Friendships

Split

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.

This article has 23 comments

  1. Ben

    great post Aimee.

  2. Amy Evans

    We *totally* have had this as the kids got older. Those friends that were going through the trenches of early childhood are now so involved with driving our kids around to THEIR things!

  3. Ashleigh

    You sure we’re not related in some way? Haha. Because I know exactly what you mean and can relate to how you feel.

    Sometimes, I tend to feel that it’s better to just stay home because going out and making connections can be too exhausting.

    • Aimee

      Ha ha Ashleigh, maybe we should check Ancestry.com! πŸ˜‰

  4. Paul Merrill

    Great post, Amy.

    I too am sad when changes happen that basically dissolve relationships. There used to be more of a community around social media in Denver, and that has kind of disappeared. I can’t seem to make it to Ignites, though I hope to come to the June event.

    Thanks for your openness and honesty. You are very refreshing in this world of facades.

  5. Allison Felker

    I totally feel this. Several of my friendships have ended recently and it changes the dynamics of everything.

  6. JennyMoose

    i would do anything to get to hang out with you again like we did when we were kids.

    • Aimee

      I would love to have the fun you and I had as kids, but not much else from childhood. πŸ˜‰

  7. Keely

    I feel you. It is very hard for me to put myself out there to make friends. It takes time for me to warm up and I worry people won’t like me. I am louder on paper/the computer than I am in person. Totally relate to everything you wrote here.

  8. Kelly Kinkaid

    This year when I tried to return to work I had two relationships that were really important to me end as I went from always available to everyone to people needing to be available for me. So yes, busy times make it difficult to maintain friendships, though I also think as evidenced by the nasty ending of my 11 year and 7 year relationships, it is who you pick to friend that seems to be the most important factor. Clearly my picker is off, and I take full responsibility for that one. But as you in the paragraph in which you talk about what your close friends know about you, which I could have written about myself by the way, what can I do? I am who I am. And quite frankly, I’m sick of the whole game.

    Great piece. Clearly it totally hit a chord with me.

  9. Desiree

    For the record, if you invited Chuck and me to your sangria party, we would come. Anyway, we have a unique thug at our house where our Tweens and teens are at the other parents house during the week and with us on the weekends. Makes for a busy weekend! I would like for us to have more couples friends who have teens, too, and that’s why I started my blog — to connect people who are parenting teens and need the support that parents with younger kids get already. πŸ˜‰ I’m sharing this on my teen FB page.

  10. Desiree

    For the record, if you invited Chuck and me to your sangria party, we would come. Anyway, we have a unique thing at our house where our Tweens and teens are at the other parents house during the week and with us on the weekends. Makes for a busy weekend! I would like for us to have more couples friends who have teens, too, and that’s why I started my blog — to connect people who are parenting teens and need the support that parents with younger kids get already. πŸ˜‰ I’m sharing this on my teen FB page.

    • Aimee

      Thanks so much Desiree… and hopefully we will be up for it next year. AND hopefully I will see you in between!

  11. Teresa

    I was just thinking about the sangria party and thought, gosh, I wonder when it is! I get why / how you feel this way, but I think it is part of change and the ebb / flow of relationships. Sometimes they feel like a lot of work and sometimes they feel like they are aloft on the wings of a bird, so easy and free and rising.

  12. Rob O.

    Totally agree. We’ve seen this happen even as old friends found their mates and subsequently have had children too. You’d think that this would be an added level of connectivity but it seems anything but.

    I’ll admit that my views on other people’s parenting practices (and my big mouth) have probably cost us too. Parenthood did not come easily (or inexpensively) for us, so we take it a bit more, um… seriously and/or dutifully than many of our peers.

    • Harrison Welshimer

      Hi Aimee, this was a beautiful post. Personally, I love building relationships too, but I must be honest that my true friends are fewer than ten. One of these individuals is a friend of both of ours, Nic Jay, who I was fortunate enough to see yesterday. He told me you were doing wonderful things through your blog. I understand what he meant!

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