groups that I found interesting, only to find that none of the meetings are scheduled for times that I can attend without children. I even re-joined Facebook, against strong personal convictions, for the sole purpose of joining more local moms’ groups. My last-ditch effort was the Craigslist personals, which sounded crazy at first, then seemed very promising, but turned out to be filled with the same types of people (Sensors) you can find anywhere else.

How do you make friends? Is my quest hopeless?

12 thoughts on “Looking for friends

  1. Man. This sucks. I tried all these things too. I even tried penpals. All I ended up with was brightly colored stickers, glitter, confetti, and hand written smalltalk. Sigh. They were nice people. Seemed nonjudgememtal, which is also important to me in a friend. But I needed more substance than I think they were comfortable delivering. I know you’re looking for local friends, but Im curious as to what some of your fave topics are. Mine generally revolve around philosophy and morality. Also, what kind of character and values are acceptable to you?

    1. Nonjudgmental is very important to me as well. Tolerance and open-mindedness to new ideas. I find these traits tend to go hand-in-hand with Myers-Briggs Intuition.

      When it comes to discussion, the how is more important to me than what we talk about. I can be happy to talk about pretty much anything as long as it’s from an analytical, abstract, pattern-seeking perspective. Like I have no interest in talking about popular culture or even current events unless we’re making anthropological and philosophical observations on them, analyzing why things are the way they are, etc. Some of my favorite topics are science, history, classical arts, and books.

  2. I’m mostly in the same boat. We attend church, so I tried out the mom’s group at my new church after we moved. I admired their anti-gossiping policy, but their entire idea of “encouraging mothers” was at least 30 minutes (was it really, though? It felt like an eternity.) of intense, personal prayer with 1-2 other women. Out loud. I’d never met these people before in my life! It’s been months, and I still practically break out in hives thinking about the emotional strain that was. Needless to say, I didn’t go back. I’ve gone six months without a social outing, or seeing another woman within 10 years of my age who isn’t my sister in law. I’m terribly lonely and starting to feel a little crazy, but I already felt like a weirdo due to being INTP, and now I’m in a far more conservative city than before, so there’s another layer of separation there because I’m politically moderate. Add in a two year old and it all just seems too tiring to try to fight through to find the few fellow outliers.

    I sew, and I’ve become a bit too active in Facebook sewing clubs as my social outlet.

    1. Ugh, I hated praying out loud when I was a Christian. That was the worst.

      I think I’m unusual in that I get no social satisfaction from online interaction. I don’t do online discussion forums because they just do nothing for me. I wish I could get some social fulfillment that way.

      I also live in a very conservative area and I’m very liberal, which makes it a lot worse.

      1. I admit I’m on the more social end of the spectrum. I do have a few friends that I message all day. One, I met playing WoW 10 years ago and we’ve kept in touch all this time although we never met in person. She sent my daughter a baby quilt when she was born; I sent her family flowers when her mother died. Another is a work friend I used to mentor at my job in my previous city. Funny that both of those close friends who are willing to make the effort to keep in touch are INFPs.

        I have an ENFP, also in my previous city, who just decided we were GOING to be friends and pursued me. She’s utterly unreliable for most things, but rock solid for emotional support. She’s a soul-friend, even if she is a total flake. I can’t get her to text (my preferred medium), but every once in a while, she’ll somehow know I’m not okay and call, and she’ll be right.

        And then, well, I have my mom, a textbook ESFJ. We drive each other absolutely nuts, but I’m an only child, and now that my dad has passed (INTP or INTJ?), we’re all we have. We talk a lot and she tries hard to understand me, and I try to forgive her for working so hard to make me the daughter she thought I should have been. /shrug.

  3. I’ve had similar issues, but I’m an INTJ/P my 4 children are grown. now – the youngest one is in her first year of college. I meet your 6 criteria, but since I work full time, it might be hard to get together. I live in the Denvee area. Don’t you? My age could be outside your desired range… Just a thought.

  4. I know this post is a few months old, but I find myself having similar feelings. I’m an INTJ mom of 1 boy here in LA and don’t know anyone who meets that criteria either. I meet it, so if you ever want to chat via web as a mobile friend, let me know.

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