Saturday, 9 July 2011

A friend for a reason

We went to a fantastic party the other day-a good friend’s 50th birthday. During her speech, his wife mentioned the well-known saying: a friend for a reason, a friend for a season...and a friend for lifetime. 

I have been thinking how difficult it is to create new friendships when you are at this stage of life. When you are young and single, it is a lot simpler. You meet someone you like, you hang out, you get either work together, or study or live nearby...and you just sort of grow up together. You forgive each other’s mistakes and imperfections.You either grow apart, or become friends for a lifetime.

But when you are older, things get more complicated.

There are, as I noticed, a few situations when friendships that potentially should or could develop, simply die down into polite nothingness.  Because, it is not just you anymore, who enters a new friendship. It is the families, too.

So, let’s look at a few hmm...hypothetical scenarios. 

Scenario A. Husbands.
You meet a girl and you get along beautifully. Your children get along. You think your husbands should be introduced, too. In your mind you see a perfect picture of endless weekends over BBQ with husbands laughing merrily with beers in their hands, and children rolling on the freshly mowed grass... But...husbands think differently. You spend time and effort investing into a relationship you hope would grow. You cook lovely dinners and invite the new friends over. Husbands however, don’t feel obliged to like each other. They discuss politics, religion or something else potentially catastrophic... and you never get invited back.

Scenario B.  Children.
You meet a girl. She is so much fun! You get husbands together. Wow, check it out! They are laughing! They are happy, too. They discussed politics and religion and –wow!-they still get along! You think you finally found some cool friends you both like and can enjoy spending time with. But there is one ti-ny problem. Their child is possessed.
Every time he comes to your house he spoils the day by behaving atrociously.  You think you should probably be nice to him because oh, the parents are so lovely! But the overwhelming desire to smother him does not go away. You want to see your friends but can’t face the devil child in your home.  Again, just like in the previous scenario, it hurts, as you had already invested time, money and effort into this new friendship. You realize how rare it is that not only you, but your husbands enjoy each other’s company, too. But....

Scenario C. They are no longer together.
You like the girl. Your husbands get along. The children are of similar age and get along fine, too. Everything seems to be honkey dorey. Suddenly, they don’t seem to like each other. What do you do? Do you see them separately? What if you are having a party? Do you invite them both? Or just one of them? Too complicated!

And so I wonder if any new friendships we attempt to build when married with kids can be based on a simple liking of another person. Gone are the days of any simple relationships with friends. As you become a mother and a wife, your new friends are those whose husbands get along with yours, whose kids are in the same class as yours, and whose views on politics and economics are similar to yours. And that is besides all those important people you have to be friends with: for a reason. Like husband’s business partners or bosses and their wives.  

I wonder, looking at my own circle of friends these days, just how many of them are friends for a reason, which ones are friends for a season...and if any of them could be friends for a lifetime. And when I turn 50 and have a party, who would I like to see when I look around the room?  


  1. Great post! I have just realized that none of my "friendships" survived my marriage:)) My only lifetime friend is divorsed.
    (don't know why I have hard time loging in, I even wrote "congratulations on the arrival of your baby girl" comment as an anonimous) Sofisticos

  2. Being employed and married with kids can be a major obstacle for friendships, if for no other reason but surviving the competition for time and energy. Family & work always win, as they should.
    I think it boils down to how much value we place on socializing. If it's important enough we will put up with less than perfect scenarios.

  3. I guess adult friendship is more about what kind of situation you are in a given moment than a friend for a lifetime or a friend-for-all-seasons.
    There is the friend who is perfect to travel with, and there is that other one who is perfect for spending the day, spouses and children included.

  4. @sofisticos: thanks for congrats...not sure how google works, but obviously not very well at times.

    @Gabriela: Probably...But if you are lucky, you should be able to find a friend who you would want to travel, party, drink and cry with...If we expect to marry one person for life and be satisfied, why cant the same principle apply to a good friend? :)
    I have not forgotten about your chocs btw. Just need to find time and get round to it. x

  5. @Nata: Sociazlizing is slightly different to friendship. But maybe? this is all we can expect once married with kids?...socializing with people but not counting on them becoming real friends?

  6. No doubt about it, if my wife and I were to separate, I'd have no friends. All the ones we have are hers - maybe because I'm a writer so I have characters instead of friends. Anyway, friends are demanding. (And I sound more and more like Victor Meldrew.)

  7. With friends like us, Victor, who needs characters?