Sunday, November 4, 2007

Musings on Adulthood and Friendship

Never again will you find so many people, your own age who have similar beliefs and views.

I thought I remembered the commencement speaker at my college graduation stating this. But I googled his speech, and it wasn't in there - at least it wasn't published on the internet that way.

For me, it was most certainly true. After graduation and my move away from my college town, it has been very difficult to find like-minded folk. It wasn't necessarily easy in college either (making friends has never been easy for me). But it was much less complicated.

I find there are a few reasons that it's increasingly difficult. One is that my husband is notoriously anti-social. In truth, he's actually quite social when he's on his own terms. He was in a fraternity in college (they were kicked off campus the year after he graduated, they had tried to pledge women at one point). During fraternity parties, he would sit in his own room and proverbially hold court. He also may or may not have a problem with alcohol - which makes things more difficult.

So finding my own sphere of influence has not been simple. Because most people my age are couples and want to socialize as couples. Not only that, but frankly, my life is pretty boring. Almost all I can find to talk about are kids and my job. Which becomes even more awkward - since I'm also without tact.

It was also difficult to find friends who were reasonably healthy - who don't need me to fix anything in their lives - who are stable in their own right.

Having children has also made things a little more complicated. I could socialize with other moms and families. But I've found many different types of moms and families. I find that with every different mom/family I meet, they all have different parental philosophies. With one friend of ours, her son is just a bit older than my two, and incredibly aggressive. She tries to separate and discipline him, but it's obvious it stresses her out. So it's generally easier to just hang out every so often.

Then, there are other families, but some are incredibly religious. Not mormon, but typically evangelical Christian. Sometimes there's just a certain point in the conversation where we mention that we don't go to church and there's this silence. That's what I typically run into with people I work with.

I could go into further examples - friends who have chosen not to have kids and don't want to deal with my screaming two year olds (every time I see them with my kids I think of what they will probably say to other friends later). I find I try to make plans, try to reach out to people, but inevitably one or both of my kids get sick, my husband gets sick, I have to work overtime, etc.

It's just not easy. So any suggestions are welcome - aside from attending church. I know I sound completely neurotic about this - but I wanted to share - in case anyone else out there in outer blogness finds themselves in a similar conundrum.


jana said...

Have you tried attending/starting a book group? I find that they work well for finding smart and fun people. For awhile I moderated a group that met in a local Barnes & Noble. I'll bet that most indy bookstores near you would have a group that you could join...

PS: I hate the way that church non-attendance stops conversations, too....

Aerin said...

Thanks Jana - that's a great idea. I'm already a member of one book club - but another one might not be a bad idea.

Freckle Face Girl said...

Sorry, I don't have any suggestions. I just don't know. My husband is EXTREMELY social & we live in an area with people that ooze out friendliness (a bit insanely I might add). Since college though, I have met most of my friends through work. Now that we are back in Houston, the friends that I hang out with I have known since high school.

Freckle Face Girl said...

I have been thinking about it & I am really bad at making new friends even when people reach out to me. If you find the key, let me know. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I have no really useful suggestions (other than go to grad school or move to an insanely small town, which are the only two ways I've found post-college friends).

The big thing that's been my savior, actually, is the internet. I have a lot of librarian friends that I know from blogging, and we chat a lot online.

Aerin said...

Thanks FFG! I live far from where I went to high school, sort of by choice. I found it fascinating when I went to my high school reunion that there were some of my friends who still all hung out together. It was odd.

Thanks Laura! Yes, sometimes small towns get a bad rap. The internet is rather nice though, isn't it?