July 29, 2011

How many of us have them?


When I was a child I did not give much thought to the act of making friends. A plethora of candidates were at my disposal each and every day from the second I stepped onto the bus stop until I walked in my door that afternoon. My brother and I were also lucky enough to grow up in a neighborhood (and a time period) where playing outside until the street lights came on was an almost nightly occurrence. We were supplied with a built in click, with kids our age at almost every house on our block. There was never a shortage of friends to play with or things to do.

Work? Friendships never required work. Except for maybe convincing our parents to drive us places. Boys? Now those were some tricky suckers.

Today the game has changed. The entire concept of friendship has changed. "Friends" are made in an instant with a simple request on Facebook. All it takes is a brief meeting or a common connection and BOOM, friends. We have hundreds of friends on Facebook, but how many of those people really live up to the name of friend? I would venture to say a handful.

It used to be that guys were foreign and we would lean on our girls who were always there for us. Some of us even took our girlfriends for granted - casting them aside when a new and interesting beau entered the picture. I definitely learned that lesson the hard way. What I am getting at with all of this, is that there comes a point in every girl's life when she realizes that her relationships with her girlfriends require just as much work and effort as her relationships with guys. We are not thrust together every day because of school or work. We lose friends we thought we'd always have. When we're young we barely notice, when we're older, it can be heartbreaking. People move out of state or to the suburbs, get married, have babies. Plans need to be made in advance then be followed through with. Sounds easy. Not always.

As I've entered a new phase of life this year, these realizations regarding friendships have hit me hard. I no longer work in the advertising field with a collection of people my age readily available to make plans with: happy hours, concerts, and/or nights at the movies. I go to school with kids that are 10+ years my junior. I work with one woman who is my mother's age. Though a very nice lady, her and I are not exactly making weekend plans. I have been living with my boyfriend for two years so we are content in our home and not going out to bars on the weekends anymore.

So I have been doing my best to make a conscious effort to make plans with my friends. I have a hodge podge of girlfriends that I have met from all over - one I grew up with, one I went to high school with, one I went to middle school with, a handful I worked with, then a couple I met randomly. Basically, I do not have one big group of girlfriends, I have a group that are scattered from various experiences in my life.

At the age of thirty, it is hard to believe this is new ground for me, but I am learning to navigate and so far, doing OK.

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