I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately. I feel really lucky to have a lot of very close friends. My friends from childhood, my friends from college, my friends from the city and now my friends in parenting. I have so many women that I could call if I needed a moment to vent, was going through a hard time, needed some comfort or just a friend in general.
We go through a lot of shifts in life. Our move to Charleston has made me look at my friendships from afar and think about what and why they are so important to me. For example, my friend Alex and I have known each other since 3rd grade, went to separate colleges but lived together after school in the city. We were the first of our friends to have babies and went through that entire experience together. Then we had our second babies together and moved to the suburbs. She has two boys, too and our kids are best friends. She is a constant in my life. That friend that is family, that days or weeks could go by without talking and it’s always the same. Never a bump in the road, my old faithful. Moving away from them was really hard but again, their family is a constant for us. We’ve been through so much together that I never have a doubt in my mind that anything would ever change our friendship. What makes this friendship special is that everything adds up – our timelines are the same, our husbands love each other, it clicks.
When we moved to the suburbs of Chicago, I already had a good amount of friends (I didn’t necessarily need more). It was where I grew up! We were deep in babies and toddler life and any glimmer of social opportunities were few and far between. But friendships have a way of surprising you and I think as an adult, it can be rare to find new friends that you click with. In a way that makes you think you’ve known them forever. Two of my closest friendships were made during the 4 shorts years we lived in the suburbs of Chicago. We had no connections prior, no ‘small world’ stories, we bonded over the fact that we were young moms trying to survive and needed each other. And in the same sense as Alex, our timelines added up – our kids, our husbands, our families clicked. In the world of parenting and adulting, it’s sort of magic when that happens.
I really miss that. Not that I don’t have those friendships there or see those friendships forming in Charleston, but part of me feels like moving away means I’m abandoning the friendships that mean so much to me. That those connections, our families together, the visual of our kids going to the same schools, walking the same streets, taking the same laps around the neighborhood – those experiences stopped when we moved in March. That makes me sad. Adult friendships are special! Special because as parents to young kids, we barely have a moment to ourselves let alone time to devote to building friendships. So when you find them you want to hold on to them, nurture them, make an effort to show how important they are to you.
I’m often asked about adult friendships, making friends as a new mom, finding your people and I always think about my answer… I’m someone who overthinks things, I have a strong fear of disappointment, I can get insecure, I’m sort of protective of myself or worried that if I say the wrong thing will they think I’m a weirdo? But I think the best thing you can do in friendship is be vulnerable. Open yourself up to the opportunity of discovering something new. Engage in conversation. A good friendship is based on consistency, when you know that no matter what, you’ll be greeted with the same person that you initially met. That’s when you learn to rely on people.
I guess what I’m saying is that life takes a lot of turns. People move, family dynamics change and friends can come and go. It takes more effort the older we get to open ourselves up to friendships. To devote time to people outside of our family. But these friendships are magic. They are important. Put yourself out there, take a risk, sign up for something you wouldn’t normally do or go say hi to the mom at the park. It is worth it.