I loved college. Sure, learning was great, living in a new place was exciting too, but what I really loved was living with friends. In the dorms we had access to one another 24/7. As sophomores, when we got our own apartments, we did every meal and errand together. This continued throughout the remaining years of college. A trip to the gas station was rarely made alone, let alone a devouring of Ross Dress for Less, a salad, a workout or a movie. Those were the days. Of course I prefer the life I have now, with my husband and beautiful children, but is it too much to ask that my best friend and her family could live downstairs and that we could have community dinners 3 nights a week in addition to double family movie nights and morning coffee???
Navigating adult friendships are hard. Let me try to describe myself when it comes to friendship… I NEED FRIENDS. Can you see what friendship means to me? Seriously… it’s a big deal. I don’t mean to imply that I don’t have any friends; I just mean that those relationships, and time in those relationships, is as important to me as the air I breathe. Dramatic much?’ There are lots of things that I love to do: read, go out to dinner with my husband, take family day-trips, go to Disneyland, watch funny movies, play board games with large groups, etc – but nothing leaves me feeling as refreshed as time with my friends. I come away from a friend date almost giggly. I guess it might be embarrassing to say that, but it’s true.
I suspect that I am not alone in my love of friendship, but if this is true, then why is it so darn hard? I guess the answer is life. Our lives grow and grow, and moms tend to make less time for themselves than they do for other things in their life. I have so many people that I am friendly with, and people that I can consider friends: co-workers, former co-workers, book club, church friends, college friends, mom friends and even Facebook peeps. But if I were to truly count friends, that I talk with or text with on a regular basis, that I make plans with and seek out plans with, I probably only have 6. One of those friends lives in Florida, one in San Diego, and one is relatively new, so I regularly or even semi-regularly see 3 people! For someone that needs friends so much, it feels like too little, but for the navigation of busy busy lives, 3 is too many sometimes. Occasionally I worry that I put too much pressure on my people to fulfill this need, but it’s too much to juggle many more relationships that the ones I have, without that interfering with my life as a wife as mother. I work full time, I mother three children, I attempt to work out a couple of times a week, I operate a struggling small business, I’m starting a blog, I take care of my home, I attend church regularly, I participate in small groups, I’m learning new curriculum as I switched grade levels after 15 years, and blah blah blah. How can we squeeze in other adult women who are juggling the same things in their life? In the wise words of Elle Woods, “What? Like it’s hard?”
Have you ever tried to coordinate with a group of friends to find a time that you can all get together??? It’s like scheduling the royal wedding. We search and search and search until we find a Tuesday three months away that 75% of us can attend. Have you attempted to schedule a double date, so that friend time and date time could be scheduled at once? – That’s 4 people that need to coordinate. Near impossible. With frustrations over calendars we often give up. I’d like to assert that this is the wrong thing to do. We need people in our corner. We need friends with whom we can discuss matters trivial, mundane and life-altering. So I forge on…
Attempting to grow a new friendship is also a delicate situation. How do I show interest without coming on too strong? How often do I text? It feels as vulnerable as dating. When you finally get together it’s exactly like a first date; figuring out topics to talk about. Seeing if you have a future. Then, even if you really enjoy each other, the friendship might not develop. Is it possible for our rosters to be full? I think it may be. I lean towards wanting less friendships that are really deep, than several sporadic and occasional friends on whom I can call for a coffee, cocktail or comedy.
The bottom line here may be time. We don’t have the time it takes to invest in new friendships. We lack the time we need to nurture current friendships, and we don’t see the time to make that happen in our lives. But this is oh so valuable. I know that my ability to make time for friends is a strength. When I make time for myself (more on that later) or for my pals, I am creating a better me. When I come home from a coffee date, dinner date or movie date, I am restored to myself. The me that was Amber before she was mommy.
So send that text. To me, and those like me, no text is too mundane, or not worth sending. Not if you’re truly my friend. My friend R and I text often about complete ridiculousness. We have a history of histrionics that we rehash. And, since she is recently divorced and back in the dating world, we get tons of material from the online dating profile pics of the men in Florida. My friend D and I don’t get together as often as we should, or even talk on a regular basis, but every time we talk it’s to love and support one another. Every time she calls me I appreciate it. My friend B and I text from trivial to inspirational. We exchange gossip, offer advice on each other’s problems, talk about our common shows, podcasts and music, and lift each other up during and after a hard day. Here is a random sampling:
-I gave my kids turkey meat and cherries for dinner.
– Good morning friend! I am pre-cleaning for the cleaner. How is your day?
-Omg. I want wall paper. I found this IG called Chasing Paper and I’m obsessed.
-I am going to untie my tubes and have another baby. I don’t care what anyone says.
Send the text. Make the call (unless it will scare your people! Not many people call these days. Lol) Send out a carrier pigeon if you have to. Invest in your friendships, because this is investing into yourself. Friendships make you happy, and that is worth pursuing, even when life is busy or overwhelming. Especially when life is busy and overwhelming…
I leave you with these words of wisdom: “I love my husband, but it is nothing like a conversation with a woman that understands you. I grow so much from these conversations.” So do I, Beyonce. So do I.