Friday, September 30, 2016

Overthinking friendship mid-30s

Thank you, people who read the words I put on the internet. It means something. Please know that. I know we are all bombarded, constantly, with so many messages. And you choose to click over here and spend some of your time with me.

I appreciate that.
It's nice having you.

We all want to be seen. And known.
Except for when we don't.

I hide when I don't want to be seen. I don't know about you. One time I saw a meme or like one of those fake internet T-shirts that said "I'm sorry I'm late. I didn't want to come."

That's been me. For the past, I don't know, three years or so.

I know it's not just me. What is it about the mid-thirties that makes us not want to get to know new people? I've been in this phase where I don't really want anything new at all.

I shop at the same stores all the time: Banana Republic, J. Crew, and The Limited.
I don't mind eating the same thing every day for breakfast: a smoothie and bacon.
I don't even like to watch new TV shows. I'm perfectly content re-watching the same series on Netflix (or Hulu or whatever they're on, Michael pulls them up for me. I make TV for a living but don't ask me to work one at home, or an iPad): Homeland, Parenthood, Gilmore Girls, I wouldn't mind watching all of 24 again.
I could be perfectly happy re-organizing my house every weekend and never talking to anyone.

I like my routines.
I like it when my old friends from other places come here to visit. I will stop what I am doing to meet them for coffee or dinner so we can laugh at things we already know are funny and skip the small talk that's necessary to get to know someone.

Making new friends takes effort. And I don't know about you, but I am tired.

When I took the job I have now, I underestimated how lonely it would be. There is a weird distance when you're the boss. And I get it. It should be there. The distance has a purpose.

Is it the internet's fault? It sure is easier to chat behind a screen than it is to make time to do it in person.

I want to be comfortable more than I want to be known. Because new friends are like work. I have made a couple of new friends here, though. And I am so thankful for them. That they kept asking me to do something, even if I said no 14 times. I have better friends than the friend I am, for sure.

When we get to the mid-thirties, we are all in these different places. Married or not, kids or not, multiple kids or an only child, career-focused or not, Pinterest-perfect or not, go to this or that church or not, have this political party affiliation or not, homeowner or not, etc. Hobbies and jobs are all over the place.

Growing up, we have more in common. Same for college. Even the twenties. But people in their thirties are all over the place. And we feel like we don't fit in with the people who are in their twenties or the people who are in their forties. Or, maybe we do.

It's a weird place to be. Maybe I'm overthinking it. And I have moved a lot over the years, so maybe I shouldn't blame my friend issues on my decade. Maybe I'm just tired from working every couple of years to make new friends.

Anyway. Just thinking about the random collection of friends who read this blog, and wanting you to know I'm so thankful for each of you, that our paths crossed at some point along the way and we weren't too tired or self-focused to miss out on the opportunity to get to know each other.





7 comments:

Nelson Watkins said...

You hit the nail on the head. This is also me exactly.

Kristen Maddux said...

Girl, I'm so glad to read your writing again! And as per usual, I could have written some of this myself. I'm fact, I literally over-thought this exact issue most of the day yesterday!
And it's not just people who have had to move around like you have. I could count on two hands the number of fulfilling friendships I've put lots of effort and time into the last ten years, who then moved away from me, haha! It's a little unbelievable actually. And now? I am TIRED. The last of my close friends here just informed me she too will be moving in December and I couldn't help but think, FIGURES! I asked the Lord to keep giving me strength to reach out, keep from getting cynical about it, have the stamina to just...keep reaching out. But I'm big time out of my comfort zone with it at this point. It helps me rely on God, but boy is it exhausting! I'm sure being a leader makes it extra hard -- if you lean too far the other way, you become Michael Scott 😱! Thanks again for writing, it's nice to know I'm not alone!

Kristen Maddux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rainee Kite said...

I think everyone goes through a version of this... that t-shirt totally belongs to me, lol, but I'm always glad that I forced myself to go somewhere after it's over. I think your social life takes work like everything else, and though we don't want the extra work, it's good for the soul. You need it... need the balance.

"There is a weird distance when you're the boss. And I get it. It should be there. The distance has a purpose." - There doesn't have to be... sure, there has to be a line for when you're serious and need to be respected, but I've seen many leaders find the balance and create great work friendships... it makes life/work so much better :)

Nicole Pritchard said...

I LOVE this, Dana! Thanks for writing it. For me, I wonder how much of my comfort seeking has to do with how overwhelmed I already am and how I'm not really succeeding at much (or anything). When I was younger, it was easy to check things off my list. Being in my mid-thirties and raising four children (2 with special needs), I'm all over the place and there is nothing to measure. At least nothing to measure as "success."

I do think you've hit the nail on the head though. We're no longer in circles where we have a ton in common with each other. I long to belong AND to have friends who understand my struggles. Yet, I'm always surprised when I sit down with a friend who is in a dramatically different situation and we connect on many levels that are infinitely more important than our life situation, political affiliation, etc...

I'm also thankful for my friends who've been persistent when I've been unresponsive to their invitations.

Stacie Davis said...

Agreed!!! It isn't just you. It is a mid-thirties thing for sure!!! I mean, it may also be a mid-forties thing too, but we will have to wait and find out. LOL!!!

Klouse Gray said...

Sweet! beautiful photo <3





~Klouse@D Liche