Kim Muench, Becoming Me Expert
It seems the older I get the harder it is to make friends.
When our kids were little we had built-in friendships simply by virtue of sharing the bleachers or the dance studio waiting room with the other parents. Since my kids are mostly grown, and all but one of them is out the door, I find myself kind of missing the days (though some of them felt endless) when there were other adults around to commiserate with.
“Sometimes evolving means losing parts of yourself and releasing pieces and people from your life that no longer fit.”
Friends I Still Keep In Contact With:
The pandemic hasn’t helped this situation. It is obvious people are choosing, for myriad reasons, to intentionally keep to themselves and I wonder how this chapter in our lives is truly affecting me and other adults around me.
I have a few friends I still keep in contact with from my younger days in my home state, but we’ve grown apart either because of losing shared experiences or honestly, because I’ve spent a lot of time self-reflecting and I’m different than the woman they once knew. Sometimes evolving means losing parts of yourself and releasing pieces and people from your life that no longer fit.
I can dwell on the sadness of it or focus on the beauty of the few people who have come into my life that now share similar interests like “figuring out who we really are and why we’re here.”
A Totally Different Atmosphere:
Maybe part of my problem is because over the summer we moved from a very family-oriented neighborhood to a brownstone in a cute area of the same town that has a water feature and some restaurants. It’s a totally different atmosphere and vibe even though it’s a mere five-minute drive from where we raised our kids.
One thing that’s become really interesting to me though is we have two dogs that I have to walk several times a day because we no longer have a yard. People seem to love our mini dachshunds, Mischief and Mayhem. They even remember their names. However, most of the people who stop and talk move along after asking the dog’s names. I find it funny how I can run into the same people day in and day out and they remember my dogs’ names, but have never asked me my name or offered their own.
“Maybe it’s me that’s awkward, maybe other people make friends all the time.”
Of course, I am just as guilty, right? I don’t offer my name or ask theirs either. And now it’s just gotten to this kind of awkward exchange of neighbors saying, “Hi Mischief, Hi Mayhem! How are you guys today?” (pet, pet) I smile and answer for the dogs, “Oh they’re just as sassy as ever! Have a great day!” And then we all move on.
Other People Make Friends All The Time:
Maybe it’s me that’s awkward, maybe other people make friends all the time.
In addition to the people I see on the street, there are a number of women I network with. We’re all building various types of businesses in the community. It feels natural and easy to set up a coffee date or a Zoom call to talk shop or contemplate collaborating on a project.
I would say I have several very comfortable relationships with fellow women in business. And yet, it doesn’t seem to cross over into socializing outside of that situation. Why is this? And, is that a problem or just the way it is? How do you go from being networking buds to being friends? Maybe you’re not supposed to be both?
Joining A Church To Make Friends:
Now I’m going to let you know the biggest secret…my husband and I struggle to find couple friends these days. We’ve been living in the same town for almost fifteen years and I can honestly say we socialize with a few other couples (like less than a handful) but it’s really dwindled over the years.
Maybe for the reasons I’ve given above. Maybe because some of them have divorced. I don’t know but when we were younger I feel like everyone wanted out of the house and away from the kids for a night on the town and now that the kids are gone we tend to hang out at home after a long work week.
“Part of me feels like I’m getting boring, part of me is embracing this quieter side of life.”
Someone suggested joining a group at church and while that sounds like a good idea, we don’t go to church and I feel like joining a church just to make some friends is hypocritical. That just doesn’t sound like the right thing to do.
Part Of Me:
We do go to outdoor music events. We may chat with people there, but it’s kind of surfacy and doesn’t really go anywhere. I often joke with my husband that we should put a sign around our necks that says, “Do you need a friend? We’re available!”
Part of me feels like I’m getting boring. Part of me is embracing this quieter side of life. Mainly I am observing how it’s changed over time and wondering if I am the only one experiencing this.
Are you finding it harder to develop friendships in mid-life? What have you done to build connection with people? I’d love to know! Drop me an email at [email protected].
About the Author:
Kim Muench (pronounced minch, like pinch with an “m”) is a Jai (rhymes with buy) Institute for Parenting Certified Conscious Parenting Coach who specializes in working with mothers of adolescents (ages 10+). Knowing moms are the emotional barometer in their families, Kim is passionate about educating, supporting and encouraging her clients to raise their children with intention and guidance rather than fear and control. Kim’s three plus decades parenting five children and years of coaching other parents empowers her to lead her clients into healthier, happier, more functional relationships with compassion and without judgment.