Thursday, February 28, 2013

Shadows of Friendships

Somebody that I use to know wrote on her blog about the phenomenon of friends disappearing into the sunset because you are now a couple with child(ren).
" I found myself getting tired of having to justify our lifestyle choice - this must be what vegans living in Texas feel like. I also felt a little sad because I could see a future where we continue to drift along our separate paths that ever widen in distance. I understand now what my sisters talked about when they talked about moving to new places and finding it difficult to meet others in the same head space as them. I get that now. There will be new friends who do share that head space, but you'll be sad to see the older ones move on. Ah well c'est la vie!"

Friendships are hard to maintain even under the best of circumstances. Some friendships exist only because they were founded in the beginning of time (i.e. childhood, college, etc) and you cannot conceive of a world without them. Like a world without Nitrogen, you don't use it daily but its nice to know its there. 

Others are formed through circumstances that might change like Work Friends or Church Friends or Social Organization Friends.  As it happens, I've also, if we're being honest here, had at least a few friends figure me out and stop taking my calls.

Our Wedding Party

The friend who gets married becomes alienated from her single friends not because of jealously or because of being in a head space, at least not always or exclusively.  Rather, they grow apart organically, it just seems more abrupt because it involves change, and hurt feelings, which do not mend as easily as a broken arm.  The friend gets alienated because she is no longer available to her friends in a manner that continues to cultivate and nurture their friendship.

What happens with the new mom is the same thing that happens with a lot of friendships, it's just quicker and more visibly obvious. The person who once had the energy to either pay attention or pretend to pay attention when you are going on about your latest love interest or promotion or family drama, no longer has the ability to show or feign even a modicum of interest in what is going on with you because there is a germy, projectile-barfing poopsack that is totally dependant upon its creator and demands absolute and immediate attention.

The person giving the news soon figures out that the access they were accustom to is no longer unequivocal available. They either have to get their story in after bedtime or get use to repeating details over and over and over. "you're dating a new dog and you had to put your boyfriend to sleep? what?"

Even when the mom does get a few minutes to herself, reaching out to a friend to hear her talk about things they use to do probalby isn't the 784th thing on her list of things she wants to do with her prescious fleeting alone time.  She opts for sleep, food, cleaning the puke off her shirt, not necessarily in that order. 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that friendships require a particular currency called Attention.  Some friendships don't seem to cost much because you're simulatenously sharing the expenses.  Meanwhile some friendships cost too much to maintain especially if you don't get any ROI.


  1. I also chalk it up to being out of phase. When single you went out to dinner at 8-9pm or later, then when dating and getting married it might move up a little bit to 6-7 pm and you start skipping happy hours. Then by the time the kids are around you go to the same places but at 530pm, the time that as a single person I was just thinking of leaving work to find a happy hour and friends somewhere.

    1. That is a very good point. Most friendships are formed when you are "in phase" with one another and when that phase shifts, it might be hard to do the extra work required to keep the status quo.


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