Making Friends in the Suburbs

When you live in the city, making new friends is as easy as opening the door. But in the burbs...

AFTER 12 YEARS of stalking and joining and omm-ing, here was how it finally went down: A mom whose son was in my middle daughter’s kindergarten class posted on Facebook—because we were Facebook friends, of course—that she was looking for a recommendation for a book to read. I posted two. She posted that she’d already read them both. I thought to myself, I think she should be my new best friend. I did not, however, post that.

A few minutes passed, and then she posted again: “We should start a book club!” First, I wept quietly to myself. Second, I called Thad. Third, I watched as other kindergarten moms (because we were all Facebook friends, of course) posted in the comment thread that they wanted to be in the book club, too. Because, you know, there was now a book club. And I was in the book club.

I immediately created a private group page on Facebook and added everyone to it. And then I took a chance: I gave our new book club a name: “Westmont’s Illustrious Novel Enthusiasts, a.k.a. W.I.N.E.” (Too soon?)

Five monthly meetings later, and I was still texting my college friends more than I was anyone in the book club. But. I had all of the book clubbers’ phone numbers in my phone. And who knew where this could go, really? I mean, we fulfilled all the conditions for BFF-forming—seeing each other a lot, living nearby, no one threatening anyone else with sharp objects. We had lots in common—books, kids, school, husbands, wine, kitchens, boots.

It was a promising little petri dish for recruiting no less than four local emergency contacts. And I definitely felt much less pathetic, even though I was well aware that it was pathetic to feel less pathetic because I was in a book club in the suburbs. It was, pretty much, perfect. It was so perfect, in fact, that I didn’t want to chance anything possibly ruining it. And just like that, without even realizing it, I turned the corner, becoming the very thing I’d spent years trying to infiltrate.

After meeting number six, I posted this on our secret Facebook page:

“What would everyone say about capping the book club at the number we’re at?”