As adults, we all know forming new friendships is a whole new ball game. The delicate dance of adult friendships: awkward, off balanced, forced, scarey, nerve wrecking. The general consensus is that they are not as easy as a “I sit next to you in Chemistry and you have cool gen pens so I will be friends with you from now on”. As adults our free time is limited. We have jobs. We have children. We have responsibilities and commitments. We like to be in bed by 10 pm. We don’t like to take off our slippers and sweats if we don’t have to. Our version of “going out” means running to the grocery store, which is a planned and a highly enjoyed activity when done alone.
As social beings (Genesis 2:18) we thrive and look for companionship in others. We love our spouses but we like to talk, and be with others, as well. My husband believes that he has hit his friendship quota and is at max capacity. He talks about how a few times he has opened his friendship portfolio and let a new person in. How it pushed his limits but now he is now at his all time max.
My husband and I have under 10 couples we consider friends (we don’t discriminate, we have single friends too but this isn’t post isn’t about them okay). I am a highly social and talkative person. I thrive on human contact and interaction. Talking is my thing. My husband talks for a living as a salesman. He likes to not talk and not think when he is out of work. Not talking or thinking doesn’t really scream “Hey! Let’s be friends!” Often I will talk to a new potential friend, have a great time, and hit some fun topics. Later I will tell my husband about how much fun I had and how it would be fun to be friends with them. This is the point in the conversation where he points out that he has no more room for friends. He is happy with the friends he/we have and he has no more room for new friends. I, however, lean towards the Girl Scouts song “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the others gold”. I will always have room for more friends. Facebook hasn’t put a limit on my friend requests. Twitter hasn’t capped my followers. I say: the more the merrier! He says “We barely have time to see these friends on a rare occasions, what makes you think we have time to see new people?” Fair statement. With all of our running around and other obligations, when do we really see our current friends? We do see them at fun annual events like an ugly sweater Christmas party, a surprise 30th birthday party, the 4th of July barbeques, helping them move…there are a handful of times we see them in a quality time setting. We are blessed that we have a weekly bible study that 80% of our previously mentioned adult friends attend. Our friendships stay strong because we see each other weekly and we have the common goal of edification. Those new friendships, even if we did try, would they last? Will the dwindle away? Will they work with our schedule and life? I say a resounding YES! He side eyes my enthusiasm.
Occasionally there will be a time when my husband agrees that a couple seems nice and maybe we should try to get to know them and hang out. Then we think about the details of how an endeavor like this would pan out. Should we ask if they want to do a play date? This could work. We met because our kids are in the same swimming/dance/Gymboree/music (insert your expensive child experience class here) class. But, you don’t want to use your child as a crutch in your efforts. Plus in reality its the adults you want to see. Should you ask them out to dinner? Whoa, that’s forward. You don’t want to come off too strong and scare them off. Then there is the “We are going to the zoo/park/mall (large populated area that is easy to “lose” someone in) this weekend. Maybe if you aren’t doing anything we could meet up there?” tactic. Safe. Social. No pressure. No bad feelings if things aren’t reciprocal. If things get awkward you can say its nap time or “its been a long day for the kids” or your gout is acting up.
Let’s say that you do manage to hang out with these new people and you hit it off. You like each other. You get the excited fun goodness. Light inside jokes might start to happen. You plan another hang out. Then you start to think of the future. Can you afford to keep these friends? When old friends are getting together will they be cool with you bringing new friends? Will the old and new friends get along? Will they want to meet? What if they have nothing in common? How will you separate your holiday celebrations? Then those odd feelings of being a child of divorce pop in. I need to divide my time evenly.
This is too hard. So I say, Babe, let’s just watch Hell’s Kitchen in our PJ’s while eating cookies and pray that our kids stay asleep, it’s almost 10 o’clock.