Letting Go of Unrealistic Friendship Expectations

As women, I think most can agree we crave meaningful relationships more than anything else. We need friends, a group of friends, a tribe if you’re trendy. Some of us have had the same friend group since birth (children of our parents’ friends). Some of us have been friends since grade school, middle school, high school. A lot of us met our BFFs in college. Then adulthood hits.

BAM! (that was the friendship door closing)

WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL US HOW AWKWARD IT IS TO MAKE FRIENDS AS AN ADULT?!

At least, nobody warned me.

Like, where do you meet people?

At work? I made some great friends through work, but I worked in environments with many other women, all in similar professions, so common interests abounded. Not everyone is so lucky.

At the gym? hahahahahahahahahahahahaha … ok this one time I did join a gym and I did make some friends.

In the grocery store? How about a coffee shop? BOTH are creeper scenarios.

So basically you gotta wait until your kids make friends, then hope and pray you like their friends’ parents so you can make new friends too. But then you switch schools and it’s harder to stay in touch. Shoot, or even when they switch classes!

OR things are going great, you feel secure, so you start sharing … and maybe oversharing … and then BOOM you’re ghosted.

So here’s the deal. I used to seek out a deep friendship with just about any woman I met because I did not know how to remain superficial friends. Like, I have basically had my husband/BFF and my girl BFF for my entire adult life, and I was sorta kinda imposing the level of intimacy of those relationships onto new baby friendships I’d had for months. Maybe it was because I am an over-sharer, much to the chagrin of my husband. Maybe it was because I was the new girl in a new city and I just really wanted a friend there. Note to self though: oversharing just makes things extra awkward, and will leave you feeling hurt #butBreneWouldHaveBeenProud. I also think that we read all these articles about the importance of inter-female relationships, and finding your tribe, and taking vacays with your girlfriends, etc. etc., and the pressure is kinda overwhelming.

Recently though I had an “ah-ha” moment.

I needed to stop seeking these deep relationships with fresh acquaintances and just enjoy these more superficial relationships. I don’t need to share every aspect of my life the first time we meet, or EVER. I don’t need to explain away any of my life situations. I NEED to take a chill pill and just enjoy those early days of new friendships. I need to remember that friendships grow organically and to not try to force connections that aren’t there. I need to stop stressing about how friendships are progressing and just let them BE. These are usually the women I can text early in the morning to confirm if it is indeed Spirit Shirt day. These are the women I can chat with at a birthday party. These are the women I can message for a copy of the vocabulary sheet my little forgot at school, or ask for a recipe or birthday party idea. They are kind, they are funny, they are smart.

So I am letting go of unrealistic expectations and will simply “be” in the moment and enjoy these newfound friendships.

Sarah is a 30-something mom of four children under six and wife to her high-school sweetheart. She returned to Acadiana two years ago following her husband’s completion of medical school and residency in Shreveport. After the move, Sarah switched gears from full-time pediatric speech-language pathologist and working mom to full-time stay-at-home mom to her brood. Her current hobbies include “speech-therapizing” her children, re-reading the Outlander series, catching up on her Netflix queue after the kids go to bed, completing XHIT videos at naptime, and taking her medication every morning. She loves and respects the sacredness of motherhood, but sometimes you just have to let go and laugh it out. Motherhood has been the most humbling, and empowering journey she has experienced.