Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Let me start by saying it ain’t easy…
My friends are very important to me and I really do try to be a good friend. I fall short more than I would like, I know!
Adult friendships can be hard. We have preschool until college. Then, we enter the “real world” and things get trickier.
I keep in touch with several friends from high school and college. I only live about an hour away from my hometown and an hour away from my college, so geography makes that easier.
These are my two best college friends, but there are lots of other college friends that I don’t see enough! I am grateful for social media to keep up with those friends I don’t see regularly.
I am not from the city where I currently live. Most of my first friends here were from Tom who lived here first.
When my kids were born, I didn’t do much other than try to survive. I didn’t have much of a social life for quite a while!
Then, I started meeting people because of my kids. We had some playdates and I made some new friends. I joined a club for Moms of Multiples – twins and triplets – ha! My favorite mom from that group moved away.
I remember trying to befriend some moms in different places during those early mom years and feeling that they already had their friend groups established. I felt kinda sad and rejected.
Here are some of the best places to meet friends as an adult:
-kids’ athletic team parents or other activities’ parents
-a sports league for yourself like tennis
-a class to learn an art form – cake decorating, knitting, etc.
Work friends are great and you bond quickly because you are in the trenches together. I feel like the pandemic made us closer. Here are my work besties Elizabeth and Erica. Elizabeth left our school this year to work in another field, but we are commited to still getting together.
I think it enriches your life to have friends of different ages. Elizabeth is a whopping 20 years younger than me and Erica is 10 years younger.
It’s great when you make a friend and your husbands also click. I know this is a hard thing for my divorced friends when they stop being part of a couple. Make it clear to your friends that you are fine being a third wheel, fifth wheel, seventh wheel, which you won’t be anyway because usually the men group together and the women group together like they are at a Mennonite church or something – no offense to any Mennonites reading this.
Also, if you are on the other side of the coin, be the one to ask your divorced friends along. And, pick up their tab if you can so they don’t feel weird at the end of the meal. A couple of years ago, I went without Tom to something with a bunch of couples and it would have been no big deal for one of them to put me on their tab as my bill was very small. They didn’t, but I would have if it was on the other shoe. #iguessimstillbitter
My husband is way less social than I am. He basically gets all the interaction he needs at work lunches each day and with us – his family. But, he usually goes along with my plans. I am so glad he was already friends with my college roommate’s hub. In fact, that’s how we met. Heather said she wanted me to meet her new bae’s friends.
My best guy friend from high school – Hi Dan!- adores Tom and I also adore Dan’s wife. And, by the way, I am the reason they met!
I consider my sisters my best friends and I wish we lived closer.
I have a wonderful sister-in-law that I also consider a friend.
I acquired my friend Beth at my second school. I taught at one school for four years, then moved to another for two and there was Beth. She taught science and I taught Spanish but we had chemistry. Please don’t hate me. We did crazy things like run some races together. We once did a half marathon and now we sit on rooftops and drink bourbon.
Even though we only taught at the same school for two years, we have remained friends and our husbands also are friends.
I collected a wonderful friend in Victoria at my third and current school but she left for greener pastures five years ago. That’s ok – I’m not mad at her anymore. Just kidding! She is very intentional about making plans and we see each other quite a bit.
Victoria is Greek and I loved to eavesdrop on her Greek phone conversations during our planning period. She was about to pop with her first baby when I told her I was pregnant with twins. We did a lot of life together as next door teacher neighbors. Victoria’s husband used to teach with me, too, but he went to dental school and he and Tom are also friends.
Jessica is the stepmom of one of my kids’ friends. We think that she and her husband Scott are such positive people and we enjoy hanging out with them. We went to the concert Saturday night together!
I deeply value and am blessed by these friendships and more that I didn’t mention.
Actually, I kind of went off on a tangent and I could have said much more.
I try to be open to making new friends because I really do enjoy meeting new people!
My biggest advice would be to put yourself out there and invite someone to do something. Maintain or re-kindle old friendships if you can. If it is a season of life where you are really busy, send a text saying you hope they are well and you hope to see them when things calm down. Write down important dates in your calendar and text them on those days. Write down when their first kid is moving to college and text them the next day to tell them you are thinking of them. These things go a long way. I know that I am always super touched when someone remembers something like this in my life.
Don’t hold grudges. I am a person with a really good memory, which isn’t always a good thing. You know the quote by Audrey Hepburn about having a thick skin and a short memory? I am your classic candidate to be a grudge holder because I am pretty sensitive and I remember every transgression. Let whatever go if you can. It’s hurting you more than it’s hurting the person who probably doesn’t know. I have found this easier to do as I have gotten older.
Your friends will not be all things to you. You might not be able to talk politics with certain friends, but you still adore them and enjoy their company. Don’t write people off because of one thing they say.
A potential problem would be when friends are in different socioeconomic groups. Be honest and just say that you need to do something inexpensive when you go out. Nine times out of ten, the other person will say they need to watch their pennies, too.
Now, I am not saying to stay in a toxic friendship. If remaining friends with someone is doing you more harm than good, then I think it’s ok to simply say that you need to part ways for now. Boy, that is an awkward conversation.
If you find yourself in these giant friend groups, you may want to spend some one on one time with one of the gals; maybe ask one that you seem to click with to get a coffee or have lunch. It’s much easier to get to know someone when it’s a smaller group.
Social media can really make you feel bad. You may see photos of what looks like everyone hanging out with their friends and you just don’t have that. I guarantee the photo is not reality.
Did the pandemic change any of your friendships for the worse or the better?
What are the biggest challenges you face with adult friendships?
Are you satisfied with your friends or would you like to widen your circle?
P.S. – I dedicate this post to my friends in real life and my blog friends!