Ladies of the Round Table

April 21, 2008

Circle of Friends

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carissa @ 11:10 pm

Ok first I am sorry for pretty much falling off the face of the earth lately – I have not done a Goal Monday in a while, or a Homespun Sunday or pretty much even a post about what is going on with anything. To say that I am working into a full fledged funk is an understatement – I believe I am already there, not only at work but at home as well. There are a host of reasons, some I can talk about some I cannot, but such is life. But this seems to have worked perfectly into this post for Ladies of the Roundtable. This month I can post twice once as a free for all and once on the actual topic which I can sadly admit that I do not even remember what the topic is this month. But as the title suggests I want to talk about something most women not only need but seem to get us through the day, week, month, year(s) from hell, our friends.

When we are younger it seems we are friends with a different array of people, people who have different interests and beliefs, etc… and as clicks or groups start to form then we choose our friends based on who they are (or who they are not). I do not know a woman who cannot tell me she has one childhood friend that she can recall who was her sounding board during those “wonderful” pre-teen and teen years – someone who always knew her crushes, her first kiss, what she planned to do (or not do) on Prom night, what her real grade on that pop quiz was, how she really felt about her parents – I could go on but you get the idea. That person, and I say person as by the time I reached high school my best friend – the person I counted on for everything – was a guy and not another girl, can predict things even you could not, things that you never would. If this person is not still in your life, should you meet them again you would find that they fit right back in and for some people it may even be a group of people a – circle of friends shall we say. I have to say that most of the women I know fall into one of two groups with this first true friend – that person is still in her life, even if from a LONG distance away but they talk constantly and still are as close as ever or like in my case part of my life changed and I rarely if ever talk to the people I considered friends in high school and that aforementioned guy, I have no clue where he is or what he is doing. I heard from him once when I was in law school and at that time he was married and we caught up on what life was like for us and said we would stay in touch, but I have not talked to him again. I would LOVE to find him, catch up and this time actually stay in touch and even with his unusual last name I cannot find him, most likely he does not want to be found that would fit him. But this second group of women, like me, would like to be back in touch with their friend but cannot find them or have not even tried for a whole host of reasons, usually life just gets in the way.

After childhood (and high school), each season of life brings a whole host of new friends – be it college, marriage, parenthood or something totally different. Somehow we gravitate to those who are in or who have been in the same situation as we are, for example right now I feel more closely connected to people I have never actually met than to my friends who live in the same town I do, why is that? Well my blogging buddies are not only experiencing or have experienced what I am right now but I can relate with them. I have no idea what being pregnant is like and most likely never will – I know what I have heard from my friends or read in a book but not in person. I cannot tell my labor and delivery story or laugh about what my newborn baby is doing now. At some point these friends and I’s seasons will be the same again but for right now they could not be more different and I feel horrible but some days I cannot deal with their season and mine (and I firmly believe the opposite is true some days they cannot deal with their season and mine) – while we are happy for each other and want to be there for each other it is hard to be a true friend and listen and tell your friend it will all work out when you have NO IDEA what is going to happen. There are things we say such as “well I read that..” or “another friend did …” or “I wish I could help more than just listening” – and before you know it if that season lasts long at all you and your friend now just seem to be passing acquaintances.

My best friend from college who I still talk to almost every day (though not as often lately) and I have a theory about being single and being married – I got married when I was firmly in my 30’s and she is only six months younger than me and she is still not married – each of us has been in at least thirteen weddings, many of mine while I was single and all of hers, most of these women consider us close enough friends to be in their weddings but within months of the wedding we have stopped hearing from them in any regular fashion (and in some cases after the divorce is final we have all the sudden become close to them again) but we really could not figure out why. The more we examined it – a real effort had to be made to be friends, we no longer had dating (or not dating) in common and the one who remained single had nothing in common with the married one – now a real effort had to be made by both parties to listen to the other about the issues you have no clue about or just were not 100% interested in. In some cases these women became mothers and we have NEVER heard from them again because now there really is no common ground. I swore when I got married this would not happen with her – but now with the adoption we have to make an effort to talk and I HATE that as we used to talk all the time but once again – I am in a different season and so is she, we are trying but it is not always easy.

There are seasons we go through that we feel as if there in NO ONE in that season – I have a few though not many in my life – and that makes it harder. There is no one who can tell you it will all work out and you will walk out a stronger woman on the other side of it. Sometimes we help our friends through those seasons – such as I have seen women shave their heads in solidarity when a friend has cancer and will lose all of her hair, so that woman will not be alone in her experience of being bald and they can all experience that together. That is a show of friendship and something I may do for my friends as well.

We all revel in shared experiences, can you think of any of your friends who you do not share something with? I cannot think of a friend in my life who I do not share some sort of something that is important to me with, and in most cases it is more than one thing. My question becomes what do you do to help your friends when they are experiencing something you have not and may want to such as pregnancy or do not want to such as cancer – what can we do for those we consider special, our friends and loved ones when we are not on the same page? I want to deepen my friendships – all of them, those online, in person and from a distance. I want to be there for my friends no matter what, even when things in my life are falling apart around me. Sometimes when I talk to my friends I feel like the conversation is all about me even when I try to talk about them as well – there has to be a way. So maybe you my friends in this season of my life can help me stay friends who are not only not in this season with me but may not be as excited that I am entering this season and leaving other seasons behind or am not as excited about other seasons…so please I ask you to share your experiences in friendship good and bad, long and short in the comments! My hope with this post is to start a discussion about friendship that we can all learn from!



  1. This hits home with me!!

    I am the only single one left of my friends. All are married and now, all of them have children. It’s awful to say, but there are many days where I am so green with envy, that I find it’s best to stay away. It doesn’t mean I love my friends any less, or that, if ever they needed me, I wouldn’t drop everything to be there. It just means that in order to maintain my own personal sanity I have to detach. I have known my entire life that all I’ve ever wanted was to be married and have a family. All of my friends have everything I have ever wanted, and frankly it’s damn hard to watch sometimes. How can I not wonder when it will be my turn? How do I support/encourage them when I want their lives for myself.

    My relationships have been sorely tested this last year. Often in my friendships I have been the main giver, the one that maintains the communications. Now that I have moved away, this has gotten harder. Because, just as I don’t “get” the issues my married with children friends are going through, they no longer can understand mine. I am walking a high-wire trying to balance maintaining years-long friendships that I need with the need to form new relationships in the city in which I now live.

    This is one that I struggle with every day…I look forward to hearing what everyone else has to say about how they deal with this.

    Comment by Reen — April 22, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  2. I can relate to this to some degree as well. During college, I’d lost that closeness I had growing up with my best friend from childhood. Since we’ve become adults though, we’ve reconnected and she is again one of my closest friends, if not my absolute closest. I also know what you mean about feeling closer to bloggy friends at times than *real* people in my life. It was never that my friends didn’t try to understand what I was going through with adoption, it was more that blog friends just *got it* without much explanation needed.
    It’s also strange, but since the “pregnancy divide” was removed (basically, since I got to experience that and no longer feel isolated when something pregnancy-related comes up in conversation), my friendships have changed. I was never resentful when my friends were pregnant and I was not. It was just that I couldn’t relate to their experiences being pregnant and always felt a little left out when discussions were about that topic. What’s incredible to me is how all my friends have been there for me in times of trouble, no matter how “out of touch” I thought we’d been. I feel so lucky to have people in my life who would band together to help me like my friends have in the past few weeks.

    Comment by Laurie and Travis — April 22, 2008 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

  3. This really hit home for me as well. Seriously, I could just copy and paste Reen’s comment and make it my own. I have very few single friends. And, it is sad to say, some of them are not fitting in with the adoption “season of my life”. Some days I feel closer to the people I have met through blogs and through adoption than I do my friends of several years. Like Laurie said, they just “get it”.

    I have always been a “giver”, never expecitng much in return. Now, with this roller coaster ride called adoption, I need to take some and it is a strange feeling for me. The adoption has helped me realize I need the support of others. A lot of the support has come from bloggy friends, but also from friends that have children. It is a very difficult balancing act.

    Thankfully, I do have a 3 extremely close friends who have been with me through thick and thin. As I sit here, examining those relationships, I can honestly say the give and take is 50/50. This can easily bend when one of needs more giving than the other. I guess I don’t really have any advice, but I know that there I times when these 3 best friends will need to be the givers and there I times when I need to be the main giver. I guess it seems like an unspoken rule between us and for that, I am grateful!

    Comment by Kelli K — April 23, 2008 @ 1:41 am | Reply

  4. What a great post, Carissa. I find it all so interesting and true. I think about half of my good girl friends are married and the other half are single. Only a handful are moms. I find that I relate really well to single women without kids who are focused on their careers. 🙂 Could my current “position” be any more the opposite?! I was the first of all my friends to get married! Yet we always have so much in common. It’s always give and take and we’re there for each other. I don’t know what to say other than we just know each other and relate, even though we aren’t necessarily in the same places. I guess I feel like I don’t have to have personal experience to understand – or do my best to learn about – someone else’s circumstances. I think my friends are that way as well.

    I think it is SOOOO important for women to have good girl friends who are genuine and caring. I hate to say this, but we all know how catty some girls can be. I find that so sad, because women have so much to gain from their genuine friendships. I had only one friend that had been a very close friend for years who was that way, and I finally couldn’t take it any longer. Women who don’t support each other, who allow jealousy and a need to feel better than other women, baffle me.

    I learned the importance of strong friendships with women from my mom and I’m forever grateful to her for that example. I don’t know what I would do without my friends. I’m so excited for this discussion. Thank you for coming up with it and for a great post.

    Comment by Laura — April 23, 2008 @ 4:05 am | Reply

  5. It’s so funny, one of my very best friends is married but with no kids- we don’t relate about kid stuff either pregnancy or adoption… But we relate so much on spritual things and our journey’s with God. And it is so good…. I would love to be able to share parenting stuff with her and hope to someday, but there is such grace there to just both be where we are….
    One of the things that I am realizing about friendship is that it is soooooo important to have friends in seasons and for different things….to not put all of my expectations for understanding and relating on one or even two people….
    For me too, having bloggy friends for adoption stuff has been incredible… I really can’t imagine back in the “old days” when many of the people who pioneered in adoption did it without any support from those who had gone before them….

    Comment by sheljena — April 23, 2008 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

  6. I liked this too. I actually don’t have very many friends, but I’ve always been that way. I have one friend that I’ve known since junior high, and three best friends that I’ve known since senior year of high school. We have all been through so many different things in life, especially after over 10 years, and I’ve come to find that as seasons change in my life and their lives we still need each other. I need them for different things now and it has taken time to figure out. As our lives change, so do our friendships. Sometimes the changes are so large that the adjustment takes time – which was especially true for the big things like marriage and my daughter. But we got there. And we will again. And I hope that you will too.

    Comment by craftymommy — May 11, 2008 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  7. […] are relevant)! One year ago today….I wrote a post over at Ladies of the Roundtable called Circle of Friends about friendship (wow talk about things from a year ago being relevant today…) but I started […]

    Pingback by One Year Ago Today… « Faith, Hope and Love…. — April 21, 2009 @ 6:12 am | Reply

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