Every so often I find myself watching some movie or other about women in their 30s and their amazing, special girlfriends, and I find myself wondering why it is that I don’t have a gaggle of smart, sassy friends to eat cupcakes with, or gossip with at cocktail parties. Why is it I haven’t found a group of friends to act as my surrogate modern family?
Well, I don’t wonder exactly that. I wonder something more along the lines of, “Why am I such a friendless loser? What’s wrong with me?” (Don’t answer that. It’s a rhetorical question).
I know I’m not the only one. I regularly read blog posts from other parents wondering why they don’t have more friends.
But the thing is, I don’t think I have time for more friends. In fact, I have a theory that once you’re a parent you can’t actually have more than three close friends. I tend to think that in between family, work, school, domestic admin and 5 hours sleep a night, lots of friends are a luxury most of us don’t have time for.
Think about it – do you really, truly have enough time for your friends?
I don’t. Honestly, if I was my friend, I’d have dumped me years ago. I frequently cancel arrangements because of work or childcare issues, as a single Mum it’s incredibly hard for me to get out in the evenings, and it takes me FOREVER to return phone messages – if I get around to picking up the phone.
So I have lots of friends with a small ‘f’ – the friends locally I meet for coffee and cake, the school Mums, the blogging friends I meet for occasional giggly lunches, the amazing friends from my NCT group in Brighton – but I only have two very close friends. They’re the people who know me best of all, who can tell me when I’m being an idiot, the ones I can’t imagine not being a part of my life.
It turns out, though, that this is completely normal. There was an article in yesterday’s Guardian saying that a decade or so ago, the typical adult had three close friends. Now, in the age of Facebook and virtual relationships, that’s down to two.
So it’s official. I’m completely normal. How about you?