Saturday, July 20, 2013

Grown-Up Friends

Remember making friends as a child? "Hi, I like your shoes". "Thanks, I have more shoes at home. Want to be my friend?"


Now, childhood friendships typically aren't the most deep and don't tend to last. As they aren't formed out off of bonds of similarity. But, dang it was easy to make friends!

Then we fast-forward to college. So easy! "You're a nursing major? Me too! Want to study together? After our test Thursday, want to celebrate with margaritas?"

I never really had to try to make friends in my younger years. I'm typically outgoing, so tend to meet people with ease.

Then you graduate from school, enter the real world, and suddenly you have to try. How I accumulated such an amazing group of friends in Tucson is very fortunate. For the most part they are family-like-friends I'm made through work. The other half of my social network is my "Desert Tri Girls" -- as you tend to form a bond when you spend 3 hours on a road bike next to someone, or run with them 4 days a week at 0430.

Temporarily living in a new city, I knew that I probably wouldn't make friends. But I was told, "Oh, you'll be living on an Air Force Base, the network there is incredible."

Well, I am here to say that is not true. The military spouses are civil and kind to each other -- but let's be honest, the only thing we have in common is our husbands are going through the same program.

The women at work are hesitant to accept me, as I'm young and I'm a "traveler nurse". When they ask what I do for fun, they roll their eyes when I say like to run, bike, and be outdoors. So I change my strategy and say, "I love cooking and gardening". Eye rolls, again. The resistance is most likely because I'm an "outsider", and not an employee of the hospital....

The other roadblock I've met in my age group is, "Oh, you don't have children?...**cricket**"   No potential play-dates there. I often make jokes with my friends in Tucson that Ryan and I should see if you can "rent a child" to bring to BBQ's, so you can truly fit in. Our friends graciously offer that we can borrow one of theirs. ;)

Finances can be a road block as well. We have friends who's idea of "dinner out" needs to involve fine dining and a $200 bill. We've had a hard time figuring out if they just trying to make an impression on others or it's that truly their lifestyles. Either way, we can only do something social with them semi-annually as we like to budget our entertainment.(If I'm going to spend $200 on an evening out, I prefer to be entertained...not just full)

Although I'm sort of rambling here, my point is that I've found it kind of challenging to make friends as an adult. I'm becoming re-introduced to that reality as we move to a new city. So many new factors come into play -- career, children, husbands, hobbies, finances, etc. Especially in our world -- where you don't talk to your neighbors. Then I wonder -- Is it me? I'd like to think it's not, as I do have a wonderful support network in Tucson.

Have you found it difficult to make friends in your adult years? Has it come easily? Do you find that living in certain climates/cities makes it easier? (For example, I feel like it's easier in Tucson with all the mountains/outdoors because you can say "lets go for a hike", or "You have a bike? Let's go road biking Saturday morning!)


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

There was actually a great article on this in the NYT awhile ago. It focused on your 30s and how difficult it is to make friends after college because you don't have these big life events, like college, to bring you together. And then when you are married, you have to find a couple you are both friends with. I have had a pretty hard time making friends in Charlotte, mostly because people are very established in their lives by the time they enter their 30s. They probably barely have time to see the friends they do have, so why would they want to add another person to the fold? I have made some friends, but I have just had to accept that I am going to have a lot more alone time. Earlier in my career I made friends at work, but now my co-workers are older and have families and busy lives and honestly? We spend 50-60 hours together so I am not really gung ho about spending time with them outside of work...

I am glad you'll be able to return to your network of friends in Tucson eventually. And hopefully I will be back in Minneapolis in the next year or so, too!

Marlys said...

I, too, have to agree that it is hard to make friends when you are an adult. I don't let it bother me anymore as my very best friend in the whole world is Paul. And then there is always family, so I don't feel lonely. Finding people with common interests is very difficult in a small town of less than 500, too! There just aren't many I want to spend time with!