Finding new friends in your 30’s is not easy. Finding new friends as parents is not easy. Finding new friends outside of college is not easy. Basically, finding new friends when you’re not thrust into similar experiences, daily interactions and forced communication is not easy.
My sister would say that I’m not lacking in the friend department. Unfortunately, all of my friends are either too busy with work and their own families or live, at the very least, 25 minutes away. I have old friends I’ve known since the 4th grade that I still get to hang out with. I have a friend from my move out to Oregon with whom I still email weekly. I have friends from college that I either get to see quarterly or communicate via email. I have friends that once lived close by but have since moved on to bigger houses in nearby towns. But none of my friends live close enough to call for a quick dinner date or neighborhood walk or to just pop over to have a glass of wine or a beer. That’s where I’m lacking.
I’ve made the efforts too. Between new daycare parents and new neighbors, I’ve reached out only to have nothing reciprocated. It makes me wonder where I’m going wrong when attempting to make new friends.
Of course I understand that we all have busy lives. Once you have kids, if you’re not living in a neighborhood where everyone else has kids the same age, it becomes very difficult to socialize. You are relegated to seeing other adults at playdates where you have quick sentence conversations that never get any deeper than “How’s work going?” or “Is she sleeping ok?” And most often answers to these questions are a quick “Fine” or “Mostly” before you or the other adult is chasing down a child for one thing or another. It is not the environment for building lasting and deep friendships. And scheduling midweek dinners or movie dates is based on both husbands being able to watch the kids the same night while the wives go out. This is a scheduling feat in itself, so obviously these sort of events are few and far between so that when you do get together the conversation becomes a “catch-up” conversation.
Don’t get me wrong! I still love getting together with the friends I do have. Even if it is just for a quick catch-up before a movie starts or a short conversation about our kids over dinner at our favorite restaurant, I cherish these moments. I just wish I had the time I had in college to cultivate a friendship to the point where I could just pop over to their dorm room (or house) unannounced and sit on their bed (or kitchen table) and chat about boyfriends (or husbands), homework (or kids), extracurriculars (or kids)…
I don’t really have a solution for this post. It’s an ongoing struggle. Since starting this post weeks ago, Jeremy and I have decided that rather than attempting to make new friends, we are going to focus on the ones we do have and thoroughly enjoy our time with them. And when we can’t see the friends we want to see or don’t have plans with our local family, we will just focus on our family of four. Jeremy is my best friend above all else, and my kids provide plenty of entertainment, so not a bad deal in the end. I know I’ll continue to find friendships along the way – probably in unexpected ways – but for now I want to focus on finding time for the friends I do have, including my BFF, Jeremy!