Since Paul tackled the tricky task of finding new hobbies as an adult, I’m going to talk about the challenges of making new friends.
Since we have both moved frequently, we don’t have a real “home base” with tons of childhood friends. Nor did we retain a crew of college friends or grad school friends. In each spot we have lived, we have collected a handful of amazing people but, now that we are in DC, no one lives close by. Our Pittsburgh friends are 5 hours away. Our Delaware/Philly friends are about 2-3 hours. Plus, some of those friends have moved on to new locales themselves.
I work remotely, so no matter how much I like those people they still live in places Tennessee and Texas and Illinois. Not the best conditions to go grab a drink after work. I’m in paroxysms of joy that some co-workers and their wives plan to visit in the fall. It’s gonna feel like what normal people experience all the time!
Paul has co-workers he likes, but there are still barriers to just hanging out–who lives in another state and commutes in, who has kids, etc. We threw a Cinco de Mayo party and everyone left by about 6:30 pm. I don’t think it was that we threw a bad party–we had food and booze and tunes–I think it was that people were so not used to socializing after work that they weren’t sure what to do with themselves. I promise you won’t turn into a pumpkin if you stay past 8!
Kids are big friendship killers for childless people in their 30s. It’s not because Paul and I want to go out every night and reclaim our youth, while our friends with kids are “real” adults with responsibilities. Instead, I’ve found it’s just natural that like finds like and the people with kids (in your 30s this is most people) want to hang out and share stories about midnight feedings, and vaccination debates, and Little League.
And, last, but certainly not least, some of it is just people being horrible. Shit I tolerated as a single person looking for company is less appealing when you already have built in spousal company in your own apartment.
Case in point–when we moved to Virginia, we felt really lucky to find two couples right in our building to hang out with. They’re about our age, witty, and pleasant. We don’t have a ton in common, but they’re good for a game night now and then and the occasional drink. In the early days of our friendship, I went out with just the one wife, thinking maybe I’d found a new girlfriend. As we sipped our coffees, she told me about a new CSA she’d joined. She and her family are loaded and so it’s both fascinating and annoying to hear what these 1%-ers spend money on. As she rambled on about new fruits and veggies, she said the CSA also donated bruised goods to economically disadvantaged people. Thinking she planned on donating money to help with the cause, I murmured assent that it seemed like a good program.
“Good program?” she remarked. “I’m wondering how they decide who is poor enough to get the stuff? Can I apply? Why am I paying good money for veggies and they’re getting this stuff for free?”
And so ended any thought that I’d found a new soul sister.
So, if you’re in the D.C. area, don’t like stealing stuff from poor families, and like staying out till it gets dark out, let me know. The bar is so low that these are decent building blocks to a 30-something friendship.