Remember when we were kids and everyone was friends? Looking back on my childhood friendships I can’t even begin to tell you how they started and if I can it was over something so minuscule that it makes me wonder why it’s so hard to do it as an adult. I had one best friend from first grade until 7th grade. We became best friends because she was new to our school and drew a picture of her family because she missed them and was lonely instead of whatever first grade assignment we had. Our dirtbag teacher yelled at her, she cried, I told her it was a really pretty drawing and asked her who each person was. BOOM! 7 year friendship. Sometimes I wonder where I’d be in my life right now if she didn’t get “sent away” in 7th grade.
Other friends I had as a child were because we both liked the same sports team or played in the same little league. In spare time we would just play catch or flag football after school. It was so simple.
Even in high school it wasn’t all that hard. I mean, I had a rough first 6 months of high school. I was a big fish in a small pond in elementary school – class president, all star on the basketball and softball teams, 3rd highest GPA in my class. Then in high school I realized I was a natural introvert until forced from my shell. I was 1 of 4 white kids in my class and was also in the honors program. I didn’t quite fit in with the smart kids and was excluded from the general public. Once basketball season started I made more friends. Starting with the common connection of sport and leading into all other bullshit aspects of life at the time. Thinking this teacher was cute, going to see that movie on Friday, how gross Tuesday’s lunch was.
I’m not even going to pretend I made a friend completely on my own in college. I was at my lowest in college. Any friend I made was through a mutual friend.
Then boom. You blink your eyes and your an adult. I literally just turned 27 and I’m like “What?” I’m “friends” with co-workers, but am I really? At my last job I LOVED my co workers. Texting them, hanging out for drinks after work, playing pool with them when it was dead. They never really knew me though. We were tied together by proximity and scheduling. We knew each others common interests, bought each other birthday/Christmas presents, I went to a few of their family members wakes/funerals. At the time I remember thinking, if I got married today – all these guys would be invited.
Then the place got shot down. Thankfully, most of us had moved on from the pizza place or were in the process of moving on. Since then we all only hung out one time. I’ve tried countless times to “get the gang back together,” but there is always something going on. Needless to say I haven’t seen all of them in about a year and a half. It makes me wonder if we were all really friends or just forced to enjoy each others company.
Even now at my current job. I talk to a lot of people. Follow them on social media. At work functions I always have a group of people to hang out with. Sometimes I meet up with a few of them for lunch and we talk about things other than work. I’ve met their families. Then I wonder, if I were to leave this job right here – right now, would I ever see or talk to any of these people again?
All of my friends are from childhood (or through a friend from childhood). They’re stuck with me. They all know a lot about me and a lot about my family, not all of them know EVERYTHING about me, but enough. I can say things without thinking and know at the end of the day they’ll be my friend regardless. I can get black out wasted, panic about what I said or did, have drinkers remorse, apologize to them for nothing, and they’ll be like, “Caitlin you’re fine! You were having fun! Don’t worry!” I love that. (Not the drinkers remorse – I hate blacking out) I love that even if I don’t see or talk to some people from childhood, they are always there for me. They want to hang out with me. We find time to fit each other into our lives because we care about each other.
It’s so freaking difficult to make friends like that after college. Maybe it should be? The world breaks us all ever so slightly. We become jaded and untrusting. How come I complimented my 6 year old friends drawing and we became best friends, but I can compliment some girl in a bar bathrooms shirt and that’s that? Not that I want to befriend everyone who compliments me, but I guess my ultimate question is why? Or how come I meet people at work and we’re cool, but we don’t want to see each other beyond that?
I think we should continually be trying to make friends. Real friends. And no I am by no means a quantity over quality kind of gal, but it’s nice to know someone out there cares about you and they should be reminded of it. My friends from childhood, I’ll send a text every now and again just reminding them how much they mean to me. They should know that. No matter how low they’re feeling in this world, they mean so much to at least one person. I’m also eerily haunted by Matt Kennon’s “The Call.” As an adult any friends I’ve made, might find that creepy.
Which begs the question of why is it so hard to make friends as an adult? For a long while it’s like walking on eggshells around them. Also, it’s hard to find people who actually want to make time for you in their life as an adult. Being an adult is fucking hard. All we really want to do is sleep. Then you get to toss in a lot of friends being married/in relationships, weird work schedules, families to take care of, kids. Who the heck has time to squeeze me in? You’re better off just keeping the childhood friendships who understand your chaos, seen you at your worst, and sneak them in for dinner with the family then some wine after the kids go to bed and be knocked out by 10 pm.
So here you have little old me, adult, single, no family to look after, shitty work schedule, but available at night, and just wanting to hang out with more people because most of my childhood friends are becoming legitimate “adults” and I just don’t think I’m ready for that. So when we make a new friend you gotta hold tight, hope they don’t suck, while also trying not to suck yourself. Then if you’re lucky, they become just as great and comforting as the childhood friend. Sadly, it just takes a little more effort. But anything worth having is worth a little but of effort.