As I've gotten older, I've noticed that some of my longtime friendships are slowly beginning to dissipate. While some have faded away through the natural stage of growing apart or moving away, I'm shocked by how many of my partners in crime have left my life simply because we don't have anything to talk about anymore. I'm on the phone carrying on about my latest bad date or wondering whether I should try a new haircut, their portion of the conversation is purely devoted to the struggles of potty training or how they can better impress their in-laws. It's like we're both on the phone, but neither of us are talking to each other. We're merely voicing our personal concerns to an empty audience.
I've tried to appreciate that some of my friends have acquired new responsibilities as parents and have new people in their lives for whom they must carve a gigantic amount of their time. But I can't help but feel about jealous about my depleting place in their lives. Gone are the days where we can gab on the phone or over drinks for hours about the most trivial things in our lives that garner the most importance. Now our conversations resemble that episode of Sex and the City titled "Critical Condition," when Carrie is on the phone going on and on to her friend and new mom Miranda about a negative review she received from The New York Times, to which Miranda responds: "Carrie, you know what? Maybe you should call your girlfriend Samantha. She has all kinds of time to talk about this kind of stuff."
My friends are never usually that blunt to me on the phone. However, when I go on a rant about something that's light years away from their present life, I can literally hear them tune out of the conversation. And you know what? I do the same thing when they gush over how their youngest child just learned to talk/walk/crawl/etc.
Don't get me wrong: I love spending time with my godson or getting to know my other friends' kids. I enjoy celebrating the birthdays, weddings, graduations and other milestones that have multiplied as they've becomes parents and spouses. But I can't help but get the impression from them that my life is somehow less significant than theirs since I "don't have anything to fill it with" like a man or a child. They're constantly trying to set me up with someone they know, which I hate. Or saying things like, "Your time will come when you least expect it" or "When are you going to stop dating and settle down?" or "I used to feel/say the same thing, until I found a purpose in my life." *insert heavy sigh here*
I have to chuckle at that last quote because some of my friends who have gone on to more "adult" lives used to be the very ones I had to drag away from the club or with whom I could share Hollywood gossip. Now that kind of stuff is petty and pointless to talk about with them. Although, some of them like to be entertained by listening to stories of my single life shenanigans. That's an event I believe Carrie once called "singing for my supper."
I'm going to continue to keep my good friends in my life, because I know they mean well. They don't always say the most comforting things, but I know they're doing the best they can as we all move on to other phases in our lives. But, for 2014 I plan to grow my circle of friends. I'd like to find more people who wouldn't mind joining me in a kickboxing class or going on a wine tour without having to worry about a babysitter, people who may be trying to navigate the same stage of life I am. Instead of trying to convert my old friends back onto my path, there's no shame in widening my circle--learning from new people and experiencing new things. While I've never had a problem with going out by myself and doing me, I vow to make this year the year I start extending invites to new friends and friends of new friends. I may even begin with a small potluck. I'm already excited.
What about you? What New Years resolutions have you claimed?
Candice Frederick is a former editor for Essence Magazine and a NABJ Award recipient. She writes the film blog Reel Talk and serves as co-host of “Cinema in Noir”. Follow her on Twitter @ReelTalker.