Trying to find sisterhood? This will help! So will my live Twitter Chat with Molly Mahar on Wednesday, August 14th, 5-6pm PST on The Art of Making Friends (as an Adult!). Use #sjsoulsister to join in. See you there!
My dearest friend had an insane work year, went away with family all summer, then came home last Friday and left again 24 hours later for two weeks of research in Thailand.
My oldest friend lives in Thailand. (What’s with my friends and Thailand?) She’s only “home” once every 4 years, during which time she lives in Texas.
My sister also lives in the land of “Hey, y’all.” We get to see each other once a year for a whirlwind week of cousin-based activity.
What’s a girl got to do to have a BFF these days?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what friendship means when you are a real, live grown up. You and I, we’re older now – 30, or 40, or wiser. We have kids, or pets, or live-ins. There are careers to nurture and small business to grow. Perhaps we are sandwiched in between our Senior Highers and our Senior Parents—both of whom need more care than we ever expected. We’re fitting in yoga, and volunteering for the field trip, and walking the dogs. So where, exactly, do we squeeze in the friendships?
Our availability for friendship has grown smaller, but our need for connection is the same – greater even. So what exactly does adult friendship look like?
If there’s one hunger I hear rumbling amongst my online circle, it’s a craving for friendship. We may have 400 “friends” on Facebook, or have seen a dozen pictures of our roommate’s kids on Instagram, but more often than not we are alone. In the kitchen. In the cubical. In front of the glowing screen.
The thing is, proximity is kinda a big deal when it comes to friendship. You have to be near each other somehow. Growing up we made friends with whomever we saw reading the same books at recess. (Tricia Miller, “Little House on the Prairie,” Second Grade.) Or with the girl we sat next to in first period (Sasha Miller – not related–Typing, Freshmen Year). Or with whomever the roommate shuffle landed us with in college. (Wendy Schneider, Marston-Watson Hall, 3rd Floor.) We made friends with the people we spent time with. It was as simple as that. Proximity matters.
And what about the content? Is the stuff of adult friendships the same as before? Back then a best friend was someone you gossiped with at lunchtime. The girl you passed notes to in class. Or the friend you bitched to about your professors, your parents, your date. The content of friendship consisted of telling secrets, spinning dreams, talking about crushes.
What about now? Is the content of friendship the same? Dreams. Complaints. Romance. I think so. But these evergreen topics are more nuanced these days, more serious. The matters on our mind are no longer mean teachers, light hearted crushes, and the annoying parents who gave you such a lame curfew. They fall into the same categories to be sure – love, annoyance, gossip. But now the authority figures we need help with are bosses, not professors. Our romances come with ex’s, and step kids, and jointly-held leases. And our restrictions are not so much about being home by midnight as they are about keeping a home over our heads.
And then there’s our availability for friendship– the frequency with which we get to connect. When we were younger we got to build a friendship all day every day. Passing notes that were folded into origami fortresses of secrecy. Sitting side by side at the cafeteria table. Going home at the end of the day to stretch the curly phone cord all the way into your bedroom so you could go over the “he said…she said…don’t you just LOVE Ferris Bueller” stuff all over again before your mother called you to dinner.
It’s not as easy these days, to make –and keep—a good friend. But it’s not impossible either. We can find significant friends once again:
If we don’t have a crisis of imagination.
If we use the tools at our disposal.
If we’re hungry like a wolf.
Friend, what I want to tell you is this, as adults we face limitations around finding friendship, and we are clever enough to overcome them.
Are you ready to figure out adult friendships? Can you get creative about ways to connect? Will you join me in finding sisterhood?
I think you are.
I know you can.
I hope you will.
Join me and my soul sister Molly Mahar this Wednesday, August 14th from 5-6pm PST for a live Twitter Chat: The Art of Making Friends (as an Adult!) Use #sjsoulsister and hop into the discussion. Then join both of us as we gather, learn, and laugh at the Soul Sisters retreat. (See you soon!)