Monday, February 20, 2012

friends, part i.

{photo by A Bryan Photo}

I finished MWF Seeking BFF a few weeks ago, and I've been thinking about it on and off ever since.

The author, on a pretty intense search for her new best friend, ultimately reaches the conclusion (spoiler alert!) that our best friends in adulthood aren't going to look like the best friends of our childhoods.

It's certainly not a groundbreaking development, but for a girl who's sometimes bumbled her way through adult friendships post-college, it was kind of refreshing.

My friendships now that I'm in my 20s are multiple and varied. I am so grateful for the women I've met since I moved back to Tallahassee, for the book club and the small group and the Bible study and the anything-and-everything in between.

But all while I was trying to meet new people and potential friends -- a process that indeed, as Rachel describes it, feels a lot like dating -- I secretly hoped I'd meet someone who'd become my BFF. You know: Someone who I could bombard with random texts throughout the day, someone who I could pick the phone up and call in a moment of crisis or when I'm deciding on a purchase at the Gap. Someone who likes the same movies and devours pop culture and loves, loves, loves Jesus.

Like it or not, though, friendships change over time. And even the friendships I've held on to with a pretty tight fist (I am fiercely loyal to my friends) look a lot differently than they did a few years ago. I don't share a dorm room with my friends; in fact, even our closest friends geographically-speaking live about 10 minutes away (okay, that's not that far. But still...). People are busy. They work at home or away from home all day long. They pursue advanced degrees. They have jobs and boyfriends and husbands and babies. Their nights are filled to the brim.

It's when I finally shifted away from this idea of finding a new "BFF" that I realized I really have more than enough wonderful friends. I have, in Rachel's terms, a "bouquet" of friends: a handful of individuals who each meet a specific need and purpose and void in my life. And over time? Well, a lot of these friends have come pretty darn close to BFF territory.

There are friends who are up for anything, friends who I can count on to talk about books and music and movies. There are friends who I can take my spiritual burdens to, friends who I can text for advice on fashion or input on the latest Downton Abbey episode. I have friends who I look forward to seeing every week, friends who I share silence with and friends who I share the giggles with. I have friends who have been around for years and know the nerdiest, weirdest parts of me. I have friends who I just met a handful of months ago who I already consider dear to my heart. I have friends with babies, friends with husbands, friends with boyfriends, friends with careers, friends who somehow possess all of the above.

In adulthood, I am discovering that I will never recreate my deepest kindred spirit, the one who has known and loved me and my family since our first awkward introductions in the 2nd grade. There is too much history there to make up for, and I am okay with that. I have so many other friends who love me in so many different ways that I am learning: I don't need a BFF anymore. Not in that kind of way, anyway.

Instead, I need friendship variety. I need that bouquet of friends, that unique collection of men and women who I can turn to for all sorts of different reasons, and I think I'm well on my way to having that. The awkward meet-ups and the random lunches and the reconnecting phone calls have paid off.

I'm starting my fifth year back in Tallahassee, and I am so grateful for the friendships I pursued (and for the friends who pursued me!). I think in adulthood, it takes a little bit longer to make lasting friendships. There's no intense situation pushing you together -- college, anyone? -- and so it might take a little while to reach the point where you're calling or texting for no reason except to catch up.

But now, five years in, I think I'm there. I'm really content in my relationships. Sure, I wouldn't mind meeting some new friends. I think that would be lovely! But I'm also not as frenzied as I may have been when I first moved back home. I've got a good group of pretty wonderful people who I love spending time with. It took some time, but I'm more than happy with where I've wound up.


What about you? How have you met new friends post-undergrad?

*Psst... I'll be writing more on this subject tomorrow. I know you're so excited.


Erin said...

I cannot even tell you how much I appreciate this know that it's been tough and awkward for other people, too. My husband and I have been feeling very frustrated in this regard recently. I would love to make some new friends and meet some kindred spirits. I'm not quite sure how to get there...but hopefully it will come somehow.

Hailey Marie said...

I think meeting new friends in adulthood/post-college is one of the hardest things for 20somethings to do... In high school/college friendships were practically given to us on platters in the form of youth groups, classes, camps, clubs, churches, etc... Nowadays most of our friends are mutual friends who we were introduced that have known each other for years, and we kind of piggy-backed on the group... or they are people we've met through work/extra-curriculars, and eventually we'll probably be friends with the parents of the other babies in playgroups and schools. It's a weird and vulnerable place to be in, trying to make/maintain friendships as an adult, having to take the risk of asking another couple over for dinner, or showing up to a bible study/supper group and not knowing anyone... not to mention actually hanging out with friends can be a weekly event instead of daily. I had this same realization about a year ago after graduating and I am very hard on myself about wanting to be a better, more intentional, friend... but then I realize, my phone's not ringing either and the dozen people I worry about letting "slip away" are busy in their own adult lives and haven't reach out to me... it's just a weird adjustment.

wow... uh... penny for my thoughts, much? :)
Thanks for writing, as always!

Cara said...

Hi Annie -

tagged you in a fun post on my blog!


Brittany said...

I love this post--it's such an important topic. I recently had a friend comment on my own "bouquet" of friends; she admired the variety of individuals and groups that are my closest people. And even though a lot of those relationships seem to be the result of serendipity, I'm so proud of all the wonderful people I've put around myself. Friend are just so important to me.

But it is hard, like you said, to meet best friends after school. My best friends are still my high school and college friends. So far, I've been meeting great people at church. It's nice to know that they already have similar basic beliefs. But I'm still figuring it all out--I may need to pick up that book!

Rachael L. Anderson said...

I can empathize with this for sure--sometimes I feel so divided with my different friend groups and relationships. I just wish one person would know the whole me. This give me a better perspective on it--thanks for that!

Anonymous said...

this is so spot on for me right now. it's something that I think I'm learning and then a few months later I'm learning again. i must not really be catching on ;) my BFF all through junior high and high school vanished, quite literally, after our junior year in college. she's married, we graduated, major milestones have passed, and it feels absolutely bizarre for us not to have been experiencing those together. it's bizarre to be BFF-less. even weirder to feel that everyone else has one of their own, and I'm left out in the cold. this was such a good reminder to be grateful for the friends I'm so readily blessed with. I may have to check out that book!

monster cakes said...

I'm so happy to have you in my "circle" of friends, even if it means I had to extend my circle to the other end of the country. So worth it!

Sabrina said...

This is so off topic, but is that really 11 bridesmaids in that picture? I could go into a tangent about that....but it's way too late and I am sleepy;)