where are the forever friends?

I am twenty-six and living in New York City. From everything I’ve heard and read, this means that I should have already acquired some of the closest friends of my life. There are plenty of other things that might be going wrong. I might be living in a roach infested five-story walkup with a creepy landlord who possibly roots through my underwear drawer when I go out. I might be struggling to find a “real” job, or always almost failing to make rent. I might be taking tons of auditions while waitressing, or I might be dating men in flashy suits who aren’t really interested in who I am, as a person. Eventually, I might have a big break that involves fashion week in some way.

There are a lot of stories about what NYC is like for young people, and the thing that usually makes it all worthwhile in these stories, aside from the incredible falafel at Mamoun’s, is friendship.

I have never, ever dated a man in a flashy suit. I actually don’t know what a flashy suit would look like. But I did skip other steps, too. I got married young. And while I lived in some seriously gross apartments, with some scary landlords, they always had elevators.

And I’m worried about friends.

I’m worried about friends in a way that makes me uncomfortable. It makes me feel uncool. It makes me feel vulnerable and helpless.

 

I am beginning to feel like I have a bad track record with other girls. They have been known to break up with me. They disappear so quickly, my head spins and I’m left, standing there on the subway platform, watching trash swirl in the wake of the train. What just happened?

I was supposed to meet my best friends in college, originally. My mom thought I would. I think that’s what college meant to her. I met a best friend in college, and we were inseparable for a year, and then she fell apart, and her falling apart focused on a boy, although she had been hospitalized for a suicide attempt and for starving herself before then. She was brilliant and funny and playful when she was well. But later she accused me of not being supportive enough, after she accused the boy of rape, after he broke up with her. And then she threatened to stab me. I guess it’s a long story.

I came out of college with one friend and a handful of people I had hung out with.

The friends I carried with me from childhood vanished.

A few weeks ago I got an email from the girl who was my closest friend in grad school. It was in response to my email, which said, “So, are we not friends now? I’m just wondering why you don’t talk to me at all anymore. I’m kind of hurt.” She responded that she didn’t have time for friends right now. Family trouble. Her dissertation.

We used to stay up talking all night in my tiny apartment. She’d stay over, on the couch, which was like four feet away from the bed. I thought she was the smartest person I’d ever talked to. I hoped I sounded OK. I hoped I sounded like maybe I knew which philosopher she was referring to.

“I’m fine,” I told Bear, acting long-suffering. “I don’t need her.” And I felt fine. Except in the very back of my mind. But all the rest of it had mastered damage control.  I don’t think my expression even faltered.

She was one of my bridesmaids. By the beginning of this year, only two of them were still talking to me. One didn’t even make it to the wedding—we broke up just before.

And then, of course, there’s the drifting apart. My friend who had a baby. My friend who moved.

I have new friends. I have a group of fabulous, hilarious, ambitious women I met here in the city, who give me something to dress up for. I wrote this piece as a tribute to them (for some reason they are all strikingly gorgeous. It’s weird).

But they are still so new, and I realize now that I am cautious. I can’t help but wonder how long they’ll stay. Especially in a city that moves so quickly. Especially when everything here feels so temporary. I realize now that I am opening slowly. I am protecting myself. I want to throw my arms around them and stay friends forever. But that is not the way it has worked. And so many of them already have their old, closer friends in place, like the more useful pieces on a chess board. So I am careful.

So many of my friendships collapsed so quickly, and so close together, that I didn’t even want to talk about it with my new friends. I didn’t want them to know my history. I wanted to hide all the drama. It didn’t sound real, even to me. It sounded like it was a plot in a TV show. I wanted to be a person who had calm, lasting friendships. I did not want to admit that a girl had threatened to stab me, and that that was only the beginning.

The truth is, I am ashamed. I am quietly, unceasingly ashamed that I have not managed to build the kind of friendships that I can say lightly of, “Oh, of course we’ll always be there for each other.”

Haven’t I tried so many times? Have I not tried hard enough?

Here I am—confused and hesitant.  Bluff and bluster. Trying to act cool. The usual tricks. Half waiting to be left.

People talk about this a lot, in the context of romantic relationships. But friends are always the easy part. Friends are the people who are there to help you pick up the pieces, when this sort of thing happens with your boyfriend.

When I reached out to the girl who had almost been my bridesmaid a few days ago, I didn’t expect to hear back. But it had been nearly two years, so maybe. I pretended not to be checking my email incessantly. I pretended that my heart didn’t speed up every time there was a new message.

She wrote back. She wanted to meet up!

We did. And we sat there with shy eyes, making small talk across lunch food.  And then she said, “It seems ridiculous to lose a friend in New York City.”

And I knew exactly what she meant.

I’m up to four now. Four bridesmaids who are talking to me again, counting the maid-of-honor and the one who wasn’t in the wedding party.

After lunch, walking through the city, on Madison Ave, I was suddenly hopeful. Maybe I don’t know the end of these stories. Maybe the drama cools and becomes calm, eventually. Maybe the new friends will become old friends, one day. Maybe they won’t leave me. Maybe I won’t leave them. Maybe this  is just the beginning. Could it be that I am surrounded by forever friends?

It could be that the people who talk about the apartment roaches and the auditions and the thrill and desperation of this city only wish that friends had been the easy part. Because if friends were easy, life would always make more sense. And there’d be a lot less dramatic relationship scenes that don’t involve men in flashy suits. Which are harder to write.

My scenes are never about those men.

*   *   *

Who are your forever friends? Or are you still trying to figure this stuff out, too?

Unroast: Today I love my pointy elbows.

Cake pics from a reader! This is an incredible action shoot that clearly captures the art of cake eating. I love it. Send me yours soon!

 

 

95 Comments »

Kate on April 5th 2012 in friendship, life, new york

95 Responses to “where are the forever friends?”

  1. Kristina responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Having friends is harder than it looks. I see all these other girls who have had the same friends for years. They always have someone to call on when they want to go out shopping or just meet up for a nice chat. I don’t have any friends, from my childhood or from my adulthood. When I got married, my sister (who is my only friend and maybe that is how it should be) was my maid-of-honor. I didnt have any friends to be my bridesmaids and not even one friend to go to my bachelorette party. I see all the friends I used to have, they all had their core friends at their weddings and it breaks my heart. I fear that I am doomed to walk this earth forever without having another girl to call “my girl”. At times I wish things were as easy as kindergarten. You go up to someone and ask, “hey , do you want to play with me?” Easy as pie! or cake!

  2. friend next door responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    you so pulled this post out of my prefrontal cortex.

  3. Faith responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Kate, I identify with this so much!

    I know it’s not the same, but do you want an e-mail friend? My e-mail is attached to this post, and if you sent me something I’d always reply. :) You’re not the only one out there who could use some solid gal pals.

  4. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    @Kristina
    I’ve had that thought– wishing it was as easy to make friends now as when we were little kids. I remember making friends everywhere I went– just because we were all little kids. I think it changed around 12.

    I hope you find friends! You never know where they will crop up. Maybe when you join a group to do something you already really love. Maybe on the internet.

    I’ve been in so many situations where people were supposed to make friends, and I didn’t. And then I’ve made friends randomly, when I didn’t expect to.

  5. Melanie responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    I think just like in romantic relationships, it is natural for people to grow in different directions and find they no longer relate, in friendships as well. I think it is far more creepy those folks who have all friends that they have known 15 years. Have you all stayed so much the same that you can still totally relate? Why is that? I know in truth that’s not for me to worry about or judge, but sometimes I do.

    I sometimes feel like I have too many friends (first world problem to be sure) and I struggle to try and spend time with them, while also having the peace and quiet solitude time I so desperately need. I vowed to have that this month, after running around all of March like a woman with her head cut off.

    There is one friend recently that dropped off the map and just stopped returning my phone calls. I was shocked, and a little hurt. But now I just think she made the decision she needed to make, and I’m trying to not take it personally, while also not turning to the evil Melanie who wishes harm for those who just walk out on a friendship with no explanation whatsoever. I figure it’s for the best. I don’t want people like that in my life anyways.

  6. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    @Faith
    I emailed you :-)
    And I should say that I feel really grateful for the friends I’ve made through blogging.

  7. lik_11 responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    I’m a friend breaker-upper- meaning I have broken up with numerous friends. Some of them truly deserved it, and others… maybe not. There is only 1 friend I truly regret cutting loose- and I often think of reaching out to her… but I’m too afraid that she will refuse me. You’re ballsy because you still reach out- even though you’re afraid of the rejection.
    At 31- I’ve realized that my ability to make friends is lacking. Most of the girls I consider my good friends- I know that the relationship is more important to me than it is to them. Which sucks. But I still hang on.
    My best friend from childhood cheated on her husband last year- and I stood by her while she did it. When her husband found out- she pretty much severed our ties, because he was angry with me. Even though she’d been crying to me about how awful he was to her- and how much she HATED him, couldn’t live with him, and wanted a divorce… I’m the one that got kicked to the curb. It hurts. Still.
    What I’m (long-winded) trying to say is that relationships are precarious for EVERYONE- even the ones you think will always be safe. I’m sorry that you’ve had bad experiences, but I hope that you’ve had some great ones, too. Here’s to the our future friendships!!!

  8. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    @Melanie
    I’ve been here, too. For me, sometimes it’s felt like I wasn’t developing close relationships because I was socializing with so many different people. I definitely need that time to myself (stereotypical writer!). But I’m glad this is your issue. And I’m impressed by your attitude towards the friend who stopped talking to you. I’m trying to take that approach, and it’s hard. Sometimes I catch myself composing emails in my head, like, “But seriously, why did you stop talking to me? For real.”

  9. rowdygirl responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Kate: I’m almost twice your age and I feel the same way. I have one long time friend, 25 years so far, and she lives 200 miles away.We catch up every few months, but it’s not like having someone nearby that you can have dinner with. I used to beat myself up when I would read thoe stories about groups of women who had known each other for 40 years and still hung out, knew each other’s kids, etc. It made me feel “less than”.. sometimes it still does. I have a hard time getting close to people, because unfortunately I don’t have a good track record with people not using and abusing me. Finding new friends is very difficult for some people, so just love those women you do have.

  10. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    @lik_11
    That is ROUGH. I’m so sorry you went through that. I hope that she eventually is able to sort through things and apologize, at least. But that is such an intense situation that maybe it’ll take a while.

    I had a friend who broke up with me after dating my ex-boyfriend. I was fine with it, but I think it made her so incredibly uncomfortable that she couldn’t handle being around me anymore. I felt like, “Wait– but I still want to be your friend!”

    And yes, I’ve had amazing experiences with friends. When I get close with people, I get really close with them. I think that’s why things get complicated sometimes? I’m not sure.

  11. Rachel responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Hey, um, Kate, you seem kind of amazing and we live really close together, so if you want some new friends, um. . .OK, I’m being awkward. But feel free to email me, too! :)

    Yeah, anyways! I think I’ve really lucked out in the forever-friend realm. I have a couple of friends I was really worried I’d grow apart from when they moved out of the city after school, because I am terrible at keeping in touch. . .but so far, when we see each other it feels like we haven’t been apart for any time at all. And at the same time, there are some people who I used to think would be my friends forever who I now hardly know. But thems the breaks, I guess. Recently I’ve been worried that I’ll never make a new friend in that intense, emotional, stay-up-and-talk-all-night way that I did when I was younger. . .but then last week I sat down on an Amtrak train, starting chatting with the guy next to me about the book I was reading, and found myself still talking to him at 4am. I think if you keep looking, you keep finding.

  12. teegan responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    oh, man. of our wedding party (all from out of state), one groomsman dropped out of school, left town, and hasn’t been heard from since. One groomsmen is a chronic “oh, we should hang out some time, but i can’t at these times you’ve said you’re available and coming to my home city. but… i miss you! and we should hang out! some day!” The best man left his wife, got a new girl, and, not long after, stopped talking to my hubby altogether. My maid of honor has been m.i.a. since a month after the wedding, even though i’ve gotten in touch with numerous mutual friends and asked them to tell her how much i miss her.
    these were our forever friends. the people who we stuck with through moves and break-ups and bitchy times and mistakes, and who we thought would stick with us. And they did… until we got married?
    Other friends just stopped caring. Like it was too much work to maintain a relationship from another state. And after nearly two years in massachusetts, our friends situation is still weak, at best. we have acquaintances, and we have people we like, but I don’t know who to call when pregnancy hormones (and soon a new baby) have me wailing and frantic and needing a good long talk. with brownies.
    There are a few I went to high school with, but they, too, live far away. And they’re busy – with adult jobs, like computer engineer for the government and organic chemist. We catch up once a year in person, once every 4-6 months through email. But it’s not enough.
    It bothers me in phases. But we’re young still, right? Maybe we just haven’t found our people yet… I hope.

  13. Sarah responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    This strikes so close to home, it’s almost painful. I wish I had more time to write a more substantive comment here, but I am busy writing papers. Uck.

    The main point, though, (though I suspect it is not the one you hoped to elicit) is that I totally wanna be your friend in real life. I miss having female friends.

  14. Chelsie responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    What a horrible friendship experience, Kate! Friendship is almost as important to me as my marriage. My girls have been with me through everything good and BAD for the last 12 years. I am blessed to have 4 wonderful best friends. We have struggled through hard times and have somewhat hated each other at some points. We aren’t the luckiest group of ladies as death has touched each one of us very closely in the last 6 years. But we made it this far together. I moved to San Francisco 2 years ago and left behind my “soul mates” in Southern California. I tried making new friends in SF but it never happened. I began to realize that making friends is hard, especially when you are slow to open up and trust new people. I feel for you and hope that the friends you have now are what you need. I definitely think all important people in your life, have to be able to give you something you need. Whether it be a smile, a laugh, love, a mirror to see your true self, constructive criticism, etc. Or why else would they be around, right?

  15. Hannah responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    I was just thinking about this. I’m almost done with college and everyone tells me that I’m going to meet forever friends here, and just… sometimes I worry. Like, if I’m still too nervous to call some of them when I’m totally alone and crying at 1 am NOW, I’m definitely not going to feel comfortable doing it from 7,000 miles away and when we no longer really share life experiences.

    I’m not in touch with my high school friends. Basically at all. Even at the awkward only “liked a facebook post” level. And that was only four years ago.

    And there is one middle-school theater friend I still talk to, and we have really great long talks whenever we see each other, but we don’t see each other often. And then there’s the friend-from-birth, the ” we don’t have to talk to even every year but we’re still definitely friends because we can’t get rid of each other” friend. That’s nice to have, in the back of my mind, but I’d rather have people by my side at 1 am listening to me cry and telling me that everything will be okay.

    Maybe some of my college friends will be forever. And maybe (more) forever friends are waiting?? I really hope so….

  16. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    @Sarah
    At least we’re internet friends– that’s an important first step!
    I wish we lived closer.

  17. Loren responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Making and keeping friends can be hard. I have been the ‘breaker-upper’ also. Sometimes it’s just more trouble than it’s worth to keep in touch with an old friend. They aren’t available when you are, schedules & priorities are different, there are kids & spouses in the way. You can never seem to find a good compromise.
    But a good friend, a true friend will come back eventually. I haven’t really spoken to a ‘decade friend’ for roughly 5 months now. We’ve known each other since we were 16, she is in graduate school, and has a baby. But I know that if she called & needed something, or I called & needed something. We would be there for each other. I think friendships have a natural waxing & waning. We will hang out again I’m sure (maybe when school is out for the summer). There can be ‘rough patches’, just don’t over think them. Your old bridesmaid is just saying her social life isn’t her priority right now. I’m sure she still cares about you.

  18. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    @Hannah
    I really, really, really felt like this in college. There was so much pressure to come out of those four years with this close-knit group of amazing friends. But I just couldn’t find them. I felt like I was missing out on something obvious. Now I realize that sometimes it just works that way. It’s not your fault. It’s sort of just luck of the draw sometimes.
    Anyway, you’re not alone, for what it’s worth!

  19. melissa responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    I agree with everything you said! I am 27, living in ny and once upon a time I had friends, even a best friend but some how everything fell apart. I don’t think I should feel bad about it, and neither should you or anyone else! We all yearn for stability in our lives, some of us find it in our friendships but that doesn’t mean that it is the only place! My family are my friends, my husband is my friend and my store patrons are even my friends. They may not carry my history, my family has that…but they offer new perspective..new experiences… All I know is that sex and the city friendships are not the norm and if you have it great, but if you don’t you are not alone!

  20. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    @Loren
    I really like this perspective. I feel like I always fall for the drama. I always think it’s over forever. But this is helpful.

    I can’t help but wonder if the friend who told me she didn’t have time for me is actually very angry at me. How could there not be more to it? But maybe there really isn’t. I just can’t help but wish that she would take the time to talk to me about it. Um, take the time to talk to me about why she doesn’t have time to talk to me. Hmm…I guess that doesn’t work :-)

  21. Anna responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    I attended a college that actually promoted “forever friends” as if it was included in tuition, and I can think of one person who may be my Facebook friend forever (should I get a refund?). My mother thinks I’m a freak because she was a social butterfly and yours truly is a young adult loner. I have my very close friends from childhood that I see every now and then. I miss them so much it’s painful but we do have different lives and not as much to talk about anymore. Thank you for posting this! Will you be in my wedding? (:

  22. Trisha responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    You just inspired me to get in contact with my best friends from high school and see if maybe we can re-find some of the friendship that we had. Thank you. I don’t know if it will cause anything to change, and I’m scared to find out. Even still, I’m glad that I have put myself out there.

    I also feel like I have trouble keeping friends around. I’m trying to figure out why, and how to change it, but it’s tough going.

  23. Twyla responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    I know this one. Living halfway across the world, I have only really talked to two friends from home since I left eight months ago. My family are my closest friends and I love that.
    But I think I am young and I have the rest of my life to develop friendships.
    (Can’t wait to get back to NYC and visit you!)

  24. Valerie responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    I’m a friend breaker-upper, but only if they break trust or constantly and consistently flake out on plans. Obviously they don’t have the time or care to maintain a friendship so I’m not going to sit around waiting and broken hearted every time they bail.

    That being said, I had a close friend from kindergarten through high school, but toward the end she had a bunch of drama from guys she was “in love with” and she didn’t even come to say good-bye when I was leaving for college. I tried to maintain a friendship out of state. She went off to college and got a new best friend, didn’t invite me to her wedding, and then found me on Facebook only to disappear completely a couple months later.

    I suck at making and keeping friends even though I try to be friendly, but ultimately it must be something wrong with me if I can’t keep people around. Maybe I have body odor??!!

  25. You Can Call Me Jane responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Right out of college, I got married and went through friend withdraw- everyone scattered and those constant friends seemed to vanish. Then kids came and that was a new “something in common” that brought new friendships, but time showed that kids simply aren’t enough to have in common to make a friendship. My oldest is now 9 (I’m 36) and my friendships have morphed into something different, but it’s a good different and I’ve finally found peace with it all. I wrote about it a couple years ago here (http://www.thyhandhathprovided.com/2010/07/girlfriends.html). Maybe it’s age or just not caring anymore that I have a certain kind of girlfriend. I’m glad I’m where I am, though. I didn’t like those other phases much either.

  26. Liz responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi Kate,
    Even though I’m across country (actually I’m in Georgia right now) and live a completely different life than you with kids & all, you can email or even call me anytime! I always get excited when I receive an email from you!
    Xx

  27. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    @Anna
    Of course I’ll be in your wedding :p

  28. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    @Trisha
    Please let me know how it turns out! I hope it goes well!

  29. Ivy responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    I needed to hear this SO much today. I’m 23 and I graduated from college just about a year ago. Now I have a 401k (what?) and I’m planning my marriage. I’m grateful for both, but I suddenly feel like I have no friends. It’s freaking me out — everyone moved away, is moving away, or we drifted apart. And then there’s the brilliant, funny girlfriend I had in college. We were inseparable and then she went into a bad spiral and everything imploded. I’m still not over it.

    At my beautiful, tiny liberal arts college I was part of a community, and now I don’t know how to rebuild that. Maybe this is a normal, adult thing? I think I expect my life to be like “Friends” or “How I Met Your Mother.” Instead, it’s hard to even find the time to grab a drink with someone.

    To be fair, I still have a few very good friends from college (and not the ones I expected to stay in touch with). I know I need to make new friends, but I don’t really know how now that I’m out of college (plus, I’m introverted, which doesn’t help). Is this just a phase? Or should I adjust to a more isolated, adult existence?

  30. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    @Ivy
    I think it’s a phase. I think there are all these transition points where you have to start new relationships. The end of college is one. For me, it’s starting my adult life in NYC, after grad school. Later, if you have kids, I think that’s another one. And then when your kids are older, like @You Can Call Me Jane said. It’s frustrating not to already have those people in place, especially when you know you’re pretty likable. You might feel a little betrayed. But you’ll meet new people, through work, through acquaintances, through your interests. It’s a gradual process.

  31. Abby responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    I haven’t been around long enough to say that I’ll have any “forever friends”…but I know which friend I want it to be.

    We’ve been friends since about 3rd grade,best friends since 5th…and she moved to China at the end of 9th grade. But we’ve remained close–we’ve had our fair share of long-distance arguments–and still are. Her moving back to the US for college was a relief, though. Only two hours time difference!

    And I had a friend here at college who I thought would be a forever friend…until the beginning of this week. I hope our friendship can be repaired, but I’m really not sure. It’s a long, complicated story, but it’s mostly up to her at this point.

    This post definitely made me think, though. In the future, will I have forever friends? Who do I still want in my life after college, anyway? Guess I’ll just have to keep going and find out.

  32. Rapunzel responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    I’m like you. Friends, or lack thereof, has always been a worry and a stress that seems to surround me.

    My only saving grace in the BFF world is my twin sister. Literally, if I didn’t have her, I would have no one as far as girlfriends go. I have an older sister and she’s great, but pretty much the only time we talk is during a Project Runway season. My only bridesmaids were my two sisters.

    However, if I had gotten married in my home state, I would’ve asked two other girls to be bridesmaids too–another set of twins we grew up with. I didn’t want to burden them with a plane ticket and all that to-do, so I didn’t ask them to be bridesmaids. I invited them of course, but they didn’t come to the wedding. But I’m still not sure I’d label those two as “best friends” either. They’re the kind we sort of keep track of on facebook, and visit with if I ever visit upstate NY, but I don’t chat with them online or on the phone, exchange emails, or send texts. We’re not *that* close. In fact, none of my “friends” were close enough to me to make it worth it to travel across the country to my wedding, not that I had many to invite to begin with!

    I was disappointed in college too. I’ve always been shy and maybe that was my downfall. I’ve never been a partier, drinker, or someone who did any sports or clubs. So maybe it’s just my fault I’ve never made any friends.

    I’ve made a few friends here and there through work. I did an internship for 3 months and worked with this other girl, and we had so much in common and we had such a good time that I thought she could be a new best friend. Naturally, when the internship ended, we hardly keep in touch anymore. She’s a popular, busy girl and I have never been that way and never been at the top of someone else’s friendship priorities list.

    I have always wanted to be popular with lots of friends. Some people make it seem like they’re burdened when they’re so popular and have so many people to see, but I’d die to have that kind of life. I want to host little get-togethers and parties and stuff. I want to have fun and hang out with friends. The town I live in now makes that nearly impossible because it’s so small, but we’re moving in the next few months….so I’m hoping I’ll have the courage and means to make some friends somehow. I don’t know how, but it’s a new start at least and a big town compared to this truck stop.

    At least I’ve still got my twin. She lives all the way across the country, but she’s definitely someone I talk to every single day, so it’s a little less lonely.

  33. zoe responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    this is my life, kate! as it is so many other’s, clearly, by the responses here.

    i’ve talked at length to my therapist about friendships. about how my heart breaks over them constantly. about how friends and i drift apart. about how i panicked daily over unreturned calls and messages. about how left out and ignored i felt. she asked me to read a book called “co-dependancy no more” which, initially, was insulting. i was like, me? co-dependant? hell no! but i picked it up, reluctantly read through the pages slowly. i am still combing through it because, honestly, i see too much of myself in the words. it’s a lot to absorb.

    yet, i am realizing relationships based on love are not controlling. nor are they based on attachment. they’re open, fluid, forever changing and adapting. i am realizing, too, that quite often, people are thinking about you, too. and all it takes is a phone call. in our world of social media, i think we often feel connected though, in all actuality, we are not *truly* connected. only virtually so, and missing the physicality of relationships.

    i definitely have forever friends. not too many, but they’re there, those soul connections you intuitively feel bonded to for life. still, i am learning to trust in those relationships, to believe a little time apart is okay and healthy. the most solid relationship you need is the one with yourself, anyway. the more i work on that, the more confident and comfortable i feel in my relationships with other people.

  34. Alii responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    I’m a serious introvert, so the friends I have are the ones I’ve slowly built up over time. I maybe meet (and become friends with) one or two new people a year. If that. I’m only in contact with one person from HS and I’m dating him. Everyone else has drifted. It happens.

    But I get ‘peopled out’ a lot as an introvert. Most of the friends I’m close to I’ve known for 5+ years, and anyone I’ve known less than that is usually just an acquaintance. I think the only reason I’ve had such a stable social circle has been because I’m living in one place and not going anywhere. Everything would change if/when I move.

    *ponders*

    To be perfectly honest, if I got a text/email that said, “Did I make you mad? Why do you never talk to me?” I would be extremely puzzled and maybe a teeny bit offended. Offended mostly because my reaction would be, “Of course I’m not mad! Why on earth would you think I was mad at you?!” Puzzled because if we haven’t talked it means one of two things: 1) the access I have to you isn’t easy enough for me overcome my communication inertia and 2) I don’t have anything to say important enough to overcome my communication inertia. Which, I think, just means friendship drift.

  35. Lindsay responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    It’s funny how I’ve been experiencing these same feelings! It’s kind of a relief to hear your story; thanks for sharing.

  36. Ava responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    It’s amazing how posts like this magically appear right when you need them.

    Last week, I sent an email to five really good friends from high school (or so I thought). It was nice and chatty and simply an invitation to reconnect, since they mostly all live in the same state still and can see each other, while I moved 8 hours away.

    Of the five, one responded. And she’s in Spain.

    On the plus side, we had a fabulous email conversation, and then spent over an hour on Skype just catching up. It was wonderful. I think I’ve found my “forever friend” in that particular group.

    But I still feel sad about the other four, one of whom was my first friend when I moved to that new town in middle school.

    It does hurt. It makes you feel rejected. But I am still grateful for those friendships while they lasted, and may or may not try again in another month or so.

    Friendships are so hard. Especially in this day and age of social media that makes you feel like you’re connected, even when you’re not.

    Anyway, I’ll stop now and maybe move this discussion over to my own blog. Thanks for listening! :)

  37. Maya responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    I’ve been blessed with wonderful friends. I have a lot of friends I have known for 10+ and 20+ years. I even have 2 besties who both live far away and we are still very close. I try to be a good friend and to value and honor my friendships. I think I do a pretty good job. That isn’t to say that I don’t have drama. I think if you can’t fight and make up with a friend you will never be able to get beyond a certain point with them.

    My old boss liked to say that there were 3 kinds of friends: Friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime. So some people come into your life to teach you something or show you something. Some people come into your life at a certain time as a companion for a particular event or voyage. Some people are there forever. With some friends you get past the point of choosing whether or not you want to be friends.

    With both of my best besties I was jealous after they got married. I was happy for them, but jealous that they found a new best friend. I saw one of my besties this weekend. R was visiting from Israel and I was visiting from California and we crossed paths in DC. We had about 4 hours together but it was wonderful. We talked and laughed and hugged. We were meant to be friends – beshert and I am not even joking. She was my now-husband’s girlfriend in high school and when we started dating he broke up with her while visiting her on her year-long Israel program. Even with that kind of a hurdle to get over we were just drawn to each other. She moved to Israel with her husband in 2005 and it took me a year to forgive her for going. But in a 20 year friendship, a year is nothing.

  38. notemily responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    Have you read Captain Awkward’s blog? She has some wonderful posts and tips on making friends. I’m still working on it, and sometimes I have felt bad about not having many friends. Cats help.

  39. Gemma responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 12:44 am #

    I’ve thought about this for years and have come to the conclusion that most people live only for themselves. On some level, they realize life is extremely short and if they want to have the things they think are important, they’ve got to sacrifice others. To most girls, boyfriends/husbands are at the top of the list. I get the impression that most girls view their female friends as space-fillers till they meet and marry their one true love, after which they believe their female friends will become redundant (AFTER they fulfill their purpose as bridesmaids and present-givers). Or they might not actually think about it to that degree – after they’re married or get that perfect career or whatever, they’re so busy they forget about their friends, and expect them to still be there when the rifts begin to form in their carefully-cultivated illusions.

    Basically, people are always chasing Something Better that is just outside their reach. As soon as the opportunity to get that “something better” appears, it is considered fair play to drop everything else – family, friends, whatever. We don’t live in a time in which mobility is limited and the people you grew up with are the people you die with. In the quest for happiness and “success,” people must follow the rainbow gold wherever it leads, and you can’t take everyone you know with you.

    There seems to be an unspoken agreement among most girls that no one should take friendships too seriously, or even expect an explanation for their sudden discontinuation. But some girls, unfortunately, never received the memo on that particular consensus. And I think our culture promotes perfectionism in all things, particularly for women. Your friends aren’t perfect, but an imaginary ideal keeps people hoping that someone better than your current friends is out there, and you’d be holding yourself back if you remained with your old friends out of loyalty. And the media supports the idea that everything can be improved (I froth at the mouth whenever I see ads that suggest you can “upgrade” your life by purchasing their product).

    People are probably also afraid of being the ones left behind. It’s better to do the ditching than to be the ditched.

  40. sos responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 1:40 am #

    One, I agree with Gemma.
    Two, As I have grown older, my illusion of bff has been broken. People seem to drift apart and not bother being in touch as we no longer have anything in common as our lives take different paths. They are too busy concentrating on their marriages, careers and families. So many women disappear off the horizon the moment they are married. Sometimes, I to feel bad that some of my best friends in college are not people I care about at all today. Then, it is okay too, imagine if you had to be close to all the people accumulated over time. It is just not possible and draining.
    I have learnt to let go of people if we are drifting apart, if they do not seem interested to keep in touch and resentment that arose from it.
    It was like some pressure to have a set of besties to have in your life but I think we are always evolving and so are our friends.
    That aside, I have a set of friends I am close to and my frequency of contact depends on what I/ they are going through at that point.

  41. Diana responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 3:54 am #

    I had a best friend from kindergarten to 3rd grade. We cried on the playground when I had to move to Oregon the same summer she had to move to Germany. It was hard to look at her FB page last year and see her entire life unfold in front of me; like her world kept going and mine had stood still when I lost her years ago. When I wrote to her, she eagerly wrote back, and then something caught in my throat and I couldn’t lose her again, so I didn’t write back. That was a year ago.

    In high school, I was quiet, shy, introverted. My senior year, I became best friends with a transfer student and we were inseparable. She taught me about boys, dating, make-up and making out. She left town with her parents right after graduation without a warning, leaving me searching their empty apartment and wondering what I did to be left behind, abandoned. A letter from her a few months later did little to soothe my broken heart. I went to her wedding, then lost touch. 25 years later, we’re talking again, and it’s like old times. Still, I’m cautious, but hopeful she will be kind this time around.

    In college, and I didn’t find my forever friends until my senior year. I edited our college yearbook and 3 girls on my staff and I bonded over oreo cookies and midnight deadlines. Two would be come my bridesmaids. One would drift away. Our best man from the staff still texts me twice a week after not hearing from him for 15 years. He’s like the girlfriend I lost, only in guy-form.

    When babies came along, a whole new option of girlfriends opened. When mommies line the halls outside ballet class, like-minded women tend to stand next to each other and soon birthday parties and play dates just happen, especially if your kids get along. Even now, my middle-school-age kids are in community plays, and I have a nice pool of moms who all know each other, play together nicely in the green room and backstage, and two I can call “friends” who has moved from the “acquaintance” category after our kids have done 7 plays together.

    So I can attest that some friends come and go and some friends stick around forever. Both are necessary and nice.

  42. Alpana Trivedi responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 6:57 am #

    Hello, Kate. This might be side-stepping the issue a bit, but have you known people who cut friends out of their lives because their spouses don’t like them? You know, the whole “well, my husband/wife doesn’t like me having this person in my life so I ‘respect’ him/her because my spouse is the most important person now?” I’ve had a couple of friends cut me out for that reason and then my other friends (usually married ones) have the point of view that “well, when someone gets married she has to put the spouse first.” But come on….to the extent of letting that spouse decide which friends to keep and which ones to get rid of?

    Like I said, I know it was a bit off topic, but I feel that friendships are VERY important. I treat them like family relationships, only difference being these are the family you get to choose for yourself.

  43. Alpana Trivedi responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 7:04 am #

    Also, to get back to your original topic, I’m sure for females there’s the extra problem of the stereotype they have of each other. The whole “my best friends are guys, because women are such back-stabbing you-know-whats” mentality. I consider myself a feminist and I try to uphold the sisterhood mentality, but unfortunately, I’ve met women who fit the definition of catty. Not only do they have stereotypes of each other, but then guys jump in with it too and it doesn’t help. They always say things like “You females take everything personally.” It’s like they use that argument to “prove” that we’re irrational creatures. And I’ve seen men fight things out and become all buddy-buddy one minute later. With women, things get long-drawn out and resentments form for years and years. Hmmmmm…..might we have more honest friendships among each other if we just went to the ring and boxed out our aggressions? It might be worth a study. LOL

    Not to make light of your topic, Kate. It’s true, making friends IS hard these days and all the social media doesn’t make it any easier. Everybody prides themselves on being so “busy” these days. It’s like they need to be busy to look important. Not having much to do is seen as not accomplishing enough. People always tell me that I have time for friends because I have “too much time on my hands.” Um…..when did that become a bad thing? I’ll take the blessing.

  44. Marisa responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I am so impressed by how you write with dignity about being vulnerable and uncertain. The world needs more people who can do that.
    Friends have always been really important to me. When I was a teenager, I didn’t want to have a boyfriend because I didn’t want there to be anyone I loved more than my friends. (Eventually I fell in love with one of my friends, but anyway…).
    I keep in touch with a few friends from college, mostly via letter because they are all faaar away, but most of the friends I expect to have forever are ones I was homeschooled with.
    But being in a committed, long-term relationship really does change your friendship setup, because you already have a primary support person to be there for you when you need company and comfort—at least, that’s how I feel. Once you have that, friendships have to adjust, and sometimes they don’t.

    On an entirely different subject, will you please write more about homeschooling? I keep checking Skipping School and being sad. :(

  45. Marisa responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 8:56 am #

    P.S. I also want to be friends. But you probably know that already from my e-mail. :)

  46. Frances responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 10:00 am #

    i think the 20′s are hard. i think we’re all sort of on our own, figuring ourselves out– and it’s a process that is really, really lonely. i also think that if the people we miss during this time are forever-friends….they’ll be there when we’re out of the slush, replying to emails and wanting to meet up.

    i think- or hope, anyway- that forever-friends can happen at any time. i’ve met some people in the last year or two who have established themselves as such…and i do hope that i am lucky enough to keep the friends i make along the way, regardless of when i make them.

  47. Jen Anderson responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 10:55 am #

    The big group of loyal friends (like on Sex in the City or Friends) is as much a a myth as that giant, gorgeous rent-stabilized apartment Monica & Rachel were living in. NYC is way too spread out (and people are way too busy) for friends to get together on a daily, or even weekly basis.

    It took me a long time to realize that and stop feeling like it was just me.

  48. Rachel responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 11:21 am #

    This has hit so close to home, it’s scary. I had plans to go out this evening and watch a few bands with a couple of girlfriends. One has left a voicemail message flaking out and the other hasn’t even responded to my text. This prompted a hour long internal self pitying whinge that ended up with me taking to my bed and having a little bit of a cry. Then I wrote for an hour. Then I checked my blog reader and found this post, which has helped immensely.

    I’m 33 and my track record with female friends is dreadful. I have one very close friend, who, incidentally, was the one I called this afternoon, but the rest seem to have been fleeting relationships even if they did feel substantial at the time. Though I am single, the men I have been with have been lovely and the break ups not too damaging but the female friendships that have faded and disappeared have left indelible marks that have affected my self worth and my ability to make new friends. I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot over the last couple of months and I haven’t come to any neat conclusions, the only thing I can say for myself is that when friendships sour or end I always assume it’s my fault somehow and that I must have done something terrible or failed some kind of vital friendship test when it’s usually the other person dealing with their own stuff and it’s not personal at all. Anyway. I am refusing to sit here feeling sad for the rest of the day. I am dragging my brother and his girlfriend out this evening instead.

  49. Olivia responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    I may be far away, but you’ll always have a friend in Texas. <3

  50. Emmi responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Whenever I make a friend, I sort of instantly assume we’ll be forever friends. Until recently, when I became aware of it and have consciously started to detach from this mindset. Nothing is forever! People change, have different wants and needs at any given time. I am not the person I was two, five, ten years ago. And just as people can move out of your life, other ones will be there to move in.

    I thought I made my best friends in college ten years ago. Today, out of that large tight-knit group, I am only in contact with my 2nd year roommate, who just moved away. Oh, and the cousin of one of my college friends. Life is like that sometimes.

    I had one maid of honor and one bridesmaid. The bridesmaid was the cousin of the college friend, my MOH was a college friend. Unfortunately, for the year preceding my wedding we began rapidly growing apart, but were still forced together with my wedding stuff. Instead of letting our relationship dwindle naturally, it exploded the night before my wedding, and I had to put on a fake happy face so we could just get through the next day. I never saw her again after my wedding. It’s a bit sad, seeing her in all my wedding pictures, but it’s a good reminder too. We were amazing friends for a long time, but forcing friendship past its time leads to far worse things than just moving on.

    Come to think of it, she was my 2nd choice MOH. My 1st MOH I had to “fire” as my friend. She became increasingly needy, clingy, flighty, dramatic and never had anything nice to say about my then-fiance-now-husband.

    I used to think that breaking up with my friends was a sign of weakness, that I couldn’t make things work. But now I think it can be a sign of strength, knowing what is and is not good for you. It’s been a hard-learned lesson for me that the people who surround you reflect who you are, and choosing your friends carefully is more important than it might seem. As long as I always try to be a good friend, I know I’m doing the best I can.

  51. melissa responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    I find friendship to be incredibly difficult. A lot of it is just… I got so used to family and such saying words of love and then suddenly dropping off the face of the earth. Small school friends are even worse because they move away without saying anything or just end up at different schools. We give up a LOT of relationships before reaching adulthood. And I guess I just got used to it. So going months without speaking to someone is actually quite comfortable, especially since social things (regardless of how long I’ve known them) are huge sources of fear for me.

    I have two friends for “life”. It’s still too early to tell. But one I met in the third grade and the other I met in the fifth. Both live somewhat out of my reach now.

    It does hurt, going from being together every weekend to maybe seeing each other once a year! And the closeness is gone, conversations are back to kind of awkward.

    sometimes I wonder if the movie-type forever friendships where ladies hang out with each other constantly… I wonder if that’s actually something that happens? I don’t have that. My friends don’t have that. My mum never had that.

  52. j responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    same here. i am 29 and have had some really great friendships in the past with girls, but now that i am married it seems different for some reason. i don’t feel like talking much about married life with them and they dont seem too interested in the details. i tend to have groups of friends in waves–these waves are based on what i have going on: work, school, etc. i havent had any close friendships with girls since i have been married. i dont feel like i left them or like they left me, i just feel like we all have gone in our separate ways. i am not upset at this either–i just miss the time i used to have to myself, really.

    i don’t think there is anything wrong or unusual with you. :)

  53. Juli responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I hope you’re feeling less alone seeing all of these “me too” responses.

    Me too. It seems like Facebook allows me to stay on the edges of relationships with people I was friends with in grade school, high school and college. I kind of get a feel for what’s going on in their lives. They get peeks into mine. Still, I don’t know that I’d feel comfortable getting together in person, in real life, with these people for which I used to feel such closeness.

    I think the part that causes the most pain is when I see photos or updates where two other people from a group have gotten together and I was excluded. When people from my tight-knit group of college friends got married and I wasn’t invited to the wedding, it was physically painful. The rejection was palpable and I was left wondering, “What did I do wrong?”

  54. Grace responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Friendships have always felt harder than romantic relationships for me-there’s no hiding behind any sexy smoke-and-mirrors. If the person rejects you, it’s because of YOU,which is seriously scary!! It’s also just harder to make forever friends out in the real world…I know I definitely struggle with that. So many women just amaze me with how cool they are, and I end up getting all shy…it’s silly. But for what it’s worth, I think you’re amazing–I’d be your friend in a heartbeat! :p

  55. Emily responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    I am feeling so good reading through these responses and seeing all the “me toos” and also “hey, we should be friends!”. that is awesome and i think blogs can be the kind of thing that makes real, face to face connections, too. why not?

    i have an “inner circle” of friends who i have known for a very long time. a couple from high school, the worst time in my life; a few more from undergrad, a few from the film industry where i worked before going to law school, and one or two that i now trust in law school (everyone else is someone to be suspicious of, someone to fear). one thing i never understood is pop culture’s love of portraying women as having groups of friends who all know each other. does that happen? none of my friends know each other and when they meet, it has never gone well. i wonder if this is just me/my life or if this is closer to the experiences of many women. hmm.

  56. Jeneveve responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Thank you for this, for making me feel normal. I’m getting married next year and will have my (lovely) sister as my only bridesmaid as, since a messy break-up a few years back, I have no other female friends I’d want there with me. I made it through uni and to the age of 30 with no other ‘significant’ or lasting female friends. But, you know what, that’s okay.

  57. Mary responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 2:13 am #

    Wow, I can totally relate to this post! I actually feel better knowing that I’m not the only one out there who feels like this. I live about 20 miles from where I grew up, and I have a handful (count on one hand) of girlfriends from high school who are still in the area, and I see the semi-regularly. I, too, thought that some of the girls I was close with from college would stick by and continue to be in my life, but really, only one has, and she lives out of state! I do know people (from work, neighbors) who have become friends of mine, more than just acquaintances, but our relationships have not turned into close friendships I crave. It seems like some of them already *have* close friendships with others, so why would they need to reach out to me?

    What I really admire and want is the Mary-Rhoda friendship. Is that possible? I’m not sure. I have this fear, when I’m dating a guy of the time that comes where you meet each others’ friends, because I don’t have many, and usually I hang with my friends more one-on-one, and it’s not always frequent… and I always end up meeting all of his friends and he ends up rarely meeting mine. I just feel like it makes me look weird or something.

    Also, it seems to me that, by a certain age, many people seem to have formed solid friend groups, and it’s hard to insert yourself into a group where everyone has been friends for ages. At 27, I know people like this, and I always feel like I’m on the fringes, despite knowing that they do in fact like me and are glad to see me.

    Regardless, I totally hear you, Kate, and even though you don’t know me, I’ll be your California friend!! You seem really awesome. And your wedding pics are cute!

  58. Jeni Rose responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 2:25 am #

    Kate,

    I read your blog every day while I’m at my boring office job at Rutgers, and it ALWAYS engages me and helps me pass at least an hour of time. This post especially spoke to me. I can relate in a BIG way. Although I’m like 7 or something years younger than you (I didn’t actually do the math, that was just a shot in the dark) I feel like these things happen SO many times throughout a lifetime. In fact, I remember having “friends” in every single grade that would disappear after a year. When I was in hebrew school with your brother, there were two people who I was especially close with. One was Gabe, and the other was Zane. I thought that because they were my hebrew school friends, not just some random kids I had a generic public school class with, that they would be my friends FOREVER. Gabe and I are still friendly, which I love, but we don’t talk nearly as much as we did back then. But with Zane, he was my BEST friend (and he was my first crush, and I was his!) and we always thought we’d be friends forever, and always swore to each other that we’d always be there. about two years ago, out of nowhere, he cut all ties with me and completely stopped talking to me. I haven’t heard from or of him since, and although I’ve tried to reach out through facebook or e-mail or even through other people and through phonecalls, he hides himself VERY well from me, and it makes me so, so sad. I think what’s worse than losing a friend, is losing a friend and not knowing why or not getting any closure. If we had drifted apart and it was obvious, I would be less concerned. But in this case, we were best friends one day and the next he just stopped talking to me. Friendship is such a strange and elaborate thing. with certain people, it is just as intense as a romantic relationship, if not MORE. There are ways to keep the “spark” in a romantic relationship, but with friendships I find myself having to be more and more creative to keep it alive. I hope he comes around, but I guess I’ll never really know. Thanks for posting such thought provoking articles, I love them!

    Jeni Rose

  59. Kate responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 11:24 am #

    @Jeneveve
    It IS OK. And I’m a little jealous that you have sister to be so close with!

  60. Kate responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 11:28 am #

    @Jeni Rose
    Hey, girl!!! It’s so great to see you here. I want to know all about your boring job at Rutgers!
    I’m really sorry about Zane. I remember him– cute kid!
    I understand that feeling of utter confusion, when someone cuts you out of their life without an explanation. You wonder if you’re somehow worthless to them, if you upset them in some way, and why they can’t talk to you– is it because they’re so angry? Or just can’t make the time. It’s the not knowing that makes it so much worse, especially, I think, because I don’t expect friendships to work that way. I expect romantic relationships to turn suddenly, or end in tears and heartbreak, much more than I think that of friends. And yet for whatever reasons it’s always the friends who cause the drama. Maybe all relationships have that potential, whenever you’re close enough. And maybe people like you and I like to get close.

  61. Leslie responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    Wow, this is amazing to me. I feel very alone with the fact that I too have an awful track record with female friendships and that I have no female friends at all anymore other than my older sister.
    I am always envious of women who can make close friendships and friends anywhere…I just don’t possess that skill. And it warms me to know that other women didn’t have bridesmaids other than sisters, or none at all, because I worry about that when I one day get married (a long time from now).
    So thank you for writing about this, Kate!

  62. Lynellekw responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    I’m good at making acquaintances, but struggle with making friends. Fortunately I have a few friends who have hung in there – and who are still hanging in there, despite me moving to the other side of the world. My theory is that you won’t know who your “forever” friends are until 20 years down the track, when you happen to be in town for a couple of nights & know that you can knock on their door & be welcomed. I have one friend who was my best friend when we were 5… I haven’t laid eyes on her in 20 years, but we’ve stayed in touch – sometimes very tenuous touch, but we’re still connected. And I like that. Sometimes it feels like my friends & I move in orbits like the planets – sometimes we travel along next to each other before moving away again, and eventually our orbits bring us back within shouting distance.

  63. Alice responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    This feels really relevant to me right now. I just had a close friend suddenly stop speaking to me (actually, she dumped our entire group) and then explain why by posting a note on facebook. This literally just happened this morning, and I’m feeling bewildered and hurt and upset. What I’m having trouble dealing with is the anger. I haven’t had to deal with this sort of situation since I was nine, and back then I didn’t get angry, just hurt. Now I’m hurt and angry, and it’s combining to make me hate this girl. (We were close, or so I thought, but she has never really been a very good friend so it’s hard to remember good things about her to balance out the general terribleness of the way she has handled this entire situation.)

    I think part of it is not getting an apology, and knowing that I’m not going to get one any time in the foreseeable future, if ever. I’ve been hurt, and I’m angry and I want her to acknowledge the fact that she hurt people.

  64. Elizabeth responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    I tried to read through all the comments to make sure I’m not repeating someone, but there’s so many! This issue clearly touches a lot of people’s hearts.
    I have always envied people who have ease in relationships, both romantic and otherwise. I feel like adult friendships are some of the hardest relationships to engage in, in part because of their vague nature. The role as girlfriend or wife or sister or daughter is so well defined, but being a friend is an amorphous beast. I have also discovered about myself, and wonder if you do to, that I don’t value myself in friendship, especially in vaguely defined ones, and let myself fade behind other roles, both mine and theirs. I’m working on letting my friends know that they are really important to me, that they can’t treat me like I’m not important to them, and laughing at all the crazy ex-friends that led me to value what I have now.

  65. Elena responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Kate,

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. I think we can ALL relate. I know I can. I remember several instances where in college I got really close really quick with a couple girls and even one of them in particular had written me an email saying that I felt like one of her “forever friends”. I was so touched and felt the same. And then drama ensued because we lived together and because I was younger at the time and going through bouts of depression/anxiety. It wasn’t all me, but there was miscommunication and probably hurt feelings and for some reason even though I tried to reach out shortly after, something had been lost between us..I was so confused and sad. Other disconnects have happened with me over the years too. Its weird, sometimes things just happen and you don’t know why, and sometimes you can work things out later. Or maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Friendship is hard, but I’m very lucky to know you :) You are one of my forever friends and I hope you know that.

  66. Melinda responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    Kate, I feel like you’re inside my mind. But on another note…you’re lucky that your unstable “friend” from college is out of your life! With friends like that, who needs enemies?

    I don’t know if anyone has said this yet, but I just want to say that it really isn’t about you. And this goes for all the other ladies who feel bewildered and disappointed in the loss of friendships too. Chances are that you and your friends either grew apart, or a misunderstanding occurred, or something else. But it wasn’t your fault.

    I once believed that the few friends I had would be my “forever friends”. I really believed that my best friend in third grade would still be my friend as an adult. I believed that my friend Lisa would still be my friend…but I was heartbroken when she stopped being my friend because of some issues with her boyfriend at the time. It still bothers me that she let some dumb guy ruin our friendship.

    It was painful for me to lose my friends, especially for reasons I still don’t quite understand. But as Elena said, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

    @ Leslie…I can relate to what you’re saying, too. My mother and my sister-in-law were my “bridesmaids”. I’m envious of women who can make AND keep friends too. We’re in the same boat! ;)

    @ Emily…your post really hits home with me. Yes, pop culture has this annoying way of showing all women as having oodles of friends. I’m like, where do they do that at? We see it in Sex and the City (which is completely unrealistic for the average woman). We see it in movies like “Bridesmaids”, which does show some conflict between friends but is still a bit unrealistic.

    My cousin is one of those lucky women with a billion friends, though. I don’t know how she does it.

  67. San D responded on 07 Apr 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    I thought I would weigh in about having friends. I have a variety of friends that fit different aspects of who I am. These friends range in age from 21 to 90. Friendship takes work, meaning you have to keep in touch (and I mean touch) regularly, be willing to give and receive, be willing to forgive and love, be willing to NOT put pressure on one person to be all things to you, be willing to share laughs, as well as tears, be willing to be silly, be willing to show up when unexpected, be willing to reach out in ways you didn’t know you could, and be willing to be ignored and then reconciled. Any disappointments I have had with friends have been resolved in due time, mostly when we realize in the sands of time, these tiffs are relatively meaningless. I moved quite frequently when I was younger and didn’t have the luxury of friends. I don’t know what it means to have a friend since kindergarten. I learned very early on that I had to be able to “read” people quickly and start the friendship up honestly from the start. Sometimes that scares people who usually wonder why I come on so strong. I tell them time is of the essence. I have been known to walk up to an interesting person and introduce myself…case in point…one of my friends once said to me “when you met me you said we would grow old together…and well, we have, haven’t we?” Indeed we have, and have known each other for over 30 years, and have eaten a grand amount of Indian food in the mix. He and I laugh, talk politics, and sweat from the spices…and THAT is what friendship means to me. Another friend and I travel to Europe together and we are always mistaken for a lesbian couple…which throws us into fits of laughter. Both of these close friends have gone through periods of not talking to me because they were extremely upset at life. I carried on without them and waited…Indian food, politics, and travel prevailed and we picked up like nothing happened.

  68. Sarah responded on 08 Apr 2012 at 12:13 am #

    This posts really resonates with me. I think friends can come and go with various points in life. I have a few close friends who I don’t see on a regular basis since we don’t live in the same place anymore, but it’s just like old times when we do see each other. I’m thankful to have sisters who I’m very close with and wonder if somehow relationships with siblings affects adult friendships.

  69. jennaagain responded on 08 Apr 2012 at 2:53 am #

    Just wanted to throw in that I am in a friend-search stage and really enjoyed reading “MWF Seeking BFF.” It cleared up and named a lot of what I was feeling, and helped me reevaluate what I was looking for in a friend, and how I was doing that looking, and best of all, if I needed to look in the first place.

  70. Sooz responded on 08 Apr 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I don’t have any forever friends. I have a hard time making friends. I always feel like I put a lot into friendships and people blow me off and it hurts. So I stopped trying so hard to make friendships work. It can be lonely sometimes but I just take what my few friends can give and focus on what else is in my life: my kids and my husband. I really appreciated everything you said in this post KATE and I just wanted you to know you are not alone.

  71. Sheryl responded on 08 Apr 2012 at 11:32 am #

    So I’m not the only one.

    Pressure about having friendships is so incredibly frustrating. Because I feel like I’m “supposed” to have that close-knit group of friends or urban tribe where your friendship group is one of the defining parts of my life, and I totally don’t. In university that community existed, with the intimacy of sharing homes and classes and life in a smallish city. When I left? Gone.

    I’m enough of an introvert that I need a LOT of down time, with just myself or myself and my fiance. I have a definite limit on the amount of social time I can have in any given week or month. Which makes it very hard to maintain too many friendships. I have had friends get frustrated and dump me because I don’t have enough time for them because of this, and it feels like the only way I could satisfy their friendship needs is to give them ALL of my social time.

    So I do sometimes feel like I fail at (female, particularly) friendships.

    What I find for the most part though, is that the best of the friends I have had in life will inevitably drift back in at some point.

  72. Kate responded on 08 Apr 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    @Jennagain
    I really want to read that!!

  73. Kate responded on 08 Apr 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    @Elena
    You know I love you.

  74. Kate responded on 08 Apr 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    @San D
    I really loved reading this.
    I love the way you explained your friends absences– they were angry at life. And you waited.
    What a good way to understand it. Because that really does happen. And it’s so easy to take it personally.

  75. Alpana Trivedi responded on 09 Apr 2012 at 2:30 am #

    Kate, I’m ALWAYS angry at life. And that’s when I need friends to stick around the most. LOL

  76. Sarah responded on 09 Apr 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    I’ve drifted apart from most of the closest friends I’ve had, mostly due to moving. I always hate losing touch with people, it’s a little heartbreaking. But you move away and life gets busy. I’ll try to send a message here or there and keep up with people, but eventually you just lose touch. It’s extra hard when you don’t live close together, you have to make some extra special effort to stay friends. I’ve only kept in really close contact with 3 people from college, though I do wish you were one of them. I just wanted to tell you that I always did consider you a very dear friend, especially when we were in school together. I think you are a truly wonderful person and I am sorry that we lost touch, though I know you are more referring to friends who live in NYC near you. I do go there somewhat frequently, though. Maybe we can meet up next time I am in town.

  77. Sari responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 2:39 am #

    I so wasn’t kidding. Come play for a week. There are great cafes in which to write, great beaches within two minutes of our place, great cake and ice cream to be found, an awesome puppy at home, and on and on and on.

    I miss my NY friends. Come visiiiiit!

    And in that vein, more connected to the post, living abroad since June 2010 has certainly chipped away at the friend pool, but it’s also clarified who my real friends are. So that’s good. I’m a chronic keep-in-touch-er, so my workload has decreased… and become more meaningful. In the meantime, I have the comers and goers, and they’re good for, erm, coming and going, but it’s good to know who some of the stayers are.

    Anyway, COME VISIT!

  78. Melinda responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 11:20 am #

    @ Alpana Trivedi…I don’t know if you will ever see this, but do you find that friends abandon you when you need them most?

    This has been the story of my life. I’ve had lots of fairweather friends who only wanted to be around when things were OK. But the minute I proved to be human, with struggles and imperfections, they wanted to distance themselves from me.

    As to the subject of “forever friends”, this whole post reminds me of my old friend Lisa. I haven’t seen her in about 10 years. I’m still not sure why our friendship ended. I don’t know if it was because she decided that I didn’t fit into her life anymore.

    Or because of her boyfriend at the time…he was somewhat jealous of my friendship with her. He was a jerk and I noticed some real changes in her personality. She became competitive and judgmental. She started doing some underhanded things, like telling me that everyone would be hanging out at a certain place but I would find the place empty when I showed up.

    Looking back, I believe that she developed some insecurities because of her relationship with this guy…it really destroyed our friendship. I remember going to the mall with her once and she was annoyed because men were flirting with me. She was very pretty and she had no reason to be jealous of me.

    The final straw was when she broke up with this boyfriend and some very upsetting events occurred after that. I still think about her and the person she was before all of those things happened.

  79. Rachel responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    I’m your forever friend and bridesmaid…just saying! :)

  80. Kate responded on 10 Apr 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    @Rachel
    lol! Thank god for you!! <3

  81. Alicia responded on 11 Apr 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    You’re awesome, so I assume you’ve seen “I Love You, Man.” It’s a cute movie and makes me want to be everybody’s friend.

    This blog, and this post, particularly — and like everyone who’s already commented — makes me want to be YOUR friend.

    After really, really rough going as a child and teenager, I found my forever friends sophomore year of college. We bonded over intellectual debates, boys, and losing our religions, and I’ve absentmindedly kept us together ever since — moving to cities where they live, making regular phone calls, sending group emails. I do it without thinking, and because I need to. I don’t have a functional family of origin and I’m not married yet — but even beyond that, I think there’s something in me that COMMITS.

    I suspect that if either of them ever tried to break up with me, I’d pester them and work it out until we were friends again.

    I’m not saying it’s the right way to go; it’s almost certainly not. But it’s probably what would happen…when all else fails, friendship by Stockholm Syndrome.

  82. Kate responded on 11 Apr 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    @Alicia
    HA! Friendship by Stockholm Syndrome.
    I love that you make sure everyone stays in touch. That’s a good way to be.
    And I haven’t seen “I love you, man,” but I’m sort of shocked that I haven’t. Seems like my kind of movie. Hope you still think I’m awesome :-)

  83. Kate responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 12:59 am #

    You sound a lot like me and 75% of my forever friends are men. Like real friends, not just pals. For what it’s worth. Interesting.

  84. Emily responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    I just read your article on XOJane and checked out this site.

    Unfortunately I relate to this so much. I have a few friends that I would consider close but I have no “close” girlfriends in the city and I’m pretty lousy at keeping in touch with people. My boyfriend and I were best friends for years before we started dating so it’s great to live with him and share life together but it’s hard to get by when I only usually interact with one good friend a day.

    But seriously I live in New York so if anyone wants to get lunch or some drinks and whine about how much we suck at meeting people I’m down.

  85. Francesca responded on 14 Apr 2012 at 1:43 am #

    This post means a lot to me. I often feel anxiety about loneliness, and the absence of intimate relationships with fellow girls. I want the support, the security, and I want the “forever friends”. I’m scared they are too hard to find. I’m sacred I will be lonely, if and when I move to a new city. I’m more worried about friends than I am about finding a lifelong partner. Thanks for writing this and making me feel like I am not the only girl who feels this way.

  86. Susannah responded on 17 Apr 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    Oh, how this post resonated with me … I was always a bit of a loner in school; I had friends, but only a few, and we just drifted apart when we left high school. University in Australia is very different to higher education in the US, as far as I can tell (mind you, a lot of my ‘information’ comes from movies ;) ). Most university students work at least part time and very few live on campus, so it’s a constant juggling act between dashing off to class, to work, then back to the ‘burbs at night. I made a few friends, but again … drifted apart.

    I’m now on the cusp of 33, married, with a couple of kids and I can honestly say that I can count my friends on one hand. Acquaintances? Many and varied. But true friends, the ones who patiently sit and listen to me rehash the same old issue and laugh at the same old joke … they are few and far between. And literally, far between. I seem to collect a good friend in every city, like the sailors of yore … So my friends are scattered, far and wide, and usually our only contact can happen through email or phone.

    I’m okay with it now. I’ve come to terms with it. I remember when it hurt me that I didn’t have a group of tight knit friends (Sex and the City has a lot to answer for!). I recall being in my late teens, housesitting alone, and the boyfriend du jour being an ass, and realising I had NO ONE to call to go the movies or to hang out with.

    I’ve adapted. I like going to the movies on my own (with 2 kids … it is bliss). I have accepted that I am an intense kind of person who will only click with some people … but when we click, we click for good :)

  87. Cathrine responded on 27 Apr 2012 at 4:25 am #

    OH my gosh I so relate to this too. My friends have consistently changed as I’ve gotten older, because I’ve changed too. I find any alternative suggestions strange. At the same time, I envy friends of mine who have their group – 2-3 other girls they can go to lunch with have known each other for years and can do the SATC weekly gossip session. Rather, I have a group of friends who I’ve known for years, but don’t really tell my personal stuff to, and 1-2 close friends who don’t know each otehr who i can talk to properly. It’s strange, I feel as though i’m missing out on something, and yet, if that was the type of person i was, woudln’t i make this weekly lunch date a reality? or am i overthinking this?

  88. Emily responded on 03 May 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I’ve been reading your archives all morning and wow, I relate to everything so much! But especially this. I don’t have any friends besides my brother and my live-in boyfriend–the women at work are good to chat with, but we don’t ever see each other outside the office, and I never made friends in college because I was also working full-time. This is a lot harder than people ever made it seem, and living in a big city without friends is nothing but lonely. But this post made me feel less alone.

  89. Jenn responded on 07 Jun 2012 at 12:45 am #

    My husband left college with some forever friends; I didn’t. I’ve always felt guilty, like I’m not a nice person. Now we’re in a new state, and I don’t have a job – I care for my 2 small kids. I’m still looking for my forever friends!

  90. Eat the Damn Cake » being friends with other people’s moms responded on 21 Aug 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    [...] again. Because you are not supposed to cry over being subtly excluded when you are twenty-six. Because at twenty-six you are supposed to have found friends who pay attention. Because at twenty-six when someone cuts you off, you have to fall quiet and smile or dive back [...]

  91. Eat the Damn Cake » all of the things that are killing us and our unborn future children responded on 10 Sep 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    [...] of fleas. We got into this conversation about living in New York, and she was young and cool and I wished that we could become friends but had no idea how to make that happen so I played it cool and pretended I had to get going so [...]

  92. Sami responded on 12 Sep 2012 at 12:24 am #

    I think you’re cool and I love reading your blog! I live in Tucson, but maybe we can be pen pal friends. I feel like I understand exactly where you’re coming from in a bunch of your posts. This one, the skinny girl gone soft one, etc. And I’m going to get a cat soon (my baby d’Artagnan went away with the ex’s family *super sad face*), so if there is a lull in totally awesome, super deep girlfriend talk, we could always trade cute cat pictures. What do you think?

  93. Rose responded on 21 Apr 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    I guess my thoughts on friendships are pretty different from most people’s, but I was always a lone wolf. The times that I’ve had large groups of friends actually felt overwhelming and uncomfortable. I felt like I was putting in too much time and effort for something that didn’t provide a very good return on investment. I would help people with this or that and they’d just take it for granted, and I also remember feeling intensely bored with having the same conversations with people and doing the same things over and over again. I like living in NYC because you can always find a way to do different things, be around very large groups, dance in a big crowd, and have lots of different conversations, but at the end of the day, keep things acquaintance-level and be by yourself or with your husband.

    Some people think that women like me have an anxiety problem or a personality disorder, but that’s not true. Instead, I think that the female gender role is such that we’re conditioned to consider it abnormal if women don’t want to cultivate multiple friendships, coordinate events, get excited about attending rite of passage events like weddings and baby showers, and so on. I am looking forward to a time when it’s okay for both genders to choose whether they want to be social and friendship-oriented or lone wolf-types and focused on solitary activities.

  94. Beth smith responded on 19 Jul 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Hey guys, are u on cardsapp? thanks

  95. Jo responded on 31 Mar 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    Thanks for the honest words, Kate. I’m wondering if you or any of your readers have some advice for me? I am feel rather heart-broken after finding out that my best-friend-since-I-was-11 who lives in another city is having a 30th birthday party this weekend and hasn’t invited me. Last year she flew up for my 30th. I am quite baffled. She was also one of my bridesmaids. We have not had any falling outs, and I am unsure why, at this point in our lives, she would be pulling away from me? Our other friend who lives in the same city as me has been invited, and is going, which is how I found out about it. She asked if I would like to send a present with her. I had emailed my friend this week and asked if she was having a party. I did not receive a response. Adult friendship seems as agonisingly emotionally fraught to me as childhood friendship was. I have lost some friends after getting married, but most have lasted, even through several overseas moves. Only now as I hit my thirties have I started to realise how “friendless” I really am…

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