Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friends Are Friends Forever


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?


  1. I seriously wish we lived closer. I've been thinking about this exact same thing, every word of it, over this past weekend. Things are happening and I'm even drifting from my very best friend and I realized how much stock I put into investing in that relationship. And how utterly alone I feel when things aren't clicking with her. Yesterday I was off work and I felt so, so alone as the kids were in school.

    In my free time I want to be with the kids...but there are times I wish I had someone to just call up and talk about nothing/everything. Times I wish I could just hang out with a glass of wine and bad reality TV at a friend's house.

    I find it much harder to reach out at this point in my life because of the fear I can't sustain it...my time will get crazy and I'll let it lapse. Wish you lived in OKC.

  2. OMG - I totally agree with the equality of communication! I've lost a few friends I considered to be close - and I was sad about it - but the excuse that "I'm super busy" didn't cut it for me anymore - we're all bloody busy - but it takes 20sec to send a text to someone you apparently care about - I don't think that's too much to ask. O well.

  3. Oh I feel this post. I often have lamented that I feel isolated and alone. Part of it is because we move 800 miles away from our family--but it is also just what you said, with the family life and the people not following through. At the moment I am working on not just having my husband (and my) mostly male gaming friends be my only friend. But it is hard. I organize, I schedule time. I put it on my calendar and set up reminders. And I would say I am 60% successful at getting time out with some type of girl friend. However, I can count on one hand how many girl friends I would consider close.

    Once kids are in elementary school, it might be different--or not. My problems were--my son has ADHD, I work full-time, and the town I live in had a cliche (of course)of women, so I never really fit in with most of them...


  4. A mom friend of me once told me that she was so excited to become a mother when her first was born because finally she would feel like she was part of such an elite "club." Once she had her daughter and she was able to come up for air so to speak, she said she had never felt so isolated and alone before in her life. It is crazy to me that we as parents don't covet our friendships more and plan more things to keep us all together, but then again, some days putting your feet up on the couch and trying to relax at night is more important. :)

  5. AMEN! I totally agree. I have been really longing for adult female friendships lately. I moved to a different state five years ago, and just never really connected in a "real" way to anyone up here. I'm sure it's a combo of the move, the fact that I've spent more time with extended family than making connections up here, and uprooting my social life in my 30s, but it's really hard. (Also, because I'm so tired all the time, it's hard to put in the "effort." Friendships in my 20s felt more effortless, but I'm sure that's just because life was somehow less complicated!)

  6. I didn't have hardly ANY friends with kids until Ev was 10 (i.e., when I met y'all)! Good Lord. How did I GO so long with no one to talk to about... just... STUFF?! And it's true -- your childless friends just canNOT understand, and you drift apart.

    Having said that, I actually keep myself isolated on purpose. I'm GLAD my friends are mostly online now. My online friends are so supportive, and they don't get mad when I cancel a coffee date or whatevs. :-D

    ::sigh:: Hang in there, SugarPop.

  7. i'm totally on board here too. i've found that i honestly have 1 truly amazing friend who is with me through everything & maybe a small handful more who are there for bits & pieces. it's tough. and i don't have any advice. i DO enjoy time in the car by myself & a quiet dinner every now & then. but i totally understand the want for some adult female time too. hang in there.

  8. AAAAHHHH!!!! An even bigger reason we need to meet. We live in the same city even! Lets plan a date the last weekend of this month!

  9. Oh, I agree. So much.
    I really isolated myself during the infertility years. I tried to have fun, but I kept pulling back. Then when you have kids and no one else does? Wowsers.

    I'm lucky that I have a mothers of multiples group that is so strong and supportive. I really, really wish that there was the same support system for everyone. It seems like there SHOULD be!

    I'm also lucky to have you... and your jammin' Beatles ways.

    Know that your online and RL friends love you.
    I'll even raise my decaff tea in a toast to you tonight... "to many girl nights and online :clinks:"


  10. Up until very recently, I was that friend who tried to keep the connections going between all those long lost friendships--making a big effort to write notes, make calls, etc. But I realized it was very one sided. Life just gets in the way. It makes me sad...but I am SO SO thankful for the "inside computer" relationships I have made--I couldnt imagine life without you all--and I would move mountains for so many of you bloggy gals.
    Cant wait until you and I can finally enjoy a RL someday--it WILL happen!

  11. When we first connected I can remember us having similar issues like this. I can remember sharing these things with you. And then we drifted mainly because I walked away from the blogosphere for awhile.

    I can completely understand what you're talking about here. I have my connections- not many but some- but I find that the geographically close ones are not necessarily the emotionally close ones. And I absolutely find that it is often one side making all the plans, phone calls, etc.

    We talk about friendship being so hard in high school and elementary school- kids are mean, etc. But I think we're ignoring the fact that moms and adult women who are attached also have a REALLY hard time connecting and finding something lasting. And, often, we need that more than anything!

  12. Love this post. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, the need to pull my 'girls' back in - I miss having that female connection that we all need. You've inspired me to plan a girls night here at my house. :)