This is probably going to sound very self-pitying and whiny, but trust me, I am grateful for my life. It’s just that things have shifted so greatly over the last few years, it’s hard not to be reflective.
Given our work and hobbies, not to mention the kid, we’ve had friendships that cross into several different groups of people. Primarily, for me, that has meant mom bloggers, musicians, tech/social media peeps and PTA parents. Our connections within those groups swelled so much that they crossed over within each other and life was pretty frenetic. Almost every single night there was one, two, three or more possibilities for going out in any one, two or more of these areas. Foursquare was roaring because you could check in, and regularly find out a friend was not only nearby, but often times was in the same bar. If I went to see a local band, I could expect to know many people there.
Heck, we used to run into people, all the time, all over.
Some people moved. Some had kids (or more kids). Many of the bands we knew started touring and the music scene is much more fragmented. Foursquare tanked and I have no sense of where people go anymore. Dex started middle school, is approaching the end of 7th grade and I can tell you the names of maybe three parents at his new school. His old friends have scattered around Denver and we rarely see them. Multi-year construction on 36 has severed Denver and Boulder to where we rarely travel back and forth for anything anymore.
None of this has anything to do with me, but when it affects so many of our friendships, it can’t help but feel personal.
We decided not to have our annual sangria party this year because I just couldn’t face begging people to come. I know… everyone is busy, summer has so many fun things to do, but it really sucks that people hold off saying yes to you because they want to see if something better might be happening that night.
I just don’t feel connected.
Of course we have our dear friends, our family, and that is definitely enough! I am lucky and appreciative. It’s just hard when you have such a robust environment and it crumbles. You feel sliced up, sad, and also unsure of your standing.
I have a vivid memory of being invited over to a friend’s house as a child; we were around 10 years old. I thought we were having a blast when she informs me I was the fourth person she asked over. “Sarah and Heather and Jenny could not make it, you are sooo lucky!” I have several stories like that, but this one hurt the most because I thought she genuinely liked me.
Close friends know I alternatively come off as overbearing or aloof because rejection is such a hot button. I will try so hard to include everyone, make them welcome… inclusivity is big with me. Or, if I feel left out, I will retreat, perhaps come off as a bitch because I refuse to put myself out there. It can go either way, I know it’s not fair to others but it’s the way I am.
There is a theory from Robin Dunbar that no human can maintain more than 150 friendships at one time. Perhaps social media has made that number larger, or only made us feel that number can be larger – but in reality, it’s still impossible.
In my case, it seems the latter is true.