The Friday before last, one of my yoga teacher colleagues came to my restorative yoga class. I’ve known her for a number of years, and I was really happy to see her there. She is a mom too, and I congratulated her for making it out of the house and giving herself time to practice. In that open, relaxed, trusting mental space that always happens post yoga class, I told her I needed to be more proactive about finding friends and connecting with people, that I can’t just expect a friend to show up at my doorstep saying, “Here I am, I’ll be your friend!” I shared with her how isolated I’ve been feeling, and how difficult is has been for me to connect with new friends.
She suggested that I join her and a small group of yoga teachers who meet weekly on Monday afternoons. They convene at somebody’s house, and they chat, usually for an hour or two. She named the members of the group–all of whom I know, all of whom are really great people with whom I’d love to spend some time–and she added, “It’s so nice to have some adult interaction for a while!” I couldn’t agree more. I was drawn to accept her invitation with a great, enthusiastic “YES!”, but then I suddenly felt hesitant. I asked my colleague if she needed to get permission from the group before inviting me along, and she shook her head saying, “No, it’s fine.”
Boy, was I excited! Finally, a group of friends, yoga teacher friends–who meet regularly–was going to be mine. I could count on seeing them every week. Even if I didn’t have any other friends, I could count on seeing this group of friends, every week. A week isn’t too long to wait to see friends, so no matter how many challenges I could have in a week, I could look forward to meeting with this group of yoga teacher friends, and pour my heart out to them every Monday. I pictured all the fun I was going to have getting out of the house and having adult interaction with some regularity.
Monday rolled around, and I felt even more excited! Yay! Today is the day I will become a part of a group of consciously evolving women! Today I will be welcomed into a circle of caring, compassionate soul seekers. Today, I will have some friends.
After teaching my morning class, I texted my colleague, “Hey there! Can you tell me where the group is meeting today, and at what time?” I waited a moment. No answer. I called my husband to let him know I was on my way home, and found out that he had scheduled an oil change for that afternoon. “Oh, but I’m going to meet up with the yoga teacher group this afternoon. Can you shift the time of the oil change?”
“That’s fine,” he told me, “But I need to know now so that I can reschedule the appointment.” I got it, he needed to know right now. He didn’t want to wait in limbo. He wanted to plan the rest of the day.
But I still hadn’t received a text response from my colleague, so I got a little more persistent. I called her, and left a voicemail message. No answer. This is curious. Finally, a text came back–not telling me the time or the place, but letting me know that she hates to do this, but because the girls are sharing a lot of personal stuff, she feels a need to ask permission before bringing anyone else into the group, so could we wait a week?
Disappointment. But I understand. I told her that it’s fine, just please let me know.
I waited all that day for an answer, wondering, hoping that she had told the group about me and that they had enthusiastically agreed to welcome me into their ranks. Because I’m a nice person. And they all know me. And I know them.
The next morning, I could wait no longer, so I once again texted my colleague, “Hey there, I was just wondering if you had spoken with the group and what the response was. I feel like a kid trying out for a team and really trying hard to make it on.”
Nothing. No response. Not that day, or the next day, or the next. Four days later, she texted me apologizing for taking forever, but letting me know that one of the members of the group is really opposed to opening it to new members, because she is going through some major life changes. So the two of us could meet, or we could start another group.
Heart sinking. More disappointment. I’m not going to give up so easily.
I responded saying,
Thanks for getting back to me. Oh darn. I wonder if she could be reassured that I keep everything in confidence and completely respect the privacy of the group? That I am going through major life changes myself and am wanting communion? The day and time work for me in my extremely busy schedule with two kids, husband, and seven yoga classes. I don’t want you to feel caught in the middle, but maybe she could be encouraged to give me a chance? Especially if the other members of the group are willing to have me along. I have felt so isolated and have had much difficulty in finding female companionship. Maybe she could be assured that I will respect her privacy, and could even be of support through these changes. I appreciate your letting me know. I can only imagine that this has put you in a sticky spot. I would love to be given a chance. Could you let her know that I don’t take confidences lightly and am yearning for connection with other consciously evolving souls? Thank you again for being in touch.
And she texted back with, I will do my best!
That was Friday.
Tonight is Sunday. They’ll meet again tomorrow. I’ve pretty much given up hope that come tomorrow, the member of the group who is opposed to letting me in, will be convinced that I’m someone she wants around. I wish I didn’t know who the group members are, because I’ve been driving myself nuts trying to figure out who it is exactly that doesn’t want me included. And the hurt from being excluded…so heavy, and painful…the disappointment at thinking that I was going to have a reliable source of friendship, and then having the invitation to join retracted as suddenly as it was offered.
The pain at trying to prove that I’m worthy of being given a chance.
The sadness at realizing that I really do have to work hard to find a friend.
And again, the loneliness. I know I’m a good, decent, kind person. I know I am worthy of friendship. I am worthy of having people close to me who care, who want me around, who call me and want to spend time with me. So why isn’t it happening? Why don’t I have friends?
Because, the inner critic says, They don’t want you.
Maybe it’s true. Maybe they don’t want me. And maybe that doesn’t have anything to do with me. But it doesn’t lessen the painful jolts of disappointment I feel every time I think of how close I got to sitting in a circle of women, just being myself…and then not being made welcome after all.