The women on “Sex and the City” had it. The women on “Army Wives” have it. Is there something wrong with me if I don’t? According to the TV, as a female I’m supposed to have a tight knit group of friends as my de facto family. Right now, I don’t.
It’s not that I don’t have friends. I have plenty of people I can call to meet up for a cup of coffee or to grab lunch. But a real confidant? Not really. Unless you count my sister, but she lives in Boston and we only see each other a few times a year. Or my husband, but he doesn’t count as a girlfriend.
I’ve found my circle of friends tends to ebb and flow depending on where I am in my life. In college, I was in a sorority and found a real support network in my sisters. I had the same roommate all four years of school and we shared an apartment until I got married and moved overseas. We still keep in touch and although we spent almost two hours on the phone last weekend, I haven’t seen her in person since her wedding two years ago.
When my kids were toddlers, I had a group of mommy friends who belonged to the same playgroup. To keep our collective sanity, we met twice a week at a local park for adult conversation and to let the kids burn off some energy. I can’t tell you how much I looked forward to Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Looking back, I’m not sure I would have survived my first year in Texas without my friends in the playgroup.
But now that my kids are older, those mom bonds don’t seem quite as strong. I’m friendly with the other moms at the fencing academy, but we don’t meet up for lunch. I occasionally get together with the mothers of my children’s friends, but I’m not going to spill my deepest secrets to them over a latte. Perhaps it’s because we are all too busy. Between work, volunteer obligations, and kid activities, none of us seem to have the time to forge deep friendships.
Or perhaps it’s because of my transient lifestyle. We move every two years. Although I live in a military town, we live in an area with very few military people. My neighbors are all very kind, welcoming people--just what you would expect to find in the South. But they know that I’m just passing through. Do they want to invest in me when they’ve all been friends since grade school and they’ll likely be dining together at the country club when they are eighty?
I’ll admit it’s probably not them; it’s me. Maybe I don’t want to invest in them when I know I’ll have to leave and start all over again in a new city. Maybe I don’t want the hurt of saying goodbye yet again. It’s so much easier to walk away with no strings attached and rely on Facebook to keep in touch.
I’m challenging myself to let my guard down and be open to new friendships in our next city. In order to do that, I know I can’t stay inside the house and isolate myself from the community. I’ll have to get out there, get involved, and give a little of myself if I want to get something in return.
And my college roommate? We’ll finally live in the same city again. I know a lot of time has gone by, but I really hope we build on what we had in the past.