Our texts look something like this:
Me: Hey, Can you have lunch Friday?
Her: I have a meeting about an hour away but I could do something later around 2 or so?
Me: I can’t do that because I have to get my kiddos from their dad’s and they have orthodontist appointments. Are you free at all this weekend? I could do coffee on Saturday or Sunday?
Her: Could you do dinner Saturday? My kids have lacrosse games during the day all weekend.
Me: I can’t do that — it’s date night and we made reservations.
Her: Okay, well let’s try again next week. Things are slowing down for me then.
And on we go.
The following week rolled around and my schedule was so tight I couldn’t make anything work. I did, however, find the time to drop off some of her favorite chocolate and peanut butter bars on her doorstep on my way to do the grocery shopping, so there’s that.
When another mutual friend of ours invited us to an exercise class she was hosting at the crack of dawn last Saturday morning, we both were glad our schedules were clear for an hour since our families would be asleep and (hopefully) no one would need us for that entire hour.
We worked out, then caught up in the parking lot where we both cried and gave each other sweaty hugs and talked about how hard life is.
This was not glamorous. We were not sitting over a luxurious Sunday brunch in tiny dresses with our hair and makeup just so, wearing Manolo Blahniks like they do on “Sex and the City.”
However, it was enough.
As we rushed off, we talked about finally meeting up for that lunch. I know we will go before the year is over, but it’s going to take some finessing.
We literally don’t have time to go shopping together. Our Friday nights aren’t spent sipping coffee out of oversized mugs on an oversized sofa like some “Friends” episode.
While I’m a huge fan of “Friends” and “Sex In The City” and love binge-watching the reruns, there have been times I’ve watched episode after episode of these shows and thought (especially at this point in my life) that my friendships were lacking something.
They are still friendships, even though they look nothing like the female bonds you see on television.
Real life is having to schedule a simple phone call with a friend.
Real life means you are going to have to cancel a lot because after you become a mom, shit comes up.
And there are times that shit looks like being tapped out after a stressful day and not having the energy to get yourself to meet up with them even if it has been planned for months.
The truth is, while shows like “Friends,” “The Golden Girls,” and “Sex and the City” bring me great comfort and joy, they aren’t realistic. Like, not even a little bit.
When you have kids, a full time job, a marriage, and like to sleep at night, there isn’t a lot left over in the energy or time bank to dedicate to friends.
They aren’t your main concern. They aren’t available to be seen five times a week. They don’t live across the hall, upstairs from a coffee shop, with endless hours on their hands to spend with you.
When you’re an adult, you get caught up and spun around in your own webs and activities and there’s an understanding that you want to see each other; that you are thinking of the other person, but you have no idea when you will meet again.
These friendships we see on television are very much like the romance stories we’ve had drilled into our minds: They give the illusion we are going to have a strong friendship — or a group of them — that will take zero effort and will always be easy and fun.
In the real world though, friendships go through changes. They get shelved for a while, they fizzle out, and most importantly, they take a lot of work to maintain.
Finding new friends or “your people” isn’t easy as an adult. That’s just the way it is.
So, the next time you are wondering where your Rachel or your Miranda is, remind yourself that real friendships don’t mirror the ones you see on television.
Just enjoy the show and keep trying to find time to get together with your friends in a way that fits into real life — it will happen eventually. Even if it is just meeting for a ten-minute Diet Coke in the McDonald’s parking lot.