Female friendships: Lucy in search of her Ethel after 30

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We’ve all had our fair share of friends throughout our lives, those from our childhood and various aspects of our lives. What can be difficult is maintaining friendships through adulthood, it’s tough, you start creating pathways that may not be what is happening in their lives, the reliability loosens and withers away and one day you realize it’s been months since you last talked to them. Your twenties begin dwindling away and before you know it, life hits you with the big 3-0. At this point in my life, I couldn’t fill up a bike booze cruise if I wanted too. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some friendless vagrant, I have friends, but we’re either in different states, cities or coasts and sometimes going out to a bar on a Wednesday night is something that I need occasionally, sorry boss!! We need that familial connection, a local friend, or even acquaintance, to go out and let loose. Wear the jeans that don’t show your muffin top as much and wear the new top you got last year. You need it, everyone does! We want that connection with someone, even at the local level, to feel relaxed and not so tense. So how do you friend date after thirty?

In our youth and into our early twenties, we’re so fluid with life that we’re not always actively meeting new people or friendships, at least I wasn’t—everything is supposed to happen organically. Like numerous others, I spent my early twenties in a military uniform—hoo-ah Army!! I made bonds with others, that even after ten years out of service, I can rely on them for almost anything. Shout out to my boys! But being a woman in her mid-thirties and two kids, who lives on true crime and gin and tonics; it can be hard to find adult connection… How does one date friends? I don’t do mommy dates; I feel uncomfortable and the need to fit someone else’s agenda. It’s just not me. Half the time I’m wondering if bringing a tall boy is optional or not.

Meeting new people is hard, especially when you’re still relatively new in town.

Anywhere is considered proving grounds for meeting new people. I’ve made connections to people in my online courses and encounters when I’m out and about. But they’re just flickers in my day, numbers aren’t exchanged, and I literally forget them once we’ve parted. I’m socially awkward and make inappropriate jokes about what ‘he/she said,’ but when I find that person who has the humor to laugh and not turn their nose up at me, I try to cling onto them. I’m not your average mom or person. I have a punk rock soul and enough hearing damage from standing next to speakers at a concert to care to listen to anyone’s basic opinion about the latest hashtag on social media, or casually talking about the misappropriation of culture because a big Hollywood celebrity discovered it during their last trip to India. Then smiling and nodding, thinking to myself, when can I go home and shotgun the beer I should have brought. Then it ends with fake smiles and coordinating calendars on our next outing.

During these times, it can be difficult to find someone who relates to you in any way. Whether that’s through music, movies, books, movements, political stances, etc., it’s a harsh world out there and even harsher when you can’t find a friend that can relate to the same background as you, or at the very least understand you.

I don’t have a set standard for those I encounter, but I do have three basic rules:

  1. Be cool. It’s self-explanatory, so…
  2. Bring good chisme to the table. In other words, spill the tea…
  3. Don’t be judgmental, no matter what.

I tend to approach a new friend as I would a dozen box of donuts; looks tempting and fun, but am I going to regret this later? It seems harsh and I’m not sorry for saying it. I’m at an age where I’m selective with who I’m friends with. I’m not going to have a connection with everyone and I’m ok with that. I don’t want to waste time with someone who I can’t enjoy time with, relax and enjoy a few beers with. I want someone who will tell me when I’m being a jerk but be the first to congratulate me on any accomplishments. On the flip side, I want to be the person that someone thinks of when they need to vent, in search of a laugh or just a throwback on a Saturday night. In theory, it sounds simple, but it really isn’t. Trust me, I’m disorganized and far from perfect. But that’s what I love about myself, I know who I am, and I embrace that. I realized that a long time ago and it’s changed my outlook on life for all the right reasons.

I’ve spent years trying to identify with clichés, groups, and culture. Faking personalities, just to fit in and it’s exhausting. Do I sound bitter? Of course, I do. But I’ll never apologize for it; I’ve been burned more times than the average Arizonan is burned by a seatbelt in the summer. So, who I let in my life is purely up to me, I am selective, and I don’t feel bad about it. We live our lives according to our agendas and in no way should we feel compromised. I’m not out here searching for my other half, believe me, I have him and he’s wonderful. But as moms, we need to detach sometimes and let loose. Sitting at a bar, drinking a beer, and exhaling a breath of relief because I don’t have to pretend to like something to be liked in return. I am who I am. All I have to do is find the Ethel to my Lucy.

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