Saturday, April 07, 2012

{Friendship Friday} How easy is friend dating when you're at different life stages?

I know this is a day late but it somehow didn't feel right to just move on past and ignore my friendship friday thoughts!

So you all know I love the back and forth banter after you leave a comment on the blog. Well, in one such exchange someone mentioned that she wonders if other women also have a hard time with one aspect of the friendship thing - actually having friend dates when you and your friends are in different life stages.

She is the only one of her friends who is married and with kids.

Let's face it - kids throw your whole life up in the air and you just grab a few balls here and there and try to juggle them.

Here are my experiences:

When we were child-free (and we were without kids for a LONG 14 years, most of those years by choice), we still made plans with our friends who all had kids. Except for two couples, which I'll talk about later.

The difference was that all the couples with kids except for one had kids who were older and more independent.

The one friend couple with smaller kids parent very differently to how we thought we would parent (and that's a blog for next week :)) and so after one too many instances of having to DEEP clean after they left on a Friday night, we decided to not have them over anymore and instead meet at a restaurant or at their house.

That worked well for years and when their kids were older they started coming over to our place again :)

The other two couples without kids were in the same position as us then so there were no issues. But now, it's a problem for us.

Couple 1
This is a couple I wrote about previously who fight loud and about sex in front of us. D said he's not paying good babysitting money to be stressed so now she and I go out together without the husbands. Occasionally they will pop past for a quick coffee and that is fine but not a full-on date night.

Couple 2
This couple is super structured and incredibly OCD. They are very good uncles and aunts to their nephews and nieces so I thought they'd be okay with our two. BUT (I've never written about this here) I got a bad vibe the last time we were together at their house (late last year). I just don't think they were prepared for the busyness of two-year-old twins and I honestly think they were glad to see us go.

Of course this breaks my heart - we've been friends for 12 years! They didn't ask us back (!!!) and I actually reached out to invite them here for lunch soon. In a strange twist of fate, they may be doing to us what we did to our other friends. Ha!

Other couple friends
Our other friends are REALLY easy to get together with because their kids are either grown up enough to take care of themselves or they're already out of the house :))

So those are the couple friends.

Of my friends where I am only friends with the girls, there is only one I can think of who doesn't have kids.

My blog friend, F.


I invited F to my infertility support group in Feb and then I suggested a movie in March.

She was totally game and the plan was set about a month in advance, only nearer the time we both felt like speaking more so we had supper instead.

I must say, it is lovely meeting up with friends without babies because the planning is simple and uncomplicated.

You guys know I prioritise friendships so D and I chat about when he needs to be home on time and off I go. I prep the kids in the morning that Daddy will put them to bed and that I'll come kiss them when I get home and that's what we do. Easy.

Somehow (and this is a topic for yet another blog post) I feel no guilt whatsoever leaving the kids at night because they're meant to be sleeping. But on a weekend I very rarely leave them alone and instead make "family dates".

F was late so I took a little walk and had to take these pics
Yes, all the cool and stylish people thought I was weird taking pics
I chose this restaurant totally based on how pretty everything was - look at those blue chairs!
our view looked better in person
gorgeous skies. Fortunately F is weird like me and didn't mind me taking these pics
So F and I had a lovely supper a few weeks ago. 

To summarise, I'm currently finding it easier making plans with people in different life stages than us (no kids) and I suppose if we host all the time or go to a child-friendly restaurant, things with our other couple friends will go back to normal :)

What about you?

Have you found it easier or more difficultto make plans with friends in different life stages?

PS Rachel from MWF Seeking BFF   talks in her book about one friend date exactly like this. In her example, it didn't work out because they were far too dissimilar. I think that person's name was Julie. Will one of you (I'm pleased to say there are about 5 people besides me who read the book - Sweets, Helene, MandyE, Rebecca, April, anyone else?) correct me if I'm wrong? Thanks :)

 PPS if you want me to talk about a particular friendship aspect, please leave a note in the comments or email me.


  1. I certainly have instances I can cite where it's easier / harder to make plans with friends with / without kids.

    At the end of the day, though, I think it boils down to prioritization. While there are plenty of hours during the week that I can't get away, I can make myself available almost any night after the girls are in bed (7:30pm). That works to meet most of my mom friends who have young kids, and it works to meet many of my single friends, too.

    While I'd love to have a girls' day of shopping, lunch, a movie, pedicure (and any other delectable treat I could pack in there!), that's unfortunately not an option for me right now. But if a friend is willing to make a little bit of effort, and I'm willing to do the same, we can still maintain our connection.

    Great topic, Marcia! Thank you for the continued dialogue! :) :)

  2. Most of the friends I have now have kids so it is fairly easy to spend time together.

    My weeks are crazy busy with homework and D getting home late so I never go out during the week and weekends are our family time so we do stuff with the children and our friends.

    Planning our wedding has provided us with a chance to have all girl outings and we are all really enjoying it. (Except for one friend we dont really get out much without kids

  3. Great Post ;)

    I have to admit that I find it difficult. Horribly difficult. I've run into two specific problems.
    1. Friends who want my undivided attention. I'm fine with the occasionally pre-planed date, emergencies, and even back and forth messages. I cannot, however, just up and leave. I'm also not going to leave my family or make plans for a sitter to go out for activities that don't suit my lifestyle. (Nice way of saying that I'm not going to the bar Friday night.)

    2. Friends who want me to be what I was. I was once single and carefree. I was once a college student who could work, study, and party. I was once a much different person. That's not who I am now. I no longer go to dinner at 9pm. My life is structured and I can't just take a day to go to the beach. I have no desire for drinks followed by breakfast at 3 am. I'm now a mother and wife, and those key things that define me now are not understood by my still single and childless friends.

    The half-hearted invites that include my family are almost annoying, don't give me the lip service. It's also a little disheartening to know that people gush over my children and talk about me positively when I'm not around but can't make the efforts to include me. It's just weird. But that's life I guess. I'm trying to enjoy being the old soul. It's nice to be looked up to, but it's also lonely at the top. Thankfully I've grown to like the quietness!!

  4. I find that I'm relatively easy-going with people no matter where they are at in their lives. Except for the party animals. Like Mandy, I have no desire to party in clubs and go for breakfast afterwards. I don't mind going out at night but I must be honest, I prefer not to. At night I want to be in my bed. With my book and my computer. I am just old like that. That said, I also have no guilt about leaving my kids at night. Except if I haven't seen them and have missed their bedtime for two nights in a row or whatever.
    I happen to have a friend who has a kid who STILL wants us to do stuff like this. I haven't exactly humoured her.
    I also don't mind meeting in kid-friendly places but having said that, it's just not the same. I find it difficult to socialise while keeping one eye on the kids and it's only now that I'm slowly including my kids.
    That is a beautiful pic of F. She's gorgeous.x

  5. Julia-does it not amaze you how willing people are to "ditch" their kids for a good time?! I love my house and family! I've put a lot of work and effort into them both, I guess this is just where we are in life.

  6. I so feel exactly like you about leaving the kids in the week and weekend family dates.
    We are only now really finding our feet with friends again - we have our big buds S and I and their 3 kids which are sort of the same ages as ours and the general chaosworks for all. For the rest we hardly ever went out with the kids. But on Saturday night we reached new fronier - and I shall blog about it. We are moving on.

    On a personal just girls level I think I may also be taking steps ahead but I am still missing my BFF

  7. Thanks for the post. This one is what I am looking for. Keep up the good work blogger.

  8. It's definitely harder for me to get to people now. Pre N I used to be able to pop over and see people at the drop of a hat, especially during the week. Now if someone wants to see me they usually have to come over to our place and kind of get their visiting in between N's routine which is more or less set in stone.

    Also I think my friends that don't have kids fibd it less than satisfying to see me with Nicola because I am obviously split focused while it happens. But I'm sure it will get easier when she's a bit older.

  9. Good Advice. It’s always a good thing to get out and do some activities to meet new people and not to give up.


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