Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Good (Friend) is Hard to Find

I had the opportunity to meet up with an old friend from high school yesterday, sans le children. She was in town visiting her parents, taking a quick break from a hectic residency in Miami (she totally lives a Grey's Anatomy life!) I haven't seen her in several years, but when we gave each other a hug, it was like 10 years melted immediately away into a puddle on the floor of Panera Bread.

Three and a half talkative hours later (!), I left our lunch feeling as if we hadn't skipped a beat in our friendship, despite the time spent apart. My heart was happy to have had a chance to reconnect with someone who spent many high school and college hours with me shopping, hitting the movie theater, partying, gossiping, and shopping some more.

At the same time, I couldn't help but feel a pang of sadness, knowing that a good friend is hard to find. I don't normally pour my heart on the blog this way, and maybe it's a total turnoff to you.

But maybe there are other readers out there who feel the same way? 

I think women are inherently programmed to seek out connections with others. I always feel a smile on my face when I meet someone who I can relate to, share with, talk about my feelings with. I love my husband, but he just doesn't get into Project Runway the way a girl friend does. He doesn't understand what it's like to be a mom, to want that pair of shoes so badly that your feet practically itch, or how I panic if I've left the house without earrings on.

I have dozens of friends. Wonderful, sweet, sassy, stylish, smart, encouraging friends. But I sometimes find myself wishing for deeper connections. Something beyond the everyday "Hi, howya doin?" type of connection.

It made me think of the lucky ladies travelling to Blissdom this week for the big bloggers' conference. Am I the only one who sometimes feels she's standing in the middle of a big, crowded conference room, surrounded by perfectly friendly, lovely people...but wishing for maybe just one person to really connect with? Someone to tell how you really feel, someone you can call to come over for a visit when you haven't vacuumed in a week, someone who will tell you that you need to stop wearing those pants because they make your butt look big.

I don't have anything wise or witty to impart today. I don't want to sound whiney or ungrateful for the wonderful women in my life.

I'm just honestly curious as to how many other ladies out there feel the same way that I do.

Flannery O'Connor wrote a short story in the 1950s called "A Good Man is Hard to Find." I think she might have had it wrong!


  1. In a sea of acquaintances I have a one very close friend that I am ever so grateful for. Not sure what I would do without her!

    Meanwhile there are definitely a couple of people from my school days I wish lived closer or we had kept in closer contact.

    So I know what you mean...

  2. I don't usually tell anyone I feel this way, but I think you'll understand. You know what quality I absolutely treasure in a friend? The fact that she knows where things are in my kitchen.

    Does that sound silly? Maybe so. But I long for friends whom I've known for so long that they can come into my house and help themselves. I remember my mom having a couple of friends like that. I have a couple. But those are the kind of friends I long to have more of--people around whom I can be completely myself, completely comfortable, completely open.

    You're right: they're hard to find.

    (They also totally get you when you make literary allusions. They know that's part of who you are.)

  3. Call me up girl! I can tell it like it is! :-) Haha! No but really, I know EXACTLY what you mean. I've been blessed to have 2sisters that I can call my best friends, they truly know me inside & out, the good, bad & early morning-stank breath, ugly. Haha! :-) I do have a best friend though since 6th grade who knows me like my sisters do but she lives in Chicago :-( I usually chat on the phone with her at least once a week & we email all the time & maybe actually see each other once or twice (if we're lucky) a year. I've dealt w/ my share of "surface level" ladies who are perfectly wonderful but I do wish I had a deeper connection with. Wonderful post on a sensitive issue!

  4. As a military spouse who moves every few years (and whose friends also move) finding a good friend is really hard. I have a few wonderful friends from high school that I keep in touch with, but only see every 2-3 years, but a good every day friend is almost impossible. It makes me sad.

  5. I understand what you are saying very much...we just moved here about 9 months is very different from where I moved from...and its taken us a while to find the right church for our family and start really getting connected. My bloggy and FB friends from high school and college have been my main "girl friend" connections over this past 9 months...until this past Sunday...I walked into the nursery after Church to pick up Michael and met Jill! She is the sweetest most friendly while being genuine person I've met in a long time. We connected immediately! We both bubbled over with genuine joy and she told me that she really hopes we will join the church because she would love to get to know me and hang out...she couldn't explain it...I can...its an answered prayer.

    So I understand, my friend Amanda! I will be praying for you as your heart searches for some precious "real" flesh and blood friends! You are such a good friend to all of us!

    Wish I was there to get you some coffee and give you a hug!

    Mary Joy

  6. i've always had one really close friend at a time. we did everything together, but i couldn't help but feel jealous of those people who have girls weekend getaways with like 10 best friends...who appeared to be really close with that many people. but you know what, i am sure that even within a large friend group there is a clique, or there is gossiping about the others, and with just don't really have to worry about that!

  7. As women I think it is harder to maintain closer friendships as we get older. It's hard to meet people and even harder to keep in touch with the ones from different, earlier parts of our lives. I think that we take on so many things in life that sometimes we let the important things/people get away from us. You are definitely not alone in this boat, Amanda. I think many of us feel this way. :)

  8. Wow..have you hit a nerve with this post!

    When I lived in Houston, Texas (10 years ago) I had a special girlfriend. Mary and I were always together. We had kids the same age, they all went to the same school, our husbands were both Houston Police Officers and later both Fed agents in the same agency. We even both ended up in the DC area at the same time. We were coffee buddies. I best describe our relationship as 'Lucy and Ethel'. Mary walked in my kitchen without knocking..poured herself coffee..knew where I kept the just baked cookies...GOD I miss that kind of relationship!
    I live in beautiful Virginia now and I love it, but I am not in a subdivision and do not really have anyone to pop in on for coffee and a chat. It's kind of sad.

    If you are ever in Warrenton,Va, please look me up...the coffee is always hot and a comfy chair is always available.

    Janet xox

  9. Boy could I really use a good friend here close to me in my new city and state. I have a friend about an hour away but I would love to meet someone who I could call up and say let's do lunch or let's shop or let's craft! I had a close friend back home and she's still a very close friend and we did all those things! Boy do I miss days like that!

    Ever think of moving to the Chicago area???

  10. Oh yes, I know this feeling! I moved to the US from Canada when I was 17 and between culture shock and leaving all my highschool friends behind, I started to feel I'd never have a close friend again. My current best friend is a joy in my life, and I cherish her. I also still correspond with a friend from the 2nd grade! We write each other real letters on stationary, and it's a wonderful connection.

  11. I think a lot of women can totally relate to this...I know I can! I have a pretty close knit group of friends...about 8 of us. But sometimes I still wish I had one BEST friend. The one person who is just right for being your friend...same interest, same age kids, same sense of humor. I have one friend who is slowly becoming like that for me, and I really think that sometimes time is all a relationship needs to become that BEST friend kind of relationship. Thanks for sharing a more personal side with us Amanda!

  12. Yep, feel exactly the same way!!! And I totally panic when I leave the house without earrings. I stash a pair in my purse just in case!

  13. Amanda, I feel as though I could have been the one writing this! I have explained this exact same thing to my husband on so many occasions. I have a very difficult time connecting with other gals on a deeper level. I think partly due to my own insecurity and fear of being judged. I can't help but think, "What is she going to think if she see's my house this messy?" or "I bet all of her dishes are in the dishwasher, not piled in the sink." Some part of me is very afraid to let another female get that close to me. Personally, I blame those miserable middle and high school years!!! They unfortunately kind of ruined female friendship for me!!

  14. Clearly, there are a LOT of women who feel the same way. I know that I do (at times. at other times I am sort of glad that I don't have someone else's drama to deal with all of the time. lol)

    I will say that I have observed a lot of women who have stated that they crave such a relationship only to reject close friendships with people that they think either don't measure up to the "perfect" BFF that they have in mind or the potential friend wasn't in the desired social circle that they were aiming for.

    So instead of having that close "bestie" sort of relationship they missed out on while they were too busy trying to befriend the Carrie Bradshaw-esque woman in their MOMS club or down the street, they sort of flounder trying to be something or someone they aren't because they are trying to attract the "right" kind of BFF instead of embracing the BFF that God sent them.
    (not saying this is you at.all.! Just saying that I have seen this happen, and it makes me sad, because if I were playing "bff matchmaker" lol I would have totally but this person or that person together, but the one won't have anything but superficial relationships with women because they are trying to force friendships with women for superficial reasons.

    And now that I have gone all psychological, I will shut up

    All this to say that one day, if you are paying attention, God will send that bff to you, someone that you just click with. And it might not be "bff at first sight" you might have to nurture and grow and tend the relationship, as will she. Friendship--the kind that is deep and abiding--takes time and effort to cultivate. Otherwise it isn't worth it. <3

  15. I so understand. It's a lonely feeling. I've had it before, but with me, it takes time. I'm a very reserved person, very friendly, but when it comes to deep relationships, for whatever reason (whether it's fear or...I don't know), I don't take those extra steps to becoming close with someone. Maybe it's because I've moved too many times. I don't know but I sure do miss it.

  16. Yes, I understand exactly what you're saying. Thank you for expressing this, because it's nice to know that I am not alone in feeling this way. I know a lot of people, but I don't have one really close friend. My husband doesn't really understand when I try to explain my loneliness to him, because he sees me going to playgroups, going to a monthly get together I have with a group of friends, etc, but knowing many people is not the same as having a close friendship. After college, I had several years with no real close friends, then I finally clicked with a woman I worked with. We had so much in common and got along so well and talked everyday, and became best friends. Then we moved to a new state for my husband's job 5 years ago and I have never been able to click with anyone in my new town. It is a very lonely feeling. PLus now I'm a SAHM and am home a lot. I think that's part of why I like reading blogs - I can find people with similar interests and read about how they live their lives and feel some kind of connection, even tho we are not friends "in real life."

  17. I totally agree! It is easy to make a friend and hard to find a kindred spirit you can pour your heart out to.

    I, too, have lots of friendly friends but very few true good friends.

  18. My wife would comment similar to others above. She knows a lot of people, but only has a few close and true friends. I'm glad you enjoyed your get together.

  19. DURN! Had a big comment and I lost it! Anyway, Hubby is my best friend and then my mom and sister. I have plenty of friends from school or dance, etc., but nobody who is a true friend. I haven't had a really good, might as well be family kind of friend since college. Sad, but true.

    I agree with Richella. I want a friend who acts like she lives here. Someone who will fix her own tea and raid my pantry if she's hungry, raid my closet and let me raid hers.

  20. Good girlfriends are hard to come by! I think it is wonderful if you have one in your life.

  21. I hear you Amanda! I never had a lot of close girlfriends growing up. I just never really connected with girls that well.

    I have to say where I live now, I am slowly making the transition, and have a few really good girlfriends that I really truly feel close to. It has just happened over the past couple years, and I am so grateful.

  22. I have a group of friends that I like and enjoy going to the movies or shopping with, but I have one BFF. We aren't neighbors anymore, but we still talk on the phone every single day and she knows ALL about me (the good, the bad and the ugly)and vice versa. I honestly don't know what I would do without her. I wish every woman could have that kind of BFF.

  23. Don't you just love reconnecting with an old friend? I'm like that with my college roommate. I haven't seen her since my wedding day in '94, but when we talk on the phone every year or so, it goes on for hours. I know that you hated to leave your friend after having such a good time and conversation with her.

    Like many of the commenters, I have a lot of friends but only a few really close ones.

    I admire ladies who go to Blissdom all alone. I am shy and would be terrified that I'd be the one person in the room alone with no one to talk to.

    I love my blogging friends like you!!

  24. I couldn't agree more Amanda. Over the years I have lost touch with so many friends. We all eventually went down different paths all at different stages in our life. It's very rare that I can find that one special person to really relate to although I feel like I seek it out all of the time. I am glad to hear I am not the only one. Great post!


  25. Oh,,,1st off I wish I were going to Blissdom!!!!

    And yes, I get what you are saying....(even as close as the Belles are it isn't the same is it?). I am glad you got your girl time.

  26. I understand what you're saying. I saw another comment that someone said the quality she treasures in a friend is knowing where things are in the kitchen. I know I've got a real friend when they don't knock on the front door when they come over, they just walk in like it's their own house. :-P
    I miss having someone who would do something as mundane as go grocery shopping with me just because. Someone who would help themselves to what I had in my refrigerator because they knew I wouldn't care. People who didn't keep secrets. :-\
    I'm in the burg. I can be your friend! :-P

  27. i get you-got a little teary eyed reading your post. i guess alot of us feel the same way. i'm lucky to be really good friends with my sister and through her, my brother in law's cousin, but they live over an hour away and there's so many days I wish they lived closer to me or me to them.

  28. I haven't caught up on your blog in a while and when I do almost echo my feelings and I am so glad /relieved I am not the only one ..I love it how you said you look for something beyond the everyday exchanges ..
    Isn't it great to catch up with a friend after years ? I recently got in touch with my high school bff after the longest time ..even wrote abt it ..check out Strings of friendship post on my blog ..I am sure you'll love it

  29. I have two really close friends who know me inside and out, and they both live 90 minutes away in opposite directions. Now that we each have two plus kiddos, it's getting harder and harder to see each other.

    When we first moved to baltimore I was shocked by how difficult the move was on me and how lonely I felt (like waking up crying in the middle of the night and had to see a counselor even though I never thought I'd need a counselor difficult). Thank God (literally!) he sent me a host of angels through my churh moms group. I never knew it was possible for there to be such a tight knit group of women who could be so welcoming to the "new kid" and I've never heard one of them speak an uncharitable word against anyone. Amazing.

    Oh, Amanda, I wish you lived closer! I know we don't really *know* each other, but I feel like we would get along famously in "real" life. Sorry I haven't been around much lately- I feel like lately I've had to choose between my fun outlet of the blogosphere and my family responsibilities and obviously I have to choose my fam! Please don't take my absence as disinterest!

    I was totally bummed the other day when I realized that blissdom is coming up again, and I can't go again (didn't plan for it, plus I'll be 33 weeks prego tomorrow, plus, how in the world do these women take off for several days with little kids at home?) Wouldn't it be cool if we could both go one of these years? A girl can dream... Anyway, enough 2:30am rambling- can you tell this baby is no longer letting me sleep at night?!

  30. I know what you mean. I grew up knowing everyone in my school. I went to high school with kids I went to pre-k with. Then when I was 17 I moved 2 hours away to be with my now husband, leaving everyone behind. I only have one real friend here, and even she isnt as close as those old friends were. I always read about people hanging with their girls, going shopping together, crafting together, and I dont have any of that. :( I miss having friends terribly. But it's SO hard to meet people.


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