Essays,  General Thoughts

Desperately Seeking Friendship

I feel like there needs to be an app for people seeking non-romantic relationships. The Tinder for friendships. Maybe there already is an app like that. I should check since I don’t get out much.

Married female seeking friends. Loves books, dogs, and has a manageable obsession with Snoopy®. Enjoys movies, writing, and leisurely strolls outside. Dislikes politics, laziness and most country music. People who are rude to service workers need not apply.

Maybe it’s not specific enough?

Lonely married female seeks companion for shopping, snarky comments, occasional concerts of hard rock or 90s grunge or alternative, and decent servings of chick flicks or scary movies at the theater.

Too desperate?

First friendships

Usually, family members are our first friends whether it’s our parents, siblings or cousins. We learn how to play, how to share, and how to interact with others. For most of us, we form a few really close friendships in school, and if we’re really lucky, those friendships last a lifetime. But it doesn’t always work out that way. Not all friendships or relationships are made to stand the test of time.

Childhood Friendships

It’s easier to analyze childhood friendships when you’re no longer a child. I watch my children and their evolving friendships and remember my own when I was their ages. All the inside jokes, laughter and fun along with drama, tears, hurt feelings and isolation at times. Being a kid is tough enough on its own dealing with the world around you and having to deal with some really big emotions while growing up and navigating friendships with others going through the same thing. And oh, the hormones. My kids are hitting puberty around the time my body’s preparing for menopause. Hopefully, we’ll all make it through relatively unscathed. (Pray for us!).

Making friends

I think making friends is easier as a kid when everything is new and making a new friend is as simple as a common interest and proximity in the classroom, at the park or in another group activity. Those early friendships may or may not last, but I’ve heard about research that states friendships lasting more than seven years are usually able to last. I have friends I’ve known for more than seven years.

Best friends

My husband is my truest best friend by definition at this point in my life. I tell him more than I tell any other person, though I don’t tell him everything. I don’t tell anyone everything. As far as female friends, I have and have had a handful of wonderful women I consider or have considered my best friends. Although I may not be or have ever been considered their best friend. That’s right—you can have a best friend who doesn’t consider you their best friend. It’s complicated.

Unrealistic Expectations

When I was little, I dreamed of having the kind of adult friendships I saw on TV shows. Living in houses next door to each other with kids the same ages who were friends too. Real life doesn’t look like that for me. I don’t really know my neighbors, and they don’t have kids the same ages as mine. And you can’t really force friendships between kids or adults. The relationships have to develop naturally.

Geographically Bound

The friends I’ve felt or still feel closest to emotionally don’t live near me anymore. We keep in touch via text mostly because it’s just the norm these days. And then there’s Facebook where we all get to keep our baskets of friends for safekeeping. It’s sometimes good and sometimes bad. We can know what’s going on in someone’s life based on how much they share without ever having to interact with them beyond an occasional reaction to their photo or post. We can know more without really talking to anyone. Usually, it’s the really good or the really bad things that get shared.

Online Friends

Because of social media and my writing career, I have some friends I’ve never met in person. Not having met doesn’t mean I don’t care about them or their well-being. We’ve had really good online conversations and helped each other through some tough times. I would do anything I could to support them in their career or lift them up personally. They’ve given me valuable feedback on my writing to help make it better.

New friends

Forming new adult friendships is harder because we’re all busy with our jobs or our families or both. Getting together to chat with people is just harder to manage during certain seasons of life. I feel like I spend most of my time carting my kids somewhere, working, or taking care of our household. I also need to take care of myself, my marriage, my dogs, etc.

It’s not surprising that most new friendships we form as adults are made when we’re working or training for it, in the military, at a place of worship, or through our kids.

Isolation

A lot of people experienced isolation for the first time during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m still isolated most of the day due to working from home. I love the setup because I’m able to focus and get my tasks done more efficiently without interruptions of standard office noise, and regular meetings keep me from feeling disconnected from my coworkers throughout the week. We’re scattered across two states, so I’m not the only one working from the comfort of home.

Spending so much time in my home office has increased my appreciation for the companionship of my two dogs. They’re always willing to sleep near me or on me depending upon what task I’m completing. When I’m in meetings or doing lots of writing, they’re snoring in the recliner, and when I’m working on research or watching videos that pertain to work, they’re usually snuggled in my lap.

Reaching out

Even though I rarely see my dearest friends, I try to let them know I’m thinking about them on their birthdays and during the holidays. I reach out during good times and bad to keep those connections as strong as I can. I miss getting to see them, but I don’t feel like I’ve lost their friendships. Some of these great friends read and provide feedback for my novels, and I appreciate them so much for helping me and supporting my dream. I hope they know I am here for them if they ever need me.

Thank you for reading,
-Brandi Easterling Collins

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