Friday, February 20, 2009

On Friendship...

I was reading Janelle's blog earlier today, and she was talking about friendships and girlfriends and feeling like an accessory.

This prompted me to actually sit down and write the post that's been bouncing around in my head lately kind of on the same topic.

I've always had more friends than I knew what to do with. On the whole, I like to think that I'm pretty considerate and reliable when it counts, so I don't find it hard to maintain a circle of girlfriends. I can be silly and sit around and eat chocolate with you, I will throw you a shower when you get married or have a baby, or I will listen when you want to cry. I don't view any of these things as burdens or challenges. It's just what you do.

As I've gotten older, I've found that my circle has gotten smaller. Some friends have moved, some have drifted, and of course there are the expected numbers of friends that you fall out with.

When Janelle mentioned that she felt like an accessory with some people, it struck a nerve with me. I kind of felt that way with a couple of my friends. I think it's the perfect word to describe my role in the friendship actually. "Accessory." It happens pretty often unfortunately.

I still have my core group of good friends- My Dear Anon, My Person, K, etc. But that list? That's certainly not "more than I know what to do with." And 2 out of the 3 of those people are married with kids. And you know what? They're quite content with their lives. Not to say that they don't enjoy my company, but they are certainly not at leisure for me to call them at any time to go to a movie, or a manicure, or anything else without vast amounts of planning and arranging...

Making friends as adults is a much harder business than I expected. I had the potential for it with a few different girlfriends over the past few years. Things would be moving along, and I would get quite attached to them, but then...something would happen. I'm not sure what, but it never went past the odd lunch or shopping day. It never developed into giggling phone calls, or quiet confidences, or any kind of need to get together. And so, the drifting would occur, and we became little more than facebook friends.

When my person got married, my father said that he expected that we wouldn't be as good friends anymore. Now of course that would never happen with me and her - but I wonder if there isn't some truth to that with some of the other potentials.

Is it like Carrie Bradshaw asked- "Is there a cold war between marrieds and singles?" Sometimes I wonder if that's the case. If you don't even have that basic thing in common (married, with toddler, or something like that) then perhaps you don't have enough to build on?

Now don't get me wrong- I'm not really lonely. If I threw a party, I would have more than enough people there. But these unfulfilled friendships really got me thinking about what it means to connect with people as an adult when you no longer have something like school in common. It was so easy back then when you shared classes and cafeterias and clubs.

Making friends as an adult? It seems like you really have to work at it to make it happen. And more often than not, you end up with something that either just had really good potential, and didn't pan out - or something like an "accessory" relationship that ends up being so shallow that you almost wonder whether staying at home on your couch isn't a better option.

Le sigh. I guess that's one of the differences of being an adult vs a child. Being an adult equals work - in every sense of the word.



server extraordanare said...

good post! I agree with everything, try making friends as an adult when you move away... Why do you think I kept coming back!
Wow Im the first comment

Nat said...

It's harder to make friend because I can't just pick up and go. (Well, I kind of can... but it does take coordination and planning.) Priorities shift... and people go whacko on you. (I"m a magnet.)

Shrug... maybe it's not as important as it once was...

Kyla Bea said...

I think it's definitely harder because our lives are more complicated. But I think that part of the problem is this:

When you first get into a relationship, you don't have time for anyone else. Everyone give you space. Lots of space. And then your friends fall out of the habit of calling you. You call them and they don't call back, they won't invite you out unless it's a long term plan. You remind them that just because you're in a relationship doesn't mean you don't have time! But it doesn't register anymore because you're not 'single'.

In my experience, we all have our little clubs = )

Our lives are more complicated, and we're more complicated too. I definitely understand your situation, and I think it's funny because mine is kind of reversed. I'm married & work full time, but I can go out and be spontaneous too! It's just that no one takes me up on it lol

Probably for the best anyways! My sweat pants and late night baking sessions fill up the time nicely. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Friendships are harder when we're much more is at stake now, feelings-wise. But at the same time, I appreciate my friends more now, too.

Does that make sense?

Madison Lush said...

I agree. Even some of my best friends and I haven't seen each other in over a year. You end up going in different directions. And usually that's ok but it's still good to keep in touch.

Recently I had an argument with a friend who pretty much implied that i'm an alcoholic and that she's better b/c she has two kids and is getting married. LAME! I don't understand why some people think this is necessary to be happy.

LiLu said...

I love this post... I think about it a lot too. I try not to become a hermit but it's hard sometimes. Reminders to go out of our way to make sure the people we love don't feel taken for granted are always a good thing... no matter how busy we are or how much we get wrapped up in our little lives. :-)

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