What role do friends play in your life? Are you a part of a circle of friends or do you tend to have one or two very close friends? Do you have male friends (no benefits!)?
Friends have always been important to me, but they have become even more so in the last few years. Growing up I was a best friend kind of girl. I typically had one very good friend and we did everything together. I would be very tight with one girl for a few years, she would move away, I would be heartbroken until I found a replacement for her. Then, in Junior High, we moved to a new town. I floated in and out of a few social circles that year until I finally found a bestie (she moved away in 9th grade ... see the pattern?). In High School I was lucky enough to have two besties and the three of us were inseperable. It was awesome and I credit them for High School being a great experience for me (and I went to a very 90210 cliquey HS). When college came, I chose a different path from my two besties and we grew apart ... although I am still in contact with them today ... in fact I plan to see one tonight.
My freshman year I met Wen, the one person I would call my soulmate (yep, not Hubby, but Wen) and we remain bff to this day. I am also very fortunate to have a great little sister who I consider my other bff. However, they each live an hour away (in either direction) and we don't see each other as much as I would like.
So, you see that I have been very blessed by friendship. However, a few years ago, when Bubby was about 2, I realized that I didn't have any girlfriends close by. I didn't have anyone to get a coffee with on short notice, to browse a bookstore with or to grab a quick lunch and break from the kid(s) on a Saturday afternoon. I also found that seeking and making such friendships seemed harder to me than it ever had in the past. I had one failed attempt with a woman who was actually more of a frenemy (heavy on the enemy) ... we had a lot in common on paper but our relationship was toxic! I left every encounter with her feeling negative. Luckily, that relationship grew apart and ended on its own without any major drama. Please note that I own my part of that toxicity ... she was/is a good person, we just didn't gel ... I wish her all the best.
So after that experience, I was fairly gun-shy but also fairly desperate. As any new mom knows, as much as you love your kid(s), you need some down time. I tried a few different Meet Up or Mom Groups and always felt judged, or fake, or that yucky Mommy Competition bs ... until I decided to go outside my comfort zone and start a Book Club. In the Fall of 2007 I posted a solicitation for Book Club members on a local 'For Moms' website. Somehow that post got published in the local paper and I went to our first meeting expecting a few women at best. I think there were 9 of us! It was awesome. A more diverse group of women, I would challenge you to find. Some of us work outside the home, some of us stay at home, most of us have young children but a few have teens and our personalities are as diverse as a UN Summit. Over the past three years we've lost a few members and have taken on a few new ones. Some close friendships have developed between a few of the women within the circle (I've been lucky enough to have developed two very close friendships), we've met each others spouses and kids, we've shared the joy of a few new babies and even the tears of some rough times. Today, I can't imagine my life without these women and can't believe that I went so long without them.
My Friends Rock!