Straight through college, you likely relied largely on one pool from which to fish for your closest friends: School. Everyone was about the same age and more or less at the same life stage: Unmarried, maybe uncoupled, and few if any kids. You easily found people who liked what you liked, saw the world through a similar prism, and shared your interests. Then you hit the brick wall known as graduation and your circle of friends scattered to the four corners.
We're not going to lie. Friendship often gets trickier as you get older. Here are six things you should know.
1. Marriage changes a lot, but kids change everything.
Just because you're married doesn't mean you stop watching games with the guys or going out for drinks after work with the girls. Time apart from your mate is actually a healthy thing for both you and the marriage. But when you have kids, that freedom is quickly curtailed.
Kids, especially when they are young, are 24/7 maintenance deals. And who hasn't been in this situation: You invite a single friend over for dinner and she shows up with a bottle of wine and wanting to give you the blow-by-blow of her latest breakup - only you haven't even showered yet. You haven't even begun the dinner you promised to cook because the kids are bouncing off the walls, demanding attention.
What often happens is that moms wind up befriending other moms. And that's who you wind up spending more time with, even if it's at the playground. Single friends no longer understand your life. The good news is that many stick around even though you are on divergent paths. But other moms are the adults you see the most.
2. Work place friends are colleagues, and not always lasting friends.
While you are working as part of a team and spending long hours together, it's easy to become close to your co-workers. In some cases, the friendship spills over to outside the office. But once you leave the job, those relationships tend to drift apart. For one, your new job may take you to a new city. For another, you replace the old coworkers in your life with a new set. News of the old office is fun and titillating to hear for a while, but eventually you stop caring.
3. Retirement truly alters friendships.
Ask any new retiree what happened to the people from work that he or she ate lunch with five times a week and they'll scratch their head. When retirees revisit the old work place after being gone for awhile, initially there are lots of warm greetings and hugs and then you know what happens? The people working actually have to get back to work. If they make a repeat visit in five years they are likely to see many unfamiliar faces.
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You'r feeling quiet and domestic today; may rather stay in and make an elaborate dinner than head out for a show or party tonight.