I find the act of having friends changes many times through life. Is anyone out there still friends with kids from Kindergarten? I'd guess very few. I used to think I was not good at making friends, but I've since decided that's not the case. Sometimes the people you think you want to befriend are not the ones you should befriend.
It took me a long time to figure out who I actually wanted to be friends with in high school. Turns out who I thought I liked I didn't connect with. The problem turned out to be me. I didn't know who I was, so how could I know who to surround myself with? Once I embraced my quirks and individuality I found those people who liked me for me (and my quirks!)
Now that I'm a grownup and a mom, I feel friends are much different than when I was a kid. I had a collection of highschool friends, then University friends, and now, while I still talk to some of those past friends, my friend requirements have changed again. It's easy to be friends at school when you all have classes together, or live together, or share teams and other interests. Once you are truly on your own some of those friendships are hard to keep alive. For me, I moved into marriage and kids which left some of my friends behind. They were on the same path, just lagging a bit further behind than me. Also I moved apart from my friends - even thought we are still in the same town we are scattered around so we don't bump into each other without significant planning.
Once you throw kids into the mix, all bets are off. I chose to breastfeed, which means being with your baby 24/7 for what feels like ever. In reality it's like 4 months until baby can sleep for a long stretch or be more amused by other people, before mom (milk factory) can escape for a bit. I think it's normal to lose some non-parent friends at this stage. You're not in the same life phase, and oftentimes they just don't get what life is like with kids. But you are also in a perfect place to make new-parent friends. They can be found a playgroups, libraries, daycare centres etc.
Right now, in my life, I have very few friends that I see socially. I'm 35, married, 2 kids ages 4 and 6, working 30+ hours per week and blogging. There are a lot of people I think of as friends, but the categories they fall into are more co-worker, neighbour, and friends I talk to online but rarely see in person. And then, of course, there's my husband who's my best friend, and the friend I spend all my time with. :)
I try to plan and coordinate events or things to do with my friends, but life is busy for everyone. Now that my kids are finally out of toddlerhood and are happy with Dad or babysitter putting them to bed, I'm finding it easier to get out more. This Friday night I'm going to a concert - but likely by myself as I haven't found that perfect music-loving friend that would enjoy it as much as me.
Not sure if there's a moral to my story, but I've always been interested in the social changes people go through in life. Anyone out there have any other thoughts on making friends throughout life? Or tips for maintaining friendships through the busy stages of life? Please leave a comment if you read this all the way through (it's a long post for me!) and share your friend-making stories. Hope you enjoyed!