Most of the topics I’ve discussed in therapy have been expected–childhood trauma, relationship with food, parents, estranged brother, anxiety, perfectionism… you know, the usual culprits. But, one thing that has surprised me is how much talking we’ve done about friendships. (Or, rather, how much my therapist has urged me to find meaningful friendships with people who are less than 500 miles away.)
I really didn’t think I had a problem with friendships. I mean, occasionally my husband and I would muse on the fact that none of our friends have kids, or about how we feel sort of out-of-step with most of our local friends’ life stages. But, like me, his best friends are also scattered all across the country, and he rarely sees them, either. We both text and chat and call our friends with some regularity, but they’re long-distance.
A year ago, I would have argued that I have a very small friend group and find meaning in those long-term, intimate relationships, and that’s enough for me. My friends happen to live all over the States, but that’s just how it is. I don’t need new friends.
I’ve seen my thinking shift on this recently. I’ve been trying to reach out to more people, even if they’re not “best friend” material. I have a lunch date tomorrow with my best friend in town (this is a longterm very close friend, but she doesn’t have kids), and I have a weekend playdate for my son with one of his favorite school friends–that mom and I have become good friends, and I really like her. I could imagine us being very close had we met when time was more on our side (when we were single or in college and had hours and hours just to be together). And, I asked a fellow parent to take my son to after-school tennis practice later this week, which was an activity suggested by her son, who is my son’s best friend. This doesn’t sound huge, but my son has never been picked up from school by a friend’s parent, so it feels like a milestone to me in terms of parent acquaintances–I don’t mind that mom, but we’ll never be super close.
I’ve been thinking that while I used to put all my eggs in the “quality” basket, there is also something to be said for “quantity,” and perhaps for geography. At the very least, I’m trying.