I’ve come to the conclusion that being a grown-up can make you a terrible friend. Not only does it make you a terrible friend, it renders you fairly useless at finding new friendships and gives you no hope of fanning the flames of any potential ones.
Let me explain.
I used to be a pretty good friend, or so I thought. I wasn’t the kind of girl who had dozens and dozens of flighty, here and there friendships. I’ve been a cereal monogamist from he start. I always focused on a few but loved those few with all I had.
So nice of me.
Fast forward to now. I don’t call my friends. That just takes too long. I hardly check my voicemail. That takes too long, too. I follow them on Facebook certainly, but it takes something really cool or really, REALLY cute to inspire me to make any effort to comment. I don’t see my friends. Because that would require calling them. And making a plan. And organizing childcare.
And it’s not that I don’t think I am capable of being a good friend. I’m just not being a good friend currently. At least, not very well.
But I love my friends, right? I do. I really do. They are worth every effort, of course. So why don’t I make that effort?
*Insert whiny, super dramatic groan here.*
Because I’m too busy. And too tiiiiirrrred.
Being a grown-up — and my definition of grown-up means a bill-paying parent with a mortgage and too much laundry to do — requires that you put friendships at the bottom of your priority list.
I remember learning about an animal behavior theory in college. This is a complete bastardization of how it works (its been a couple decades) but it goes something like this: An animal’s behavior very often depends on it’s environment and immediate needs. So, if it’s life is in danger, food and sleep are back-burnered and an animal does anything in its power to get safe. If it feels safe, ok, then it’s about food, water and shelter. If that’s taken care of then, then sleep is on the agenda. Once they have got that need under control, it’s about procreation — find a mate, make a baby and then take care of the baby. Then, if all of these more important needs are met and accounted for, an animal will… wait for it… play.
That’s me. I’m too busy knocking the rest of my survival list down to think about something as self-indulgent as PLAY.
Ok, yes, I am being dramatic.
(Can I get a resounding “FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS!” from my personal Greek chorus? Thanks…)
I hardly, HARDLY (no really, I mean it) have the worst, most exhausting, impossible life. Hardly. But I can’t help it. When the day is done and everything is crossed off the list. What do I do? Do I call a bestie? Or call someone I’ve been meaning to have drinks with for two years? (I actually know a few people like that.) Nope. I go to bed.
So I blame being a grown-up. But really, I should blame myself. Women all over the world manage friendships with far more on their plate.
Remember when I talking about how I wanted to “mom date” again? Yeah. Well. I still do. I still want to meet a couple choice moms, just like me, who I could call and go grab a beer with when I need to. And the crazy thing is that they are here, around, if I only sucked it up and TRIED more.
Wait. “Say Yes To The Dress” is on. I’m already in my pajamas. Man, wouldn’t it be nice to be rested and ready to go tomorrow morning? Yes, yes it would.
So the friendships flounder and I suck out-loud at being the kind of friend I always prided myself on being.
Instead, I just go with the standard, “My real friends understand. THEY get it.”
Sure. SURE they do.
Promise I’ll try harder.
(Cue Greek chorus: WE DON’T BUY IT!)
I said “TRY.”