In my 20s I had many, many friends. We took care of each other, we were involved in each others lives, relationships, jobs, etc.. There was always something to do on the weekends. Oh, the fun we used to have. Then, I married M and we didn't go out as much and the circle got a little smaller, which was ok.. Then, I had L and was wrapped up in my baby boy, so the circle got a little smaller still. After E was born, I'm not sure there were even enough people to make a circle. It was a combination of my old group of friends still being single and not relating to my new life, and having no time to be the one to reach out. The problem with adult friendships, as I see it, is that there has to be a equality of communication. It can't be one person's job to always be the one to initiate phone calls, emails, and lunches. I think more than anything else, that is what makes finding a friend as a married adult with kids so difficult.
Over the last two or three years my new friends have been found online, for the most part. It started out when we tried to get pregnant and I felt like I had no support and no one to talk to about my fear of infertility. Starting my first blog made me feel so much better and so supported by a community of people that felt the same way. My involvement with the LLF has added many friends that I first met virtually and then in person. There have been many days when I wished I was geographically closer. Many journalists have written about it and I am here to say it's true - social media is a savior for a busy woman. Sometimes, though, I think that it might also be a bit of a crutch. There is always this base fear that you aren't worthy of friends or that people won't like you. It starts in school and no matter how much you think you're over it, it's still there, hiding. Being rejected virtually is much easier than leaving a phone message that isn't returned.
For a while I organized a parents night out. I planned dinners, called restaurants, sent emails, and made sure everyone felt included. When I became pregnant with E and had some pretty nasty morning sickness, I asked if someone else would like to take over. Despite the fact that turnout was always pretty good, not one person volunteered or seemed to care that the dinners stopped. It was a real eye opener to me. I was really hurt and never tried to resurrect the group. I realized that just having a large number of friends, as I did in my 20s, wasn't as important as having friends that I could really count on.
I don't mean it to sounds like I am friendless. I have some wonderful friends, although a few of my very close friends have moved away. They are busy with work and want to spend as much time with their kids as possible, as they should. Spending time with L and E will always be my priority, but when it's 8pm and the house is quiet, I wonder if maybe I should just embrace my loner status and go out by myself. Getting out of the house for the sake of getting out has its value, but it doesn't really solve my desire for adult female friendships. I have a wonderful family and I am not alone, but there is a part of me that feels a little lonely, if that makes sense.
I need to figure out a way to feel comfortable with reaching out. I tend to avoid workplace friendships since working in HR can make things messy, and it's hard to strike up a conversation at daycare when everyone is rushing to get to work, but it's clear that I need to try harder. Work and motherhood can make for an isolated life, but I don't think it has to be that way. Does it?