Even as an adult, you never shake the feeling of being that kid in the schoolyard, awkwardly standing with your arms outstretched, asking, “Hey, wanna be my friend?”
Now it’s more likely to happen in a fitness class, at work, when you’re hanging around your kids’ sports activities, or at their school.
But the awkward feelings are still the same.
As part of a couple, you meet other couples whom you have things in common with along the way. Sometimes it’s a shared interest such as camping or a sport. Sometimes it’s your faith or your kids being involved in the same activities. Or maybe it’s your neighbors (because it’s easy to get together when you live on the same street).
At times it can feel like dating. “Oh, you’re vegetarian and you don’t watch sports? Meh. Not a match.”
But truth be told, there is another layer when you’re trying to make couple friends at this stage of life: It’s the material stuff that you can bring to the relationship.
That “stuff” being either a cottage or a boat or the exclusive golf club membership. Maybe it’s the friends you keep — like that friend who’s on a professional sports team or the newscaster friend who is a bit of a local celebrity. These days there seems to be a barrage of adults who only become friends with others who bring decent collateral to the relationship.
“Hey, what are you guys doing this weekend? We could hang out at the lake and Ski-Doo — make sure you bring your wetsuits!”
Oops. We don’t have Ski-Doos or wetsuits. But we can bring a cooler of beer and chips? How about a loaf of Wonder Bread and peanut butter?
We are in our 40s, and we are doing pretty well for ourselves. Our kids are well-fed and they have shoes on their feet and clothes on their back. Heck, they even have lessons and extracurricular sports, and we go on vacation every year.
But we don’t have expensive toys or exciting extras.
Our extras might be getting a different mattress or new tires for the car. However, sporty toys and that timeshare we’ve always wanted just haven’t happened. Yet. As of now, they have to come second to kids’ activities and other expenses.
We’ve spent time doing lots of fun things with friends that included throwing a few burgers on the grill and hanging out in the backyard while our kids played. We’ve done vacations with friends, renting a place and hanging around in a hot tub.
But as those friends started moving up, they started to move on. It seems like those simple interactions were no longer enough, and they found other friends. Friends with toys, and more disposable income.
We have moved up too, although maybe in a different way. We took jobs that allowed flexibility and more time at home. And that came at a cost.
Toys and boats are going to have to wait. If they ever happen at all.
So what we bring to a friendship is a few laughs and ourselves.
But if the offer is still open, we’re happy to come and hang out at your cabin or club. We’ll even bring the sandwiches.
This post previously appeared on UrbanMoms.
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