Friday, August 10, 2012

You've got a friend?

When I was a child, I was the type of kid who got along with everyone, but only had a couple close friends.  When I was a teenager, I still got along with everyone, but I rarely did anything outside of school with anyone but the 9 other people in my group of friends.  I went to school, and mostly hung out with my roommates, but we weren't really "close" friends, and we would always lose touch after the year was over.  I started working and again, I got along with others, but I never did anything with anyone outside of work.  I got married.  And then mostly did things with Mr. Simple. 

I do have about 175 friends on Facebook.  People that I've known from past jobs. People that I've met in the past 10 years. People from childhood. 

But, at least 50 of the people on Facebook that I am friends with, I have NEVER met in person.  Most of them, I "met" online many, many years ago.  It was early 1998, and I had just had my first miscarriage.  I didn't know anyone in "real life" who had gone through a miscarriage, besides my mother, and so I went searching to find if there was anyone out there.  And there was.  And the women that I met under sad circumstances then, well, we have watched each other's lives over the past 14 years as we had more children, got divorced, had medical problems, had spouses die, etc.  I've asked for advice and given advice over the years.  My friendship with these women has been/is very important to me. 

But then there is my real life. 

I've gone in waves with "real life" friends.  When I had my first child, but I was working full-time, I had very few friends.  When I started teaching preschool in the morning, and had my afternoons "free", it made my schedule much more flexible.  I could do the park, I could do playdates, I could do the museum, etc.  I had more friends, but it was often just women who had kids the same ages as mine. 

But my kids started growing up.  We were homeschooling and I didn't see other moms at school. I was doing daycare, and couldn't really get out to other activities.  So my circle of "moms with kids" friends grew smaller.  Last year, my kids all went back to public school and so I do have some women that I've met because of that, but only one or two that I've done things outside of school, and that was because my child had been friends with their child since Kindergarten, etc.

Also, for most of my life, I was very involved at church.  And there were many opportunities at the church we attended to be with adults, particularly women. I enjoyed talking to these women about all sorts of things - church things, kid things, fashion things LOL I had a large-ish group of women from church that I would do things with outside of church - baby showers, girls night out, movies, that sort of thing. I had been hanging out with some of them for over 10 years.

And then, we decided recently, for reasons that I will NOT be going into on this blog, to stop attending this church. And it has been difficult, at best, to maintain friendships with these women, if for no other reason, because I am not attending many of the same activities as they are anymore.  So my circle of "women from church" friends has greatly diminished. We are attending another church, and the people at the new church are nice and friendly, but there has only been one woman who I have really talked to at any point outside of church. 

When I was doing preschool and daycare, there were plenty of days that talking to the parents would be my only form of adult conversation that I had that day, outside of conversations with my husband. But then I decided to quit last March so that I could focus on my Simply Living In The City business and my freelance writing and training business.

And now, I meet people through my Simply Living In The City business, and that is great, especially since I love talking about Simple stuff and hearing about how other people are trying to live that way, but for the most part, it has not led to any sort of friendships that involved getting together outside of a Simply Living In The City class or whatever. 

I meet people through my freelance writing and training jobs, and that is nice too.  But when it is at home/offsite work, it is really difficult to have much interaction. And when it is at a client site, well, work is busy, and I just have never felt comfortable in establishing friendships with work colleagues outside of work anyway.  So I don't have (and never really have had) friendships with people that I met at work. 

Which means, right now, I have very, very few "real life" friends.  At least the kind that you could say "Hey, I don't have anything going on tonight, do you want to go to a movie?" or "Let's take the kids to the pool today" sort of friends.  Or "I just need to vent about something" sort of friends. 

I know that friendship, in general changes, over the years.  As an adult, with children, with work, with a spouse, etc., time to do things with friends is usually quite limited.  That is true for me, and most people that are around my age.  I know that your relationship with your family is and should be more important than your relationship with friends. 

But sometimes - well, to be really honest, I'm on a roll, so I might as well keep going LOL - Often, I miss having "real life" friends.  I miss the days of going to movies, going to dinner.  I miss the days of hanging out with our kids at the park, at the pool.  I miss talking about church. I miss talking about parenting.  I miss talking about fashion.  I miss just talking out loud about life to someone besides my husband.

And trust me, there are times when Mr. Simple really wishes I had someone to talk to about life besides him.  :)


Jenn said...

Andie-I wish I lived closer. I would so be that friend you could call up any time to go to the movie, whatever. I don't have that either and I wish that I did... I don't know what the answer is for either of us.

Take care!

Barbara Weist (Google) said...

It's funny how often you pull thoughts right out of my mind, Andie. Besides Jeff, I often think I don't have any REAL friends here. I have people I think of as my friends. But no one I can call and talk to about problems. And I rarely feel inspired to invite anyone to do something socially, not that I really have the time. Even back home, I don't call people. I call my mother. But that's different. :) So I feel you. I truly do. And I also wish I lived closer, because perhaps we could be REAL friends, seeing how you read my mind all the time. :)

KZ the Turtlegirl said...

I'm honored to be your friend, Andie. I also wish we could just up and go out for tea or something. However, like my "real" friends nearby, we never have the timing right, so I don't even get to do that. I figure even if we lived right next door to each other we'd still not find a mutual time when we could both kill a few hours together. I think friendship needs to be made a priority, but so many other things have priority as well. Often, things that are our OWN priority, like friendship, get trumped by others' priorities, like family and work. It's not necessarily wrong, and I'd be a total hypocrite if I said we should all make ourselves a priority at least once in a while (and even if we did, the chance of another friend being able to do that at the same time is highly improbable, at least, from my experience). I think that's what SLASL is in part trying to do - simplify the chaos and find what's important to each of us, and act on that. On-line friends are convenient,and you know we have your back. I just wish we could hang at the local bookstore some days!