"I just want to spend more time with couples who have kids," complained an acquaintance of mine recently - this after the (kid-free) Anonymous Husband and I had driven no short distance to spend time with her and her husband.
The thing is, I understood where she's coming from (once I recovered from the social gaffe, that is).
Once upon a playground, our friends were simply that - the people we liked, who all fell under one happy circus tent labeled "friend". We didn't categorize "the swingset friends" or the "Cabbage Patch- appreciative friends" as discrete entities, with never the twain shall meet. It could be the champagne has fizzled my memory, but looking back, I'm struck with just how much easier it was to distinguish the Good Guys (Gals) vs. the bullies, and that was the only pertinent distinction.
Of course, as we get older things get logistically sticky - if we're lucky, we figure out the stuff we like (and meet "friends I like to argue with"), pick a job accordingly ("law school friends"), and pair off ("couples friends"), but none of this figuring out comes with a translation guide to friendships that try to transcend those artificial lines. Woe unto the person (ie, me) who throws a party with all of the above friends & expects social magic to commence.
Instead, when it comes to making new friends in this post-sandbox era, I find myself inexplicably wanting to meet people who have checked the same life boxes - partnered up? check. professional? check. wants kids? check - without understanding why. Is it to somehow justify the life decisions I've made? Or is it also, as I suspect, more a matter of practicality? The moms I meet can't just meet for a last-minute happy hour, and I'm not yet interested in playdates unless they involve David Beckham and, well, no one else.*
*Love you, AH!
These invisible boundaries don't apply so much to those lifelong friends. In my set, we're all ambling around various stages of singledom or motherhood, etc., and it hasn't affected our closeness. Rather, it's with the newbies - the friend dating stage of life I'm now in - where I'm finding it a challenge, from both sides of the issues.
What does your side of the sandbox look like? Do you think this is a natural, good thing, or do you miss the earlier, simpler days?