Real Conversations//Making Friends in 30s

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It is a dreary Tuesday morning.  I woke up too late to have hot coffee because the automatic shut-off turned off the warmer.  So warmish coffee morning until the new brew is finished because I decided to not own a microwave.  Most of the time it doesn’t really bother me but cold coffee makes me question that decision.

I’m thinking that today is going to be a chill at home day.  I have the feeling that I’d love to go on a hike with the kids but gauging from their moods, I think they need some home time.  We had a busy weekend with Easter and then yesterday we spent the day out at the park, then an indoor play area and swimming at my gym with their cousins.  I had a great day as well.  I was able to spend time with my sister-in-law Sarah and enjoyed adult conversation…the life and thought sharing kind that is welcome, connecting, and a little exhausting at the same time.   I miss that kind of conversation most weeks.  I’m grateful for the times I’m able to meet up with these special women in my life.

Sometimes I am painfully aware that my social avoidance creates the lack of those deep conversations that I enjoy.  I have some amazing women that I can talk with and share life with…but most aren’t available for stopping in for a cup of coffee.  I miss my sisters.  The miles between can be bridged with Facetime but it isn’t exactly the same as meeting up for shopping and coffee.  There is value in being physically present and involved.  Making new friends over the age of 12 is difficult.  The real friends where you can be honest and share in life.  Add in the busy family life and work, it feels darn near impossible. Plus, there is so much competition for women that may be ridiculous, but it is there.  I’ve come home from meeting with a group of women many times and just felt exhausted from the subtle manipulations or not-so-well masked insecurities which come out as judgmental jabs–it makes it harder for me to want to attempt friendship.  This is where my INFJ intuitive nature envies my extroverted friends.  Why subject myself to opening up?  I’ve been told by one very straightforward type that she feels like I have a guard up.  That I don’t fully express what I’m thinking and hold things back.  It really made me examine myself and how I communicate with women in social situations.  I didn’t feel like I did have a guard up because I always spoke honestly–but after examination, I do hold back.  Except for with those few very close friends and family.  That is why I get so drained from those conversations but fulfilled at the same time.  To share and really feel connected because I’m being fully honest and not fearful of being judged while hearing someone else fully in return.  Oh, ladies…. I don’t have an answer except that I should probably take more risks and make more time for cultivating new friendships.  I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.  But this makes it more unfortunate to me…so many of us ladies in our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s…with kids and family, involved in activities and not social hermits still feel a lack of true friendship and yet it continues.

Moving doesn’t help.  One of my friends is a military wife and when I met her, she told me that she wasn’t sure she wanted to be my friend because she was tired of losing friends to location changes.  She was not very happy when I told her I was moving back to Michigan…. and I get it.  Making friends is difficult and an investment in your time and heart.  The older I get though, I realize how valuable those friendships are to the quality of life.  Life is crazy and unpredictable.  Exciting and maddening.  It really makes all that crazy much more manageable when you can share it.

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