It is so flippin’ hard to make friends as adults. It is especially hard to make friends as adults when you have wee ones. I meet a lot of moms through my kids, and those are really great friendships because it gives you someone to commiserate with through motherhood. That’s an absolute necessity for survival. But aside from our kids, I usually don’t have much in common with these women, so our friendship never really develops past “How are your kids doing?” “Great! How are yours?” “Great! Okay, bye!” And being friends with people who don’t have kids is kind of tricky sometimes because most of them want to have children someday and so I don’t want to scare them by showing them the full, unfiltered Brown Family Craze.
They’d never procreate.
What complicates friendships even more for me is being a working mom. One of the special challenges that come with working with a young family is that my free time becomes incredibly precious. (But isn’t everyone’s free time precious?) I can’t really get together with people on week nights because I don’t get home until 5:00, then there’s dinner, baths, bedtimes, and, hopefully, a little down time with Chris before I have to start blogging. Throw in a class or two of papers to grade and my weeknights keep me active until about 11:00 every night. Weekends are awesome, but my first priority is always spending time with my family. We don’t get to hang out and do stuff during the week, so weekends are when we are on the go together. It’s not that those plans can’t be changed, but I’m just not willing to give up parts of my weekend every weekend. And friendships (especially new ones) require some time and commitment. How will I ever get to know someone if I don’t make time for them? BUT WHAT TIME IS LEFT?!?!? I have started some really great friendships over the past year, but finding the time to grow and maintain them has been a real struggle.
All of these things are working against me these days and so I am friendless.
Well, except for Sarah.
And then, a friend appeared!
She is actually one of Chris’s co-workers and I kept seeing her at his work functions. Whenever we hung out at those events, we got along so great. She is my age, doesn’t have any kids, but her boyfriend that she lives with has a little girl about Bean’s age. So, she’s almost like a working mom, too, and – bonus! – our kids don’t even know each other! So, we got to know each other for, like, real!
I swear, making friends is the exact same process as dating someone. Seriously. It’s ridiculous how giddy I get about potential friends.
At Chris’s office Christmas party, we hung out and I got the distinct feeling that she was ready to take our friendship to the next level. So, I got her email address (which is like a phone number, these days…) from Chris and I emailed her an invitation to a jewelry party that I was going to at Sarah’s house.
I HAD A DATE!
I was so excited! My new friend is super chic and trendy. She reminds me a lot of my sister, actually. As all good friends should. So, I thought all week about what I was going to wear on our date.
(I settled on jeans and a long sleeve casual tee and a chunky sweater wrap, for those of you who are interested…)
Finally, date night came and my new friend came by my house so we could ride over to the jewelry party together. We had such a fun night! She got to meet a few of my co-workers, old friends from high school, and, of course, Sarah. It was critical that Sarah approve of my new friend. I kept sneaking looks at Sarah to see what she thought and finally she pulled me aside and gave me the big verdict, “She’s fantastic!” she whispered. “We have to all go to lunch soon!”
LUNCH! My new friend had officially been approved.
After such a successful first date, it was time to try out the next dreaded phase of forming new adult friendships. The foursome.
I invited my new friend and her long-time, live-in boyfriend over to our house for dinner one night. They brought her boyfriend’s daughter, who played awesome with Bean for hours, and dinner was really nice. We all seemed to get along great and the conversation flowed naturally. When they left that night, I turned to Chris (who, oddly, knows my new friend better than I do because they work together) and asked if he thought they’d had a good time.
“Definitely,” he said. “It was a good night.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. “I think it went well.”
I went to sleep that night so excited about my new friendship. Things were going along swimmingly! Maybe our next date should be a dinner out. Alone. How exciting!!
And then the next morning when I got to work, Chris sent me an email that said after dinner the night before, my new friend and her boyfriend of several YEARS had gone home and broken up.
Yep. They broke up.
“What the hell did you say to them when I was in the bathroom???” I replied to Chris’s email.
When I texted her that afternoon, she insisted it had been a long time coming and that it was not, in fact, my lasagna that had broken them up. But still.
WHAT KIND OF FRIEND AM I?!??!