Wednesday, November 12, 2008

High class (or high school?) problems

As I read some recent stories on parenting--even some of the ones I'm asked to write--I think, wow, now that's a high class problem to have. Or, maybe it's a high school problem...

Take The perils of 'mommy dating' from The Boston Globe last week, or The (Play) Dating Game from the My Turn section of Newsweek. In both stories, moms lament the fact that it's hard for them to make friends.

Of course it can be hard to meet people when you're an adult. People have their friends already and they lead busy lives. There's work, family, church, or any number of other things that compete with social activities. And, yes, it can be hard to break into cliques--whether the cliques themselves are real or perceived.

I am not an expert on friendship and some people might say I'm not even a very good friend. I'm not a big phone person and I have no problem being by myself. I don't have a ton of friends and I never traveled in a big pack. So maybe I'm not that sympathetic to this kind of "problem," but really, aren't we past junior high? Shouldn't we just be nice to each other and if we have something in common, we'll seek each other out?

I have friends who stop talking to other friends over a small slight. I have friends who've called their girlfriends and "broken up" with them. I honestly can't understand this. Isn't part of being a friend being understanding and supportive?

I read The Art of Friendship a while ago. It persuaded me to be a bit more thoughtful, to call people up a bit more. I'm not always the best at remembering birthdays, but I try. I also try to remember to send a friend a link to a book or an article I think they'll like. I try to invite people to dinner and to go to movies and ladies' nights out when I can. But there is a point of trying too hard, too...when you're not being yourself.

So I think some of these women ought to lighten up and not take themselves so seriously. If they have all this time on their hands to worry about making friends or fitting in, maybe they ought to go volunteer at a soup kitchen or something and see some of the real problems in the world.

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