Sunday, December 16, 2007

Friends With Benefits

I've noticed a few of you mommy-types have been writing in your blogs about longing for that perfect Best Friends Forever relationship, like the kind you had back in junior high or high school. One blogger in particular who wrote such sentiments completely caught me off guard. I figured she had to beat her BFFs away with a designer handbag. "No! I cannot possibly go out for shopping and drinks with you AGAIN! Stay back! Stay BACK!"

It's funny, these blogs. They've become a source of comfort. Don't you agree? Haven't you felt a sense of relief in knowing others share the same thoughts and feelings as you? Especially the ones we don't dare speak of in public?

I've had similar feelings about longing for that BFF relationship. And I'll say what the other bloggers already said so well. I have friends, good friends, but I don't have that stereotypical BFF situation either. It made me wonder why so many of us are saying that? How come so many of us approaching 30 or even 40 are lacking in the BFF department?

I've done some thinking on this and want to share my thoughts with you. Tell me if you agree or not.

Most of us formed those intense best friend attachments at a very young age. Back when it didn't take much time or effort to become fascinated with someone. As we aged, so did the friendships. Some more gracefully than others. We change so much between our teens and our late 20s that we often grow out of relationships. Just like many young marriages, young friendships can't withstand radical life or personality changes.

As we age, we have a better understanding that forming intense relationships takes time. We don't have sexual chemistry to speed along the bonding process. We don't have the fierce protective love that we have for our children to speed along the bonding process. We're just two people, learning about each other and hoping we like what we discover.

With the distractions of spouses, careers, and kids, bonding with a new friend can be a diffult process. I think 30 or 40 year old women can have instant connections with other women. I just think we've been around long enough that we realize taking it to the best friend level takes time. And taking it to that level with all our adult responsibilities distractions can make it impossible to find that time. We've also been burned a few times by relationships, so we're hesitant. Add up all those factors and it's no wonder so many of us are surrounded by friends, but very few of us can claim we have a Best Friends Forever friend. Or the Best Friends Forever scenario we had in our youth.

I conduct most of my friendship networking online, even with my local friends. I'm not a phone person. I rarely call someone just to chat. I don't often make the time to hang out with my friends without the kids. As a result, I bet many of my friends don't know how much they mean to me. I think many of them reading this right now would be shocked at how highly I regard them.

I need to get better about reaching out to people. I've been hurt so badly in my life that I form a big wall around me. I let people in, but only so far. I need to take more risks when it comes to friendships. I definitely need to reach out more.

I took a step in that direction last night. I had met Britney years ago when our girls were babies. Hannah and Boo formed an instant BFF bond. It was priceless to see two girls toddler to each other while squealing each other's names in delight. They'd hug and knock each other over, as they were still so new to walking. Here's a photo from one of their early play dates.

The bond has continued between the girls and Matt and I have become close with Hannah's mom and dad. I called on Britney a lot during this past chaotic year. She holds my family together when I cannot. Last night, we wanted to show them our appreciation and invited them over for a holiday/thank you party.

Boo and I wanted to have a smiling snowman to greet the family as they came up our walk. We weren't sure which way they'd come in, so we covered both entrances. Here's our green greeter.

And the the blue greeter for the other door. Her nose is a rose.
We also sprayed the bushes and trees that line both walks red and green but I wasn't able to get a good picture. I was able to get a lovely picture of Britney's family. As you can see, Hannah has grown quite a bit from that picture I posted above! Hannah's beautiful long hair will soon be donated to Locks of Love. As I type this, Hannah is taking her test to get into the gifted school. Boo hangs with a smart crowd.

Britney and I, joining in the reindeer games. Because I am corny, I asked everyone to dress in Christmas colors. Not pictured is an unfortunate shot of Jack (shot of Jack, haha) and Matt and an unfortunate placement of a Santa hat on one man with an unfortunate direction facing of another man. As hilarious as that picture turned out, I cannot do that to the husbands.
Once there was just Hannah and Boo. Now there's five kids between us. More proof that it's impossible to assemble the kids on our famous red couch for a holiday picture. If we had left Avie much longer, she would have been in dream land.
I had a bitchy little experience with one of the bakeries in town. I was the nice one in the scenario. The bakery manager obviously has so much business that when I asked to order my child's first birthday cake, she rolled her eyes and sighed at me the entire time. Done with them! I've decided to learn how to bake and decorate. That way, I can control the fat and caloric content. Applesauce instead of oil being a great trick and it works wonders! I do need to get some much needed supplies. Like a cake platter. Who doesn't have a cake platter? Who doesn' t have a cake cutter and server? Who doesn't even have a plastic cake storage thingie? Me! In this picture, you can see my.... very spirited looking cake resting on the top of a tupperware lid.

Red velvet cake, with the obligatory red velvet cake crumblies on the sides of the cream cheese icing. The problem being that I decorated the cake on the tupperware container. The white tupperware container. Ever work with red velvet cake? The red dye is intense. As I tried to scape away the stray crumblies, they left red streaks on my white lid. I decided to work that into the design and just left them there. I added white sprinklies, green sugar, and Xmas M and Ms. It really does look like Santa barfed all over my cake. But it ate good and that's all that matters.

So yeah, friendships as an adult. Not always easy to accomplish. Perhaps it's not so bad having numerous good friends and no BFF. Or maybe we really do have several BFFs, but it just works differently at this age.


Anonymous said...

I totally wsh I had a BFF, but yeah, all that stuff you said. ~arlene

Karaoke Diva said...

Yep, I totally agree about the lack of time being a major factor in the lack of BFFs.

And for the record, I don't own a single designer handbag. ;-)

hannahmomma said...

Thank you!

tut-tut said...

I think sometimes ones husband fills that role, not in the social "let's go shopping way," but in deeper, more visceral way, and we don't even consider that fact . . .

Skywind said...

I've been frustrated at my lack of close friends during the adult years, but in the last 2 years, I've also realized that mostly it's because I'm TOO BUSY to take time out and just chill with a friend. Too many responsibilities. I'm trying to create and shape my life... and it's a major timesuck.

On the bright side, once I finish moving and unpacking (sometime next spring), I should have fewer commitments. Do I dare to hope I get back enough time to have a leisure life? I'm not sure. But I know I would love to have a clear enough schedule to fit in friend-time.

My friends mean a lot to me and I so rarely have the time to settle in to good deep discussion or just plain laugh-filled playtime.

Louanne said...

My DH is my true BFF and dearest person to me. But in my opinion all women need girlfriends. One of my closest friends actually bought us a little girls BFF necklace this year. She kept half and mailed me the other half and I laughed and laughed because we had had a conversation much like your blog Mutha. Life is different with spouses and kids, but you can still have good women friends.

I think you just have to work a bit harder to keep it alive as we get older.

And Nadia is sending some hair vibes to Juna!

Marriage-101 said...

I totally agree with the reasons you listed. And also, Tut-Tut. My husband is my BFF but that doesn't mean I don't miss having a female BFF...I DO! But it's hard. You connect, have such high hopes, and then people get busy. story of my life.