The One Where We Learn the Importance of Friendship

This summer, while talking with other mom friends, it seemed the topic of meeting new friends came up a lot.  It could be because I’m a little obsessed with it right now {maybe I keep bringing it up?}  But honestly, I think the reality is, making new,lasting friendships once you become a mom, or past a certain age, becomes super difficult, if not downright impossible.

In your teens and early 20’s, if you were lucky, you had an abundance of friends.  You probably had different friends you could hang out with at any given time.  You had all the time to do whatever you wanted, with whomever you wanted, whenever you wanted.

If you ever watched “Friends,” then surely you remember Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe hanging out at Central Perk talking.  And talking.  And talking.  They had nowhere else to be.  If you, like me, watched “Friends” during college and afterwards, then it’s likely the show was some sort of mirror into your own life.

Until “The Last One.”  It’s the one where Ross and Rachel finally decide to be together.  It’s the one where Chandler and Monica have twins and move to the suburbs of New York.  It’s the one where Phoebe is now married to Paul Rudd and Joey moves to L.A. to further pursue his acting career {with a dead in the water spin-off series, “Joey.”}  It’s also the one where we can assume, the friends are no longer friends.

Hanging out at Central Perk was most likely replaced with diapers, schedules, naps, and play dates.  For the characters in the series, life took over as it does for most of us.  If you’re lucky enough to live in the same place for an extended period of time, then maybe you were able to keep those friendships going.  Most likely, your friends have been replaced by time and/or distance.

Friends2

The older we get, the harder it is to make new and lasting connections.  Most people aren’t willing to put in the time and effort it takes to maintain friendships, especially with work, family, and very little time to devote to said friendships.  So, friends can fall to the wayside.   “A lot of times we take friendship for granted,” says Bill Rawlins, Ohio University Stocker Professor of Communication Studies. “Friendship is not something that just happens.”   He means friendships take time, something you may have very little of.

And while friendships in your younger years looked like Monica and Rachel, friendships in your more “mature” years can look like “The Real Housewives of Orange County” {ie: beware of the crazy.}  No one wants to put in the time and effort it takes to get to know someone only to find out the crazy train has left the building and unfortunately, you’re on it.  The bad news is you now need to figure out how to get off of it gracefully.

Don’t underestimate the importance of friendship.  According to the Mayo Clinic, friendship is an important part of our health and wellbeing.  Friends are there to help offer encouragement and support during difficult times, and friends are also there to celebrate and have a good laugh with during good times.  They help boost your confidence, and they increase your sense of belonging and self-worth.

So it is extremely important to keep your friendships from high school, college, and beyond.  These are the people who knew you at different times in your life, and they remind you where you were, and where you are now.  Maybe you broke curfew with these friends {hopefully you don’t have a curfew anymore, but there are plenty of rules you can still break together.}  Maybe you had one too many and they laughed at you while you puked in the grass {this is still a possibility, so keep these friends in your back pocket.}

These are the friends who went to concerts with you back when you didn’t complain about how loud concerts are.  These are the friends who stood up for you at your wedding, and were there for you when you found out you were going to be a parent for the first {second or third…} time.  And these are the friends who sat with you every Thursday night, so you could all share a laugh with Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe {if you want to share more laughs with the cast of “Friends” this “slider” from Buzzfeed is pretty good.}

These are the people who helped make you who you are today.  So, drop a line on Facebook, send a text or make a phone call.  And if you’re really brave, do what Drew Barrymore did this week, and pop an old fashioned letter in the mail box.  I heart snail mail, too, Drew!  I’m sure your friends will appreciate it.  Make the time to maintain your friendships, or get out there and meet new friends!  Be an example for your children and let them know how important friends are in their lives as well.

Let me know how it goes!  Hopefully you make some lasting connections, or reconnect with someone special.

Related Links:

http://www.ohio.edu/research/communications/Friendship.cfm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-20044860?pg=1

 

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