What's Your Schedule Look Like?
DO YOU HAVE ANY FRIENDS?
She asked me after small group one evening while stood in my doorway. Her inquisitive face was illuminated by the warm glow of my living room after everyone had left. The tell-tale remains of laughter and chatter were splayed by used tea bags and crumbs on my dining room table.
She stayed behind.
We were trying to schedule time to get together, and her question gave me a momentary brain-whiplash.
Of course I have friends. Of course I've had the pleasure of having my life shaped by so many wonderful, vibrant friendships. Many of them gathered around my table every week in a wine-and-tea-drinking club disguised as a Bible study.
Why was it that I could only name a few women I truly trusted in my day-to-day that I could call friends? Close friends. Friends to be myself around. Who I can wear yoga pants and skip the eyeliner around.
That moment, standing in the doorway of my home, in a city I'd lived in for six years post-college, my closest friends lived states and time zones away.
Any friendship I had cultivated after college graduation had come from deliberate, intentional work. Practicing vulnerability and making time for people – which came so naturally, easily and immediately in college – was becoming an art form.
AND WHEN IT CAME TO SCHEDULING TIME TO ACTUALLY GET TOGETHER, IT WAS A DOWNRIGHT MIRACLE.
A few weeks ago, I shared a post about the difficulty of female friendship. But what I'm discovering post-college is that friendship is hard to navigate as we step deeper into adulthood. Across gender, political, socioeconomic, life stages and even longitudinal lines.
I have a few ideas as to why this happens:
The truth is, I'm afraid of being too vulnerable with the people in my day-to-day. After all, they're the ones who see how run-down an over-packed schedule makes me. They're the ones who are there on the quiet weeknights when we serve soup and salad for dinner.
They're the ones who see the dishes piled in the sink, or paper clutter scattered throughout our condo like oversized confetti.
They're the ones who get the emergency: need margaritas, now! texts midway through the workday. I have those people. And it's made me incredibly thankful.
But it's also made me a little scared to think of how long it's taken to cultivate them
I'M AFRAID OF BEING ONE-HUNDRED PERCENT WHO I AM WITH MANY OF THE PEOPLE I SEE IN MY EVERY DAY LIFE.
For fear of being too needy. Too pushy. Too offensive. Or holding on too tightly.
FRIENDSHIPS IN ADULTHOOD DON'T COME IN ABUNDANCE.
They don't come about every night and weekend like they did in college. When we were all in the same life stage, virtually. When so many of us had the same visions, and pursuits.
Now we're working. We're raising children. We're waiting for our husbands to come home from deployment. Or we're waiting for our husbands to come into our lives in the first place.
We're doctors. Marketing professionals. Lawyers. Retail workers. Waitresses. Dietitians. Mothers. Wives. Daughters. Girlfriends.
We're different, and as a result, we're stretched for time in our schedules.
But the journey to make time for those people, to let those who are near to you in this stage, in this realm of life, into your world. And maybe give you a little girlfriend therapy while they're there.
Any friendship I have post-college has come at hard, soulful work. It's come through sweat – literally running in life side-by-side with other women I admire – and tears.
But the journey has been overwhelmingly worth it; and I've never regretted any hour I've ever set aside for good, honest, face-to-face hearts-to-hearts in this season.
And I don't think you will either.