Hax: Friend without kids feels left out

The Washington PostDecember 3, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn: I’m the last one of nearly all my friends to settle down. As a result, most friends are in the baby/toddler/teenager stage. Which is great, I’m really happy for all of them.

BUT … you knew this was coming. When my friends were all falling into great partnerships, I got to share their stories and excitement. Now? Everyone is too busy for me. I get it — as much as I can from the outside — that kids take tons of energy. I know this in my head. But there’s a huge part of me that is just GAH!

Do I address this with them? Or just let it go? It feels petty but at the same time, I’d like it if someone would return my call so I can share a sweet story!

LAST ONE TO PARTNER UP

I get it, and it’s one of those things that just aren’t fair — the first to pair off get all the storytelling attention, and the first to marry get the same, and the first to have kids. It’s about novelty, not about you, and it’s just a fact of life that newness gets more attention than the familiar.

Certainly any good, conscientious friends get this and do what they can to rally for the 10th friend to reach some milestone or another, but it’s still not the same as having all 10 people experiencing your “wow” right along with you.

The best solutions I can offer are really just work-arounds, and they’re not easy, and they’re pretty impressive in their lack of creativity:

(1) Patience. Life phases are all about change. Keep seeing these friends as opportunities arise and see where your paths take you.

(2) Resourcefulness. Work on cultivating other friendships with people at your life phase, and also try to cultivate other interests that have nothing to do with your age or life phase.

So, that’s my unsatisfying answer: If you haven’t done this yet, then look to who you are, at your most offbeat and interesting and focused, and schedule your time accordingly. I suspect you’ll find the kind of companionship your old friends no longer provide.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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