Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Navigating the Murky Waters of Friendship

Okay, it's really not all that melodramatic.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to see an old friend from college. I hadn't seen her in FOREVER - she was two years older than me, so the last time we'd really hung out was, oh, three or four years ago. We got to talking, and the subject of friendships came up. How many we have, the difficulties of meeting people post-college, our (un)happiness with our amount of friends, and so on.

It's been on my mind for some time now and I make it no secret that I WANT MORE FRIENDS. I've moved around lots - but I've always had friends. Great friends. Friends who support me and love me and who I need. I could point to the many "root causes" of why I have no one to watch silly girl shows and go see Enchanted or make fudge with - I could point out my flaws and the faults of others. But, really, I just want friends.

The conditions for a friendship slump are ripe: combine with the fact that we're proper grown ups now, with long work days and few vacations with the fact that I'm married at age twenty three, and voila! Ashley needs girlfriends. (Or guy friends, definitely love those, too!) There are some things I don't get about being an adult, namely: How The HECK Do You Make Friends? and: Why Is Going Out to Bars All Everyone Ever Wants to Do? (Don't get me wrong - they cab be fun, just not the optimal place to hang out, in my opinion.)

To be honest, marriage has proved to be somewhat of a deterrent for potential friendships. Mike is, hands down, the best friend alive. We binge on Ben and Jerry's together, watch Project Runway together, and dream about the future. But we both acknowledge the fact that our relationship would benefit from our friendships with others. I don't know what it is - do people think I can't hang out by myself? That being married suddenly makes me want to be attached to my husband's hip? That I probably just want to make dinner, clean, and be with home attending to Mike's every whim. Seriously - what is it?

We're not even looking for couple friends - we just don't really need that. We have one guy friend we hang out with all time here - it's great! We just go on bike rides, eat dinner (mmm, he loves Thai and sushi so you know we get along), and watch movies together. Pretty simple. He's not a third wheel at all and we absolutely LOVE having him to hang out with. Why can't more people be okay with that? We're friendly! And fun!

Okay, have I totally made this into a pity party? Because I don't want it to be. It's just that I don't get it. Does anyone else have problems making friends again as a 20-something? How the heck do you DOOO it?

Because I really miss this:


  1. Sighhhh. I don't know either, but I know I'd love more friends. More hangout-y friends I should say. I have tons of friends I go to the club with every weekend and friends that are always up for going out and getting wings and such. But I want more friends that want to come over and bake a cake. And go for a hike. And watch Friends marathons. And drink wine in the comfort of my living room on a Saturday night.

    My best friend, the girl I did all this with, moved to Montreal 2 months ago. And, uhm, I miss her more and more everyday.

    And ps. I'm not married but I've been in a relationship for 3.5 years and we live together.. I hate people that think they'll be the 3rd wheel. We have more than enough time to ourselves.. We can hang out with friends as individuals together, rather than as a couple!

  2. I totally get what you're saying! Making friends after college - when in the "real world" seems a lot harder. I've made a few great friends simply from starting my new job (teaching), but it's not the easiest thing.

    And your bar comment, I'm with ya all the way! Some of my friends love going to bars, but when I tag along - besides the nasty smoke atmosphere - we tend to stick to our group, there's not much social interaction with others. I also have friends who really shy away from hanging out with my boyfriend and I (we've been together 4 1/2 years). It's like they're afraid of the "third wheel" categorization. What is that?!

  3. I'm totally in a similar spot. It's been really hard to make friends after college, especially when you're in a new city. I was in Chicago for almost 6 months before I made a friend!

    You just put yourself out there and you'll connect with people who are a good fit for you. It won't be like college but it's close. FYI: I'll watch Enchanted with you whenever! I miss that close kind of friendship though.

  4. From my experience in the real world (all four weeks of it), it's a lot harder to make friends out here, whether or not you're single or married. I still have not met ANY of my neighbors. And I don't have social plans on the weekends because the only people I know are from work.

    It sucks. But I am a firm believer it will get better for both of us. It has to, right?

  5. I'm in my early thirties and I can't figure it out, either. I've been undergoing something like a friendship-restructuring after all the stuff that went down after a bad breakup/nasty ex-roommate. Going to grad school didn't help as much as I thought it would, either.

    I've noticed that people seem to be like, "No thanks, we have a group established already, nobody new needed, thanks." I finally met one of my neighbors a few weeks ago, but my next-door neighbor barely said hi and wouldn't look at me when I said hi to her. For now, I'm really enjoying my invisible internet friends. . . but I can't meet them for movies or anything.

  6. I hear you. You spend your whole life making friends at the drop of a hat, and then you enter the 'real world' and suddenly it's the hardest thing ever. People move away, or you move, and those friendships don't get replaced. I'm in the same boat. I would LOVE more friends. I tried joining classes by myself, going to a book club, film club, and although people there were generally nice, none of us clicked. I am not giving up though.

  7. I totally feel you on this! I mean, I do have friends but it seems like their activities and mine don't necessarily match up, and I find myself more often than not just being with my honey - as he definitely is the best friend I have. It's such a weird thing, this growing up..

  8. I'm starting to learn that your twenties are a huge change. We're all beginning to adapt to our new lives. Making and keeping friends isn't easy.

    I'm worried that when I get married that my friends will slowly disappear. I guess we just have to put ourselves out there. Join a new organization, volunteer..and maybe..just maybe you'll meet someone to bake with.

  9. If you figure it out, let me know, girl! :)

  10. I totally get what you are saying! My friends came along and the reason I love them is because we are not alike, in so many ways. We have different political views, religions, body types.

    I think the key in saying that is to keep the friendship potential open to all of those who you come into contact with. We recently expanded our circle when we started a book club and opened it up to people via Craig's List. Or how about a knitting club? We do that with some mutual friends every now and then. A Bible Study at a local church?

    Join a volunteer organization where you have a passion. Maybe working with kids?

    I hope this helps.

    Also,we work really hard at making time for each other and that does wonders in sustaining friendships!

  11. All of the friends I've made here are either wives or girlfriends of Colby's friends (luckily the military is pretty tight knit that way) or people that I've known through blogging for years. And don't get me wrong, I love them all to pieces, but like you, outside of those two pools of people, I have no idea how to make friends. I'm hoping to find a book club to join and maybe a crafting/scrapbooking circle this summer and then maybe that will open up the door for more friendships, but yeah, it's tough man!

  12. I sooo understand what you mean... I feel as we get older it is a lot harder to make new friends - especially friends that you can really, truly trust! I feel that after college people also aren't into wanting new friends - which makes it harder for them to open up(which I think sucks, ya know!!)

    I wish we lived closer - i bet we'd get along great!!

  13. I'm glad for blogging. I don't feel so alone! I miss having friends where if you are bored on a Sunday you can call them up and they are there in a minute to veg out and watch tv. I need someone to drink in the afternoon with me! lol. maybe not just for that reason, but you get what I mean.


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