Ten years ago, I always had a social event (or a few) on the books every day of the week. I was rarely alone. In fact, I had to fight just to create a little alone time for myself. I had ongoing text threads going with several circles of friends. I felt quite popular, really. But, my friend group has dropped off significantly since then. And, from what I’ve discovered, that’s pretty normal. As you get older, you just become more selective about whom you spend time with. Between your career becoming more demanding and your romantic relationship becoming more serious, you just don’t have time to meet up with the crew three times a week at the favorite watering hole. Shows like “How I Met Your Mother” and “Friends” make it seem like adults actually have time for this. They don’t—unless they literally all live in the same building. And then even still, they don’t. Here is why my friend group has shrunk over the years, and why I’m okay with that.
Some are career-obsessed
Some of my friends have become so career-obsessed that they really don’t make time for anything else these days. I definitely respect their hustle, but I fear they’ve lost sight of what matters most in life: personal relationships. I can’t, however, teach them that. I am also busy, and only make time for friends who already recognize the value of friendship.
Some have no ambition
Then I have some friends who, though they’re good people, don’t really have much ambition. They seem to just be settling into jobs that they hate and don’t aspire for much more. It’s hard for me to be around that energy because, I am trying to go higher and higher in my career. Being around people who have given up is…sad.
Some are relationship-obsessed
Look, I’m in a romantic relationship myself. But I don’t think that completely gets me off the hook for being accountable to my friends. Unfortunately, not all my friends feel the same way, and they’ll cancel on me at the last minute time and time again because, suddenly, their partner is free and wants to spend time with them. They are unhealthily reliant on their relationships.
Some have controlling partners
Some of my friends have been taken over by controlling partners. It’s been sad to see but, a few have wound up with men who are controlling, possessive, and pretty much tell my friends where they can go, who they can see, and how to spend their time. I want to save them but…they’re grown*ss women. They make their own decisions.
Some let their partner’s friends take over
I understand that it’s hard balancing all the friends of both people in a relationship. But some of my girlfriends just gave up, and decided that all social time would be dedicated to their partner’s friends. Maybe it’s because their partner’s are pushy, or won’t make time for their wife or girlfriend’s friends. Either way, I can’t do much to fix that.
Some have more expensive taste
Honestly, some of my old friends just wound up much, much wealthier than I am. And they only want to go to places and do things that I cannot afford. They’ve tried to “rough it” at places I like but, we can both feel that…they aren’t happy there.
Some are single, and only hang with singles
I absolutely still make time for my single friends but some of them don’t make time for me. I kind of get it. They still want to find their person and, it’s easier for them to do this when they hang out with other single people.
Some are flaky
Some people just become too flaky, refusing to commit to specific plans, or trying to change plans all of the time at the last minute. I guess, to put it simply, I’m not a priority. I’ve realized that; they haven’t. So they keep attempting to make half*ss plans with me, that I know they’ll cancel.
Some won’t go out of their way
I live in a big city where driving five miles can take 45 minutes. So I understand that some friends don’t want to drive to my side of town sometimes. But some never will. Some won’t even meet me half way. They always try to convince me to drive the 45 minutes to them. I’m over that.
Some are scenesters
I’m very much over needing to be at the new hot spot/club/bar/event/party. But I have some friends who won’t step out of the house unless it’s to do that. In other words, they won’t just come over for a bottle of wine or meet me somewhere for a quiet dinner. And that’s all I want to do. Maybe that’s my fault. Maybe it’s just a conflict of interests.
Some won’t adventure
Then I have friends who never want to do anything, try anything new, go anywhere new, or meet new people. A couple of friends have shown themselves to be agoraphobic hermits or…even just very needy of my attention. They just want to hang out, one on one, at one of our homes. They won’t go out and meet people. It’s hard to make much time for them.
Some only hang with other parents
Nobody understands motherhood like other mothers so, naturally, I don’t see some of my mommy friends much anymore. They actually do still make the effort but, naturally, they just don’t have nearly as much time to hang out anymore.
Some moved far away
I’m a city girl. I can’t help it. I want to delay moving to the suburbs for as long as possible. But I do understand that it has an allure for some—and some of my friends just left the city.
Some made choices that depress me
Sadly, some of my friends made choices that are hard for me to support, like marrying someone they don’t love for money or giving up their careers that they loved for a partner who forced them to be stay-at-home parents. They aren’t happy people now, due to their own decisions. I don’t really want to be around that.
Some became very religious
A couple friends became quite religious and seem to only really want to be around other people of the same faith. Or their calendars are just filled with religious events. I’m invited but I feel like an outsider when I go.