Why I’m Trying ‘Tinder For Moms’
I'm not looking for a hook-up on my phone, just shopping for friends.
It’s 3AM and the baby won’t go back down. As I lie awake listening to her cry and plotting my millionth attempt to soothe her, I can’t get tomorrow out of my head.
I go through the list of usual to-dos. You know, get my daughter out the door for preschool, meet another mom for coffee (if my youngest will ever fall back asleep), tackle that neverending pile of laundry and kick some serious ass finishing up my writing work for the month.
Clearly there’s enough to do around here.
Still, even if life is filled to the brim, I find myself craving more social connection. After writing about my struggles, I was approached by Peanut, an app for busy moms to connect and initiate friendships with like-minded women. You know, a swipe if you’re interested kind of thing.
Now, I have to admit, it’s a bit outside my comfort zone. I completely missed the boat on online dating because I fell in love with my high school sweetheart (cue sappy “awws”). I’ve also forced myself to go to plenty of mom meet-ups and I’m kind of over the meet-your-new-best-friend scene. My life is full and all that getting to know you without any promise of a future is exhausting.
Maybe I do know what dating feels like, after all. Have I mentioned, I’m definitely an introvert? Which is probably why I’m lying awake thinking about this mom app in the middle of the night while I’m waiting for my teething baby to go back to sleep. You see, I’m still secretly searching for “the one,” you know, the unicorn mom friend who just gets you in every way like your childhood best friend did?
I installed the app before I went to bed and instantly liked the ease of surfing through potential besties from my couch as opposed to awkward meet-ups. And, funny enough, I did stumble across one mom who looked super promising. I feel like I have a crush.
We went to the same college around the same time, our kids are about the same age, we live in the same town, and share similar interests. And, there’s just something about her picture that screams kindred spirit. Not that you can judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you can tell a lot about a person from their photo. And now I have the urge to go check my phone to see if she has “waved back”.
But, here's the thing. Since I wrote that piece about wanting more friends back in August, things have changed. In addition to moving and rekindling old friendships, I’ve shifted how I see mom friends, especially in this day and age of social media where our sphere is inflated beyond the number of people we can feasibly see on a regular basis.
If you haven't read about Dunbar's number, read this. According to his theory, humans are only supposed to be able to maintain 150 casual relationships, 50 of which are considered actual friends, 15 of which you can fully confide in and expect sympathy, and 5 of which make up your innermost circle of support.
Now here's the deal with these numbers. They include friendships that were meaningful in the past, like old friends from high school or college, and family members. So, it's easy to see how these spots get filled quickly. Anything beyond these numbers is thought to be more than our brains can handle and possibly part of the burnout so many of us feel with social media.
Ding, ding, ding.
This really resonated for me. When I factor in family and important friendships from the past, I’ve definitely been trying to keep too many relationships alive, and then have felt like a failure when life has gotten too complicated and I’ve had to reschedule. I blame social media for giving me the false illusion I can keep so many friendships going without putting enough energy into any single relationship.
Accordingly, instead of trying to chase a ton of friends, which was more doable before I got married and had kids, I’m trying to scale back and really put energy into those relationships that matter most. My family and close friendships.
Which brings me back to Peanut and my search for that unicorn mom bestie. Where once I tried to meet as many moms as possible, now I’m trying to only meet those with true friend potential. When it doesn’t feel right, I’m not wasting anyone’s time. This is exactly why I like this app. It immediately narrows the playing field.
So, will technology solve my friendship woes? Will my mom crush respond? Time will tell. And I'll be sharing my adventures here, should I have any.