I packed up the picnic blanket and the babies on Tuesday afternoon and set off for a sunny afternoon in the park. It was the first time my NCT friends and I had entertained the babies outside and we had a wonderful time basking in the sunshine. When the babies tired, we packed up and headed off for a walk. As we left our picnic spot, a mum pushing baby twins in their pushchair pulled up, and started conversation with me. I was polite, but I didn't give her much time, although she seemed keen to have a proper chat. I shared the niceties - how old, what are their names, are they identical - and then smiled and rejoined my friends. The thought in my head, selfishly, was that I find it hard enough to keep in touch with the friends I already have, so I didn't need another one.
I couldn't shift that niggling feeling I get when I suspect I've upset someone. Now of course I'm not suggesting that she was devastated by my slight, but I could see that she was a bit deflated and I felt bad about that. See I know that feeling - being a new mum can be lonely, but being a new mum of twins, when it can be so difficult to get out of the house, is often especially isolating and making the effort to talk to a stranger takes some guts. As my friends peeled off to walk home, I decided to circuit the park a little longer (I needed the babies to nap anyway), and watch out for her.
It didn't take me long to spot her, and I stopped as she passed and struck up conversation again. She was perfectly nice, and keen to chat, and I enjoyed having some company while I walked. She goes along to the local twin-club meet-ups, something I've been meaning to do for oh, about the last seven months (!), so I'm sure our paths will cross again, but we didn't exchange details - she didn't ask and I didn't offer.
Should I have made more of an effort? Should I be more open to new friendships? I've been bowled over by the amazing friends I've made through my NCT classes, so am I missing out on other potentially great relationships? In the past I could be described as a 'friend hoarder' who went out of my way never to lose touch with anyone, no matter how much or how little we had in common. How do you know when you have 'enough' friends? Is it better to have a few great friends rather than a huge circle? And was I too quick to dismiss someone, based on a ten minute natter?