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Ask Team Practical: Losing Friends


by Liz Moorhead, Ask Team Practical

Ask Team Practical: Losing Friends | A Practical Wedding

I was hoping maybe one of these days you would address the topic of losing friends after a wedding. I know I’m not the only one who’s had this experience and I’m trying to make sense of how getting married suddenly means that your friends go away. This has happened to both me and my husband. At least half the members of our wedding party no longer speak to us, and not over a particular event or falling out, more just out of mutual losing touch. Perhaps this is partially related to just dealing with adult relationships, but I think that marriage is intimately tied to this.

—Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

I wish I could give you a hug. This is definitely the not-so-fun part of my job. (Meg didn’t warn me I’d have to give out bad news! She just said I could spout opinions and boss people around!) But, the sad truth is sometimes, it just happens. Friendships shift and change, and folks outgrow one another and slip away. I think there’s a point where that’s less a result of marriage, and more a result of adulthood. Think about it. When you’re younger, most of your friends are friends just by nature of proximity. This guy sits next to me in pre-calc, that girl shares a waitressing shift with me. You become friends with the people around you, and usually by default, they’re in the same “life stage” as you. You’re both college freshmen! You have so much in common!

As you get older, that life stage stuff becomes more complicated and more pronounced. Sure you’re all adults now, but who’s married and who’s working on a PhD, who’s having kids and who’s traveling abroad become bigger pieces of where you are and what you’re doing, to the point where maybe you don’t have as much in common with that guy you sat next to in pre-calc any more. Even though you care about each other, even though you have fond memories, maybe there’s not as much shared experience and common ground. But more than proximity, more even than shared experiences, friendship really comes down to who shares those core commonalities with you—interests, ideals, and that intangible “click.” Sometimes, the diverging paths of adulthood simply lay bare the lack of real commonality at the core. When we no longer have classes and favorite bands in common, do we have anything to talk about? Do we care about the same stuff? Sometimes, painfully, the answer is no… or even, “meh.”

That’s kind of sucky stuff to lay on you; don’t let it overwhelm you. The happy thing is the reverse. Sometimes, the changes in life only emphasize for you who your true friends are—those pals who call no matter how far you’ve moved, who remember your birthday even when you haven’t spoken in months, and who still have tons to talk about when you both are on crazy different paths.

Before you give up hope, let’s look at a few things you can do about it. I always try to do the smart thing first and assume there’s a possibility that what’s happening is partially my fault. Introspection! Be honest with me, miss. Are you making time for your friends the way you always have? Are you available when they need you, up for drinks when they want to hang? Double-check that stuff, and I say that for two big reasons.Ask Team Practical: Losing Friends | A Practical Wedding

First, there is a smidgen of truth to that old trope about married folks getting settled into a boring routine. Not that the routine is boring, no, but that it’s easy to settle into it. Whereas before, there was stuff to do and people to see, well, now you have this comfortable couch with this smoking hot spouse sitting on it and a full season of Breaking Bad on Netflix. It’s not hard to ease into coming home to that every night and being completely content with it, and that’s fine! As long as it’s not interfering with other important things like friendships and sunlight and human interaction.

The second big thing is that your friends just might assume you’re too busy for them, now that you’re sophisticated and married and all. The more “responsibilities” you take on (apologies to your partner for lumping him into that category), the more the onus is on you to do the reaching out. Tack on a full time job, a husband, a baby, coaching a youth swim league, and for each added responsibility, your friends (perhaps mistakenly) will see you as having less time for happy hour drinks. So, don’t sit around waiting for friends to call you. Shoot an email and see who’s up for hanging out. Dispel that myth that married people are both busy and boring.

A part of making yourself available is being okay with not dragging your partner along to everything. Maybe he’s stuck at work tonight. Go without him! But, making space for just-me-and-friends-time isn’t just about making room in your schedule when your partner isn’t available. Sometimes your friends just want to see you. Sometimes his friends just want to see him. Are you okay with leaving him on the couch with the cat and a bowl of chips while you go out and have a blast? Conversely, are you okay with being left at home with those chips? It’s good for you both! Honest!

Friendships do sometimes slip away—that’s the sad truth of it. But, make every effort you can to hold onto the ones that are dear. Make time for them, reach out to them, suck it up and go out for expensive coffee drinks with them! With a little luck, and some expensive coffee drink times, the good ones will stick around. (Why do I know this? Because the ones that stick around tend to be really good ones, and them sticking around is part of how you figure that out. It’s circular logic, but it’s also often true.)

 

*****

Team Practical, how do you handle shifting and changing friendships? Did you find any friends grow distant after the wedding?

Photo by APW sponsor Leah and Mark Photography.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her son.

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  • One More Sara

    Oooh Anonymous. I SO feel you on this one. I’m not yet married, but my partner and I are living together (plus our 3 yr old), so we definitely get lumped into the “boring married” people. I moved far from my family and friends to be with him too, so I lost my core group of friends. Distance also has a way of interfering with once solid friendships. I don’t have much advice different than what Liz already said… especially the part about assuming it’s your fault. If the friendship still fades after you’ve done all you can to get it back, it’s perfectly fine to let it slip away and think back on your friend with fond memories.

    I already can tell which friends are going to fade because of the distance, and I suspect I’ll only see most of them at my wedding and weddings of our mutual friends. And you know what? That’s ok! It would be incredibly expensive to keep in very close touch with a number of my friends from back home, so I have let myself off the hook on trying to keep all my friendships fully intact. It’s frankly unrealistic for me to expect that 100% of my friendships make it through the distance unscathed. I haven’t lost everyone, and I talk to them all less often, but there are a few that I know are going to stick around (because it is still more or less effortless to hang out/talk when we get the chance), so I know where to put my effort.

    After you put forth a little extra effort for the friendships that really matter to you, cut yourself a break! Your friendships aren’t going to look exactly the same as when they started, THANK GOODNESS! I’d hate to still be in high school physics everyday, or scraping up beer money every weekend in college. Just try not to feel bitter or guilty if friendships slip through the cracks. If you kept every old friend you had, you would never have the time to make new ones, and that could get pretty boring after a while.

    • meg

      “If the friendship still fades after you’ve done all you can to get it back, it’s perfectly fine to let it slip away and think back on your friend with fond memories.”

      This.

  • http://atypicaljourney.wordpress.com Christa @ a*typicaljourney

    This post rings true for so many life events – not just marriage.
    Granted, I am not married *yet*, but my fiance and I have a 2-year old daughter and have been living together for 3 years, so sometimes it feels like we already are. We’re lucky enough to have friends at the same life stage as we are, so we haven’t experienced the loss of many friends, but I’ll tell you – we have lost contact with a few.
    It’s increasingly important, as your life and your relationship with your partner changes, that your relationship with your friends does not. Sure, all relationships evolve over time, but an abrupt change can send someone running for the hills. It’s all about effort.
    I’ll be honest, I’m so guilty of settling into my daily routine and not following through with promises to make plans (read: “yeah we should totally hang out sometime….”). I’m lucky enough to get to work with one of my best friends, so I see her every day and stay close that way. My other best friend moved out of state a few years ago. Surprisingly, while we were both still in school & single, we stayed in close contact – texting, emailing, calling almost every day. When I got pregnant, though, our chats became fewer and farther between. Then SHE got pregnant – with twins – and moved back to her hometown, which is only 1.5 hours away from me. I’d say it’s probably been 2 solid months since I’ve heard from her last. Not that I’ve done anything about that, either.
    Friendship is a two-way street – it’s so cliche, but that’s why cliches exist… they’re good advice.
    I think I’ve got a phone call to make ;)

  • oh, meredith

    First of all, I’m so sorry! Losing people you love ALWAYS sucks!
    I lost a very close friend when I became engaged. Unfortunately, I think it mostly had to do with jealousy. She really wanted to be in a relationship and to get married. When I was single, too, we would joke about both becoming old ladies with cats one day. When I found a lifetime love, I think she just couldn’t handle that I had what she wanted, when she didn’t. (As with most things in life, it was more complicated than that, but I’m fairly certain that was at the core of our falling out.)
    Of course, on the flip side, my fiancé and I are becoming less close with our married friends who are expecting their first child. We still love them, but 99% of their focus is on their baby. I think that’s as it should be, and they have done a great job of still asking about what’s going on in our lives. And it’s not that we don’t want to continue to spend time with them – we do. It’s just we can’t really relate to all of these new experiences – they’re going to a place that (at present) we won’t follow. They are going to naturally gravitate towards other young parents, and we will spend more time with our childless friends. I really think that’s okay.

    • One More Sara

      That is so interesting to me… We haven’t had that much trouble staying friends with our childless friends, but that might also have something to do with the fact that we don’t have any friends who also have babies/kids. haha. Your friends might be really overwhelmed with the newborn, but you also never know if that new mom would love to have some time alone with another adult who might talk about something besides poop and breastmilk! It might be hard, but it definitely isn’t impossible (you know, if it’s a forever friend worth going the extra mile for).

      • Jashshea

        I second that. Things got dicey when some of my closest ladies were knocked up the first time, but by the time they were having their second kids they desperately wanted to talk about boys and clothes and nights out after work.

        • Liz

          Yes to all of this! There’s also sort of a season of “all baby all the time” right there in the beginning for some folks. After the kiddo is here and everyone’s adjusted to the terror/excitement/poop, maybe they’ll come up for air.

          • oh, meredith

            I should clarify. I have definitely had friends that lose the ability to talk about any other subject when a major life event is upon them (baby, wedding, etc). I try to be understanding for a reasonable amount of time, as any major life change can take up all of one’s focus. However, I believe that friendship is a two-person undertaking, and eventually it gets tiresome to be around someone who only thinks about him/herself.
            That is not the case with the friends I mentioned. They are excited about their baby to an understandable, but not obnoxious, degree. They have been conscientious about staying interested in our lives, too. (For which I am very grateful.) I believe that our friendship will last for the long-term. I just also expect that the make-up of their day-to-day life is going to become very different from ours, and that will naturally alter the closeness of the relationship. I think it is natural to gravitate towards people whose experiences follow our own more closely.
            I also really appreciate the advice everyone gave about offering “adult time” once the baby is here and a little older, and also not making assumptions that new parents will be too busy for their childless friends. :)

      • rys

        As I tell all my friends, I’m not the friend to ask to babysit, I’m the friend to call when you need adult company at home or need to escape your house with an adult. Most of them take me up on it, and it’s really quite fun. I bring dinner and we talk about the news or we duck out for a drink or a movie or a walk.

    • RST

      Two of our closest friends had a baby a couple of summers ago, and they told us how sad it made them that many of their friends seemed to disappear overnight. They said, “We’re still the same people–just +1! Why does everyone assume that we’re too busy to hang out any more?” I’m so happy that we talked about it right when their baby was born, so we knew that they wanted our friendship to stay constant during this change in their lives. This may not be the case for all new parents, but it was for them, and that conversation has made all the difference. My fiance and I make an conscious effort not to make assumptions about our friends’ schedules–we just ask them. I think the act of asking has done as much to maintain our friendship as our actual visits.

      Sometimes we make plans in advance, and sometimes we’re spontaneous. It turns out that parents of toddlers do like to be spontaneous, too! At least these ones do. Last Friday when my fiance was out of town, they texted and asked if I wanted to get ice cream and go to the park with them. (Correct answer to this question is always “Heck yes!”) Did we spend more time around the playground than we would have in the pre-kid era? Was our conversation a little more fragmented as they kept one eye on their little one? Sure. But I am so glad that we’re still friends, even though we are at different places in our lives. And did I get a huge charge out of their daughter chanting my dog’s name while she did the toddler version of chin-ups? Heck yes!

      And, truthfully, I’m so much less nervous about the thought of being a parent myself someday, knowing that I have friends like these who I can talk with honestly about anything. Based on this experience, I’m trying to have a motto in all my relationships: don’t assume. Just ask. :)

      • meg

        Yup! Friends can be strange about it, particularly in an overarching culture that talks a lot about parents ONLY being kid focused (certainly the case in the Bay Area). We went to a friends birthday party in a bar recently, and when we showed up they said “Oh! We almost didn’t invite you because we were so sure you wouldn’t come” and then I looked super confused, and then they said “This is so pregnant lady unfriendly!” Which, no, I just ordered a mocktail and took sips from other peoples drinks. BUT. That’s the cultural message, right? I’m pregnant, so I now have different/ better things to do (ugh). And if it’s like that pre-kid, we’re going to clearly have to work our asses off to make sure people still invite us out post-kid.

        • Class of 1980

          Not invite you because you are PREGNANT?

          I had no idea people did stuff like this.

          • meg

            The cultural narrative is all kinds of fucked up right now. I’m supposed to be sitting at home in a rocking chair in yoga pants thinking about babies and eating organic food. I’m pretty sure, at least.

          • One More Sara

            While you knit blankets for the baby. And hats. And booties…..

      • MDBethann

        The asking part is really important – my bridesmaids are a great example. Two of them do not and never plan to have kids, BUT they enjoy spending time with their friends’ kids, and even though my husband and I don’t have kids yet, we feel the same way. People with kids might be surprised that their childless friends WANT to spend time with the kids, kids are fun, insightful little people, and chances are, if your friends are pretty cool, their kids will be too.

      • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

        I know one couple who would take their kid to parties, and also a dog carrier. When he got sleepy, they’d stick him in the carrier and continue having fun.

        It gave me great hope for the future. And it’s true! Life doesn’t have to end once you have babies. Sure, things change a little (I won’t start drinking during games night tonight until after the baby’s gone to bed) but it doesn’t change everything (we still have games night!).

        • meg

          HAHAHA. Morgan, I love you. That is totally absurd, and I love you.

  • rys

    Some friendships simply fade over time, irrespective of marital status. But as a 30-something single lady who has almost always maintained friendships, and even gotten closer to friends, after marriage, I’ll offer a more blunt version of Liz’s introspection: to what degree are you are paying attention to your single friends?

    At this point in my life, most of my friends are married. My best friend is married. And it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because we still talk, email, and hang out. I’ve moved a bunch, and many of my closest friends don’t live nearby. But both sides make an effort to talk and to visit — with and without partners and kids. The latter is key. There’s nothing wrong with chatting with a friend’s husband or wife (in fact, it’s fun) and there’s nothing wrong with going on the family trip to the zoo, but I also need me+friend time, just us, catching up, hanging out, enjoying one another’s company. I need to feel like I’m not an auxiliary or accessory to my friends’ new lives; I’m still a real, live, true friend who cares deeply about my friend and who has friends who care deeply about me and what’s going on in my life. This is the case for the vast majority of my friendships — they’re reciprocal and fun and grow as we evolve as adults.

    In contrast, I’ve had (only) 2 experiences of friendship drift post-marriage, and in both cases I basically felt neglected. In one case, my friend and former housemate got married and, for the most part, only socialized with other couples. As in, when he organized dinners, hikes, and the like, he generally forgot (to put it nicely) to invite ze single folk — mainly another former housemate and I (both ladies) who had previously been invited. I honestly don’t know if this was intentional or an oversight, but it sucked and made me completely uninterested in spending time with him. In the other case, a friend with whom I had gone to college and lived in the same place later on similarly disappeared…except for the birth announcements of her kids. It felt very one-sided — I was only worth getting info about her life, not being asked about mine.

    It may be that Anonymous is making all the right moves — calling friends, setting aside time to have dinner or go to the movies, inviting friends to join her at a museum or grab coffee before work — but it’s also easy to forget these things. When I lived near my married best friend, I had an open invitation to dinner at any time; I probably ate dinner with her and her husband once a week (very low-key, nothing fancy). Now that we live 3000 miles apart and she has 2 kids, I know she makes an extra effort to call me when she can grab some time alone.

    The bottom line: sometimes you have to be really overt about how you want to keep friends in your life.

    • Sara

      Yes, yes, yes. I am the single girl in my group of many married people. Most of them are pretty good about making sure I’m included in activities that other couples plan. It might be a couple weeks between when I see a few of them, and the phone calls from people far away are a little less frequent – but then again, we make up for that time when we find time to call each other(one two hour call instead of four half hour ones).

      However there are a few people that just….fell off the map. Those calls never got made, and they only really call other couples b/c “I can’t leave him at home and Mr.X needs someone to talk to’. Which sucks, because I think I’m pretty interesting. I will say I think my single guy friends are having a harder time because the girls in my group are more likely to call other girls to plan, and sometimes the boys get left out.

      And none of my friends have kids at the moment, but I am terrified that if I’m not ready when they start having them, that’s going to be where the cracks in the friendship happen.

    • meg

      Yes! The only socializing with other couples thing is odd, and common. We had to put some effort into that post-marriage. At first, we’d invite single friend over, and you could tell they didn’t want to be the ‘third wheel’ or what have you. But we kept doing it, because what? We needed to throw a party every time we wanted to see them so there would be lots of people? Impractical. Now our single friends come over all the time without thinking about it, it just took a little work and practice.

      Interestingly, I realized recently that I don’t actually class our friends in our mind as coupled or single. I said to David “Oh, we have WAY more single friends than couple friends” and he said “I don’t actually think that’s true.” And I started trying to count, and realized I would have to actually think hard each time to figure out if they were coupled or not. (Head desk). But that’s not really how we’re supposed to think, I think. Somehow single or couple-dom is supposed to be our defining feature, which is total bullshit if you ask me.

      • Class of 1980

        I know a lady who is only comfortable inviting couples to her wonderful dinner parties. I don’t get it. Her husband is in his eighties and she is eleven years younger. Has it never occurred to her that she herself will be alone some day? I know it would kill her not to be invited when she is a widow because she is very social.

      • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

        Also it’s totally ok to do something with just one half of a couple, whether that’s having girl time or the guys going out and having some male bonding, or even just having half of the couple over because their significant other is busy. Just because friends may be couple friends doesn’t mean you can only hang out as a couple.

      • http://lowehousecreative.com/ lowe_house

        As someone who is single, and loves hanging out with couples, it makes me sad for other single people who feel uncomfortable doing it (because that street goes both ways.) Most of the best advice I’ve ever gotten about my dating life has come from my girlfriends’ husbands, and most of the time my guy friends date rad girls who I am happy to become friends with. Plus, you know, couples are made up of two people, and there’s really nothing odd about hanging out in groups of three…

  • z

    I think a wedding can kind of keep a fading friendship on life support, creating the illusion that it’s stronger than it really is. Especially members of the wedding party– if they are conscientious and caring people, they’ll make the effort not to fade out before the wedding. Then after the wedding it’s kind of jarring to experience the friendship without that support. It wouldn’t be so shocking if it had been a more natural slowing of the relationship.

    I don’t have any answers, except that it’s ok. It happens a lot and friendships coming and going is a normal part of adult life as we all grow and change and relocate. Of course we should all try to be thoughtful and sensitive and not ramble on and on about married life, but all the sensitivity in the world won’t maintain a friendship that’s naturally run its course. Change happens and it’s ok, and it doesn’t mean you won’t be friends again at a later stage.

    • meg

      Yes. This is true too.

    • Margi

      THIS. I had to comment because I feel like this entire post really struck a nerve. I had a really good friend and we had begun to gradually start drifting apart. She asked me to be in the wedding party, and so I did make the effort to not fade out before the wedding. The entire wedding planning process really demonstrated to me how far we’ve drifted apart. All we talked about for the 10 months before the wedding was ONLY wedding stuff. After the wedding, I thought things would settle down and return to normal, but unfortunately it became all about the “next phase” – buying a house. I hadn’t gone through this with other friends getting married, so I guess it really speaks to our friendship really being over and I try not to let it get me down, but it does make me sad because at one time she was someone who was really important in my life.

  • http://nerdycare.blogspot.com SelkieKel

    This may not be a “taboo” per say, but this phenomenon is likely more common than not and is something that rarely gets discussed. (once again, bravo to APW for tackling this head-on)

    Liz and the ladies above all have excellent points, primarily that you have to be willing to give as much as you expect from your friends and accept that people and relationships change over time.

    This may sound a little harsh, but something else to watch for during the planning and especially in the midst of the newlywed phase are signs of jealousy or insecurity from your friends. That’s not to say that they covet your dress, your husband, or your wedding, but rather this transitional event for you may underscore to them where they are in their own lives (and they may not be happy about that). Watching a friend move on to a new phase may cause them to think, “I thought I’d be married/have a house/be in graduate school by now; so much for that.”

    It’s very difficult both to identify these feelings for what they are and respond without heightening tensions, but we’re wily ducks. Be a compassionate detective if you suspect this might be the case. Perhaps get your friend to speak about their hopes and dreams and make an effort to support them. Be gentle to your friends in the aftermath of your wedding, as this was likely a big transition for them as well.

    • KB

      THIS!!! Definitely watch out for the jealousy. I’m actually experience it RIGHT NOW in the midst of wedding planning. One of my close friends basically told me that we’re probably not going to be friends after my fiance and I get married because she’s still single. Not “I’m afraid we’ll drift apart” or “I’ll be sad because you’ll be doing married stuff.” She basically told me that we’re painful to be around because, well, we’re a couple and she’s single. I almost blew a gasket because, while I empathize that single life can suck, I’m not going to apologize for the fact that our getting married is making her reflect on her own life and not like what she sees. Especially when I have been UBER conscious not to mention ANYTHING wedding related around her because it just sparks the whole conversation about how she’s still single and never going to find a guy.

      And I have to say, is it just me – or do people mostly feel this with their girl friends? I mean, I see in TV and movies how guys have a hard time adjusting when their “brahs” get hitched, but I’m finding in my situation that the digs and comments about weddings are coming from friends who happen to be girls.

      • Liz

        I think there’s more of a cultural message telling women that they’re undesirable (or not valuable) if they’re not married by a certain point. I don’t think guys are sent that message at all, so there’s not going to be the same subconscious emotional response for them.

        • rys

          This. At my younger sister’s wedding, multiple people said to my mother, “Wow, rys looks great. Why isn’t she married?” My mom emphasized the first half and took it as a compliment. I heard the second half and felt hurt — am I not an interesting/valuable/worthy enough person as the single lady I am?

          It’s often less jealousy per se and more feeling left behind. Up through college,most friends are operating on similar timetables for milestones, but post-college this changes. And when your friends are getting married and having kids and you’re not, it’s easy to feel lost, sad, and unmoored — even if you’re doing awesome things like working a fabulous job, traveling the world, becoming a doctor. It took my several very long years in my late 20s to be okay with the fact that I’m on my own trajectory and even if no one is publicly celebrating what I do, I’m still doing good stuff and have milestones of my own. It’s also why I make an extra effort to celebrate non-marriage/kids milestones in my friends’ lives — promotions, birthdays, moves, starting school, passing exams, making the 100th sale, etc — so that everyone gets feted for the things they’ve chosen to pursue.

          • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny-Adventures Along the Way

            I think this is a great point about the divergence of common milestones as people age…. And I think some of the milestones (marriage, kids, education paths) probably have a bigger overall impact on a person’s life and require more effort to bridge across than some of the earlier life milestones.

        • SomeOther Hilary

          Liz, I totally agree that women are given the message that if one is not married or at least to-be-wed by a certain age, value judgments are often made. Being thirty and neither married nor to-be-wed, I know I’ve gotten the “What’s wrong, why aren’t you married yet? Where are your kids? Why isn’t your life following our dominant yet outdated cultural narrative because that makes me uncomfortable?” questions. In speaking with my SO about it, though, apparently guys get the judgment too. As Ms. Woolf over at GirlsGoneChild has been known to say, “I judge you judge we all judge for judge-judge”.
          While men don’t often/always wear outward signs of their relationship status, he did tell me that there is a similar set of responses for Dudes — if one has not found a mate by a Certain Age (apparently having nothing to do with that individual or his life choices or goals) it is often assumed that one is a) a filanderer; b) emotionally or physically broken or inadequate, or c) incapable of finding a partner who will “have” him.

          I didn’t know that guys also got the “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” judgements, clearly based in the same insecurities that fuel OUR “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” messages until he told me! Another single male friend recently divulged that being a single dude comes with a lot of judgment too — something I never considered. He regularly gets unsolicited advice from other men about how to land dates and casual sex while he’s looking for The One, as though being Just Single and Searching is something embarrassing and to be avoided. I keep telling him, No girlfriend beats the Wrong Girlfriend any day of the week but he said, “Hil! You don’t understand. I agree with you, but men get really uncomfortable with a guy who is ok not scoring with Randoms thrice weekly until he somehow stumbles upon the Right Girl.”

          Eyes? Opened. Compassion meter at maximum.

          • MDBethann

            Only catch is, it can be harder to attract the “right girl” if you’re constantly hooking up with random girls. I wonder if guys realize that?

          • Not Sarah

            @mdbethann Agreed. I remember going on a few dates with someone a few years ago and not being comfortable going on more with him because I felt that he was not interested in a relationship. Next girl he went on dates with? They’ve now been together for over three and a half years and are planning on getting married.

      • Megan (from Nova Scotia)

        I can see both sides of this. Before I met my SO, I was terribly lonely, and seeing my friends being all coupled up could be painful. However, I felt joyful because they found such awesome people to spend their lives with. I had already talked to one of my girlfriends about how I was looking out for someone to build a family with, and that I felt really alone. She was so great about it, and made a huge effort to spend time with me, and sometimes include me in things she and her SO were doing. However, the best thing they did was sit down and tell me that I had to let them know if there were being a little too overt in their affection for one another, and that I could tell them to cut it out for a while if I was finding it painful. I never had to, but it was great to know they cared about me that much.

        That being said, I never would have brought it up first, and it certainly didn’t hinder the joy I felt for my friends when they fell in love with awesome people. I had a friend who couldn’t just be happy for her friends, and she was very bitter about still being single. It sounds like your friend is like that, and I’m sorry, it’s very painful when someone can’t be happy for you.

    • Ambi

      The point about jealousy is a good one. And I think it is really fitting that we talk about it during taboo week. My sister-in-law is engaged, and her very best friend since childhood is making her completely miserable instead of being happy for her. They have been on parallel tracks in life for so long, and now that my sis is moving in different direction, or at least moving at a different pace, her friend has, to put it bluntly, completely turned on her. She is critical of my SIL’s fiance, of her wedding plans, of her decision to move to his city and take an exciting new job there, of their plans to have children soon, etc. – This last weekend my SIL took her bridesmaids dress shopping, including this friend who is maid of honor, and my sis ended up spending the entire day crying because her friend was so judgmental and harsh about everything. When her mom and I talked to her about it, we finally got her to see that, while it isn’t any excuse for her behavior, her friend was very likely feeling jealous and scared about the future. Her best friend was leaving (in a very real sense – she is moving), and her life is suddenly changing in huge ways. There is now someone else that my SIL calls first with big news and with whom she spends most of her free time. And, more than that, my SIL’s friend has always been anxious about getting married – she really wants to be part of a couple, to get married, to have children, and it just hasn’t happened for her yet. Now, in a relatively short period of time, my SIL seems to be getting everything her friend so desperately wants. And rather than being happy for her, her friend is reacting with frustration and anger and lashing out at my SIL.

      All of this is to say that “jealousy” has become a taboo – no one ever wants to accuse someone else of being jealous of them. But it is a reality. And I think that if we look at jealousy with the same compassion and understanding that we look at, say, fear of commitment or other emotional issues, it would help people get through issues like this. I wish there was a way for my SIL to talk to her friend about it without the word “jealousy” coming up, because it seems like once you put that out there, the entire conversation usually becomes pretty defensive and resentful.

  • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

    I’ve experience the ebb and flow of friendships through the transitions of college and moving 1100 miles away from all my closest friends. One of the major factors in how close contact I have with everyone is how we kept in touch while we were still living in the same place. For example, my college best friend and I established at the very first Christmas break a habit of long email exchanges to stay in touch, which continues even when she’s now in vet school in the East and I’m in the Midwest. However, the friends that I mostly kept in touch with by seeing every few days or every weekend, I don’t have as close contact with anymore, because our pattern of communication relied on geography.

    Even so, whether I talk to my dearest friends on a regular basis or only every few months, every time we get together, we just gab away and it still feels completely comfortable. My mom taught me that in her relationships with her college friends who scattered after school. If you spend all your time apologizing for not keeping in touch, you never get around to the fun stuff. They always had the attitude of “Everyone is busy with very full lives. It’s not personal, we still love and know each other. Just break out the booze and roll.”

    After a painful falling out with my high school best friend in my freshman year, I slowly came to accept that she’s not a terrible person, and neither am I. Our friendship served an important purpose in both our lives, but then we moved down separate paths. That whole “friends are there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime” saying is true, despite the sappiness. I’m always a little surprised when friends from high school invite me to their weddings when we haven’t spoken in years and I barely know them (much less their spouse) anymore.

    I would tell Anonymous, if you really want to be in touch with these people, just reach out! Extend the olive branch yourself first and make a renewed commitment to the friendship. Maybe that extra effort will be enough, maybe the relationship will still fall through. But you have to decide if its worth the work. Good luck!

  • Marcela

    This makes me sad…the person I thought was my best friend disappeared from my life this year, when I needed her the most due to some issues we are facing with our children, for no apparent reason. It hurts deeply, maybe even more so because it was unexpected…

  • anonymous

    Yes to everything.
    We had a REALLY difficult time when we first got married, things were very shaky and there was a lot to deal with. Out of sheer will for our marriage to survive I neglected some friendships. It’s complicated, like Liz said there are different seasons in life, my season didn’t really line up with any of my friends seasons and I was embarrassed about all the difficulty we were having. It can be lonely, but the trick is to not isolate yourself. Just know that you are not alone in this issue.

  • L

    This is really interesting – the post, the response, and the comments below.

    To put a twist on the scenario, I’ve been having a difficult time coming to terms with this in my pre-marriage days. There are some friends who I was so close with growing up, but now we lead very separate lives (in different states!). I always go out of my way to stay in touch (even if it’s only to send a birthday card annually or send a text when something reminds me of them), but as my fiance and I are figuring out our bridal party and guest list for our wedding, I’ve been having a very difficult time figuring out how -and where- to draw the line.

    Although many of these friendships have run their natural course and I feel like there are no hard feelings, I’m worried that by not inviting them to our wedding or not including (one in particular) in my bridal party, it would be somehow hurtful.

    We’re trying to have a small (~100-115 people), intimate wedding (which has now turned into a guest list of 160!) and I just can’t figure out whether or not excluding them from the wedding will result in hurt feelings… and as people who have been really important at one point in my life, that’s the last thing I want to do.

    Any thoughts from the wise APW community out there?

    • Steph

      I’ve lost contact (despite efforts to KIT) with one of my (10) bridesmaids.
      (Disclaimer: we had a large wedding and a large wedding party) but even so I have no regrets about including her in our wedding party. It was very important to me to have the women who were important to me during each of the stages of my life (high school college grad school etc) and she was one of those people. Even though we last touch after the wedding I’m still glad she was a part of our day.

      Just my experience, but wanted to share in case it was helpful :)

    • Kara

      I guess (to me) it’s about whether you’d like them to be there or not (not necessarily about whether or not they can come). I invited two of those “growing up” friends. Neither wound up being able to come (they live in the Midwest and have little kids–who we had not invited) and I’m on the east coast. But…both were, I think, touched by the invitation and it was an acknowledgement on both our sides of the importance of those friendships, whatever they look like right now now.

      I should say that we gave up on capping our guest list at some point (was a bit of a destination wedding for most of our friends/family so we figured we were ok), so had about 50% attendance rate of our 300 invitees (we decided we were ok up to about 220 people and if it were fewer, we could add some more “stuff”). So…it may be different in your case.

      • Liz

        We also didn’t limit the guest list, which worked for us (but isn’t always the best choice financially, depending). I was really happy to be inclusive of everyone and let them choose for themselves if they wanted to come or not.

        My hope is that a lot of grown ups realize that lots of wedding decisions eventually come down to logistics and practicality. So, if you need to cut off the list someplace and they don’t make the cut, my hope is they’ll know it’s not a Statement about your friendship. Meaning, yeah. Sometimes there are hurt feelings as a result. But no, whether or not someone is invited to your wedding isn’t a friendship test or necessarily a defining moment or anything.

      • JenMcC

        I just wanted to say that it’s really good to hear that you gave up on capping your guest list, invited 300 people and about half came. My fiance and I are struggling with the size of our wedding because we want both for it to be small enough that we can interact with everyone and for it to be inclusive of the many people in our lives we love. I would kind of love it if we could just invite everyone and about half of them came. I don’t know if that’s a terrible thing to think or not, but it would serve the dual benefit of allowing us to acknowledge to people how much we care for them but not have to interact with 300 people on one day.

        • Laura

          Just beware–we invited (slightly more) than we were comfortable with, expecting the average 10-20% to RSVP “No”. So far, that hasn’t been happening–we’re getting much more “Yes!” responses than we’d anticipated. Which is GREAT. But also a bit of a financial stress.

          So basically, just consider carefully :)

          • JenMcC

            Thank you. That’s what I figure we’ll have to do – consider carefully. I just like the idea of getting to be all free-form and carefree about it all.

        • B

          My husband and I faced a similar problem – we were trying to invite everyone we valued while also being able to interact with everyone and it seemed impossible for us to do both things at once. We found a compromise which worked for us, although I know it wouldn’t suit everyone.

          Basically we asked everyone we wanted (within reason!) to the ceremony and then a stand up, light lunch reception, both of which were held in a big barn. We had speeches at the lunch etc, so it was an “official” reception, but the cost per head was very low. We then went away and had pictures and then had a fancy, sit-down dinner with 30 of our immediate family, bridal party and very closest friends. We couldn’t have afforded to feed 100 people like this, but 30 people was fine. It made for an extremely long day, but it meant we could include everyone we wanted while also spending the most time with the people that were closest to us.

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      As far as the wedding party goes, I like the Team APW idea of having a bridal brigade instead of or in addition to your bridal party. That way if someone is not designated “bridesmaid,” they can still be included by getting ready with you or helping in some other way.

      As far as attendees, you can only control your own actions, not other’s perceptions of them.

      • Amy March

        Ugh, I know people like this, but if you don’t want me to be a bridesmaid, I actually don’t want to help with your wedding. I just want to enjoy it, gift in hand.

  • EE

    I felt like my friends, parents, and pretty much everyone I was close with other than my husband were leaving me out the first few months after my wedding. Turns out a lot of people are just overly conscientious about giving newlyweds some space and time to recover from the hectic months leading up to the wedding and also assume that all newlyweds want to live in their own little love bubble. I found that once I started reaching out, everyone came right back and most of these relationships hadn’t changed a bit. So, throw a party! Invite a group of friends or even just a couple friends over for dinner! Organize a happy hour or hiking trip! I think in general you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    On the other hand, I do realize it’s natural for people to drift and some friendships are not worth saving. Like Liz said, put the effort into the ones you truly care about, and the likelihood is that those friends will make an effort, too.

  • Raakel

    I have also been thinking about this a lot recently, particularly as our wedding gets closer (just four more weeks!). What I am surprised by is just how bummed I’ve felt when old friends have sent in their regrets. I think I had hoped that, by coming to our wedding, those friends would have new shared experience with me again and our waning friendship might be rekindled. I realize this was probably foolish of me.

    I also wanted to mention that through Facebook I have probably held on to some friendships much longer than I would have had we been left to our own devices. And unfortunately, the contact I maintain through Facebook mostly feels superficial to me and in some ways just prolongs the process of growing apart.

    • One More Sara

      I FEEL THE SAME THING! I know that some of my friendships have run their course, but due to the ease of communicating online (especially g-chat), I feel like these relationships are just grasping at straws. If we didn’t have the internet, I don’t think I would still talk to these people, and I’m okay with that. But it’s really weird when you can barely hold a conversation with someone you used to consider a best friend.

      • A Single Sarah

        THIS! I didn’t sign up for FB for the LONGEST time because I saw it as life support for friendships. I moved a lot growing up and kinda learned to accept that my bff in one place might not be a friend 5 years after I moved. (Not always the case. My sister is still friends with her best friends from first grade. Keepers stick around.) There’s often ebb and flow of people’s role in my life and my role in theirs. What’s valuable to me is recognizing who I can renew that friendship with easily and acknowledging that some great friendships now feel awkward. (Note. That doesn’t mean they’re not invited to my make-believe wedding.)

  • amandanoel

    OK, this was it. this was the post that has triggered my need to write a submission for this site. thank you.

  • Jashshea

    I suppose I was lucky (?) that most of my friends went in a million different directions after college. That, coupled with how easy it is to stay in touch with people now (email, FB, Twitter, CELL PHONES THAT HAVE FREE LONG DISTANCE*), sort of forced our hand on having mini-reunions whenever we could – Annual big reunions when we were still all young and childfree, now we do that about every other year.

    It was slightly different for my HS crowd – they were all within 5 miles for a long time into our adulthood. We were able to forge our own identities, but we got to do it together. That made the transitions much easier to handle, as they married off/had kids or went about their own plans.

    One thing that’s been tough for me is maintaining friendships with my male friends as they (and I) have coupled off. I have one particular friend who was a close friend in HS, went to college on the same street (Boston is like that), and we were able to maintain a very close friendship through our 20s until he met his current wife. I don’t blame her, to be clear. It just totally changes the dynamic of our friendship for some reason.

    *I realize that by highlighting this I’m totally dating myself, but you young bucks have no idea what it was like to NOT talk to friends in different cities because you didn’t have the cash that month.

    • A Single Sarah

      Also, in the vein of old school correspondence, snail mail. Letters are great! Postcards that say I’m thinking of you. I think I should go buy some stamps….

      • Jashshea

        Yes! When my HS bestie had her first son, I would send him postcards from everywhere I went (even if it was a lameo business trip hotel postcard). I don’t know when or why that stopped. Maybe time to rekindle that, now that he can read and all. :)

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny-Adventures Along the Way

        I like postcards too! I just sent a stack of them to people while on a recent trip and my husband thought I was crazy to write actual snail-mail postcards to people. I told him I enjoyed getting mail and figured a lot of other people probably did too. :)

    • Not Sarah

      I have lost a lot of friends due to the gender phenomenon, which has finally led to me starting to develop friendships with women…at 23 (now 24). I just get along better with men, so that always worked better, until we started seriously coupling up / got older. Sigh. Sometimes it has been my choice, sometimes theirs, but it still sucks.

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny-Adventures Along the Way

    I wonder how much of the friendships dissolving after a wedding is more related to the timing of when the wedding happens in a person’s life? I have a friend that got married about a year after graduating college and has lost touch with about half or more of her bridesmaids. She might have assumed it had to do with the wedding (or not haven chosen her bridesmaids well enough or something), but I wonder if it just wasn’t due to the changes that happen in those years naturally when you graduate college and switch to the working world. I moved internationally right before we got married (which was in my early 30s), and I know that had a big impact on how frequently I communicate with my friends in my previous town (obviously), though my closest and most long-term friends have remained constant, despite distance. But these friendships have survived despite distance since college, and a few international and regional moves, so they had already passed the test of whether or not our friendship could survive us not being in physical proximity. I guess moving a lot probably speeds up the process of realizing which friends are long-long-term friends. But moving, changing jobs, having a kid, or tons of factors often happen around the same time as a wedding, and contribute to big changes in relationships. And sometimes it’s just hard to figure out exactly why things change in the ways they change…

    That said, I do think that weddings themselves can also bring changes, by highlighting or revealing differences that might not have already been discovered. And I agree that some people can end up jealous and pull away, or some people feel like they should give newlyweds “space” and pull away, out of what they feel is consideration for the couple’s needs….

    An interesting thing to think about, and something you don’t hear tons of discussion about, so thanks for bringing it up.

    • Jashshea

      Great point (and what I fumbled around, but didn’t actually say above). I’m 12 years from college, so the drift has already happened. There’s no bad feelings, just some people aren’t your close friends anymore. If I’d gotten married then, maybe I would have had 10 bridesmaids and maybe the same thing would have happened – there’s no way of knowing. My way of dealing with it for my wedding is having my brother stand up with me. He’ll always be my brother, even if we aren’t super besties.

    • miriam

      I think a lot of it is timing. I started graduate school right after getting married (and moved to a new state after getting engaged). I’m so busy with school that I’m not really able to travel to see those friends as often as I would have before. I did have one friend comment about me becoming an old married person who never does anything fun anymore. It was annoying to have someone to equate me with that stereotype when I was just so overwhelmed with grad school. I just try not to take this stuff personally and realize its part of life. We only have time for so much in a day!

  • http://minnesota-chic.com PA

    I think there is both a (real) subtle shift in priorities as one looks towards marriage, and some perceived (maybe not real) shift in priorities and lifestyle that is just attributed to married and engaged couples. Building a baby family takes a lot of emotional energy, both before and after marriage, and it’s possible–nay, probable!–that your focus has been there. And that’s Good. But if you’re feeling isolated from your friends, that’s a sign that the balance is a bit off for you!

    I know I sound like a broken record, I always suggest talking to people, but honestly, it almost always seems to me to be a good, quick way of clearing things up! (Especially because it may be that everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move, and getting more and more dejected in the meantime.) Be honest, focus on what’s true for you: “I miss you a lot. I miss how we used to [go get coffee/have lunch together on Saturdays/go see superhero movies together/do craft projects]. Could we do that again soon? I’m free _______.”

    Good luck, and I agree that it’s really tough – our wedding is in October and already we’re seeing the drift!

  • Victwa

    I think I’ve said this in a previous comment, but I had one friend where being in her wedding was the thing that made me really reconsider our friendship. Our friendship has definitely shifted since her wedding– from my part because I felt like I found out more about the way she apparently saw me and what she expected me to be like. For me, that whole experience was enough to make me pull back from the friendship and strongly reconsider the amount of effort I put forth in the relationship. Not to imply that it’s anything that Anonymous did– I agree with everyone’s comments that there are lots of reasons that friendships can shift and change over time, but in my case, the experience of being in my friend’s wedding showed me a side of her that I was not so keen on.

    • meg

      This can happen too, just because weddings bring personal values to the surface and sometimes people look at that, get a grasp on what the real values at play are, and realize you’re not actually a match as friends. Painful, but possibly important in the long run?

      • Marie

        I agree with most other comments in this thread, but this one relates to my experience the most. Both times I’ve been involved in a wedding and have drifted away from the bride, it was due to realizing what they thought of me and their “real” personalities.

        The short version is one bride asked me to help plan but didn’t want me to be present at the wedding (her mother invited me as a “courtesy,” I didn’t even get a picture with the bride). The second bride turned out to be a pathological liar, something we bridesmaids figured out while comparing stories (something like: “wait, you met in high school? I thought she went to Germany for high school” “no, wait, she told me she went to high school in LA” repeat ad nauseum, literally).

        It was pretty terrible, as both of these people had been my best friends at different points in my life. But their weddings allowed me to see what they thought of me (as a planning tool or someone to manipulate, respectively), and that allowed me to let those friendships fade without much guilt.

        Meg, I think you’re right, weddings publicly display a lot of personal stuff, and that can be a hard pill to swallow, especially if you find out your friendship isn’t as compatible/important as you thought it was. But I’m thankful I had those hard experiences, because now I don’t allow those toxic people into my life. So I vote, yes, it’s better to know in the long run, even if it hurts like the dickens in the moment.

  • Ambi

    My boyfriend’s mom (who can be completely bat shit sometimes, but who also has moments of complete brilliance when it comes to giving relationship and life advice – I’ve learned that, much to my frustration, she is usually right about these things), has been after my boyfriend and me to expand our social circle and make new friends for several years now. We happen to have a very close-knit, fairly small group of mutual friends, and this group tends to make up about 90% of our social life – we cook out with them most weekends, go to dinner and football games and camping trips and vacations together. We lean on each other when we’re dealing with difficult things. For the most part, it has been really really wonderful. When one couple in the group went through extremely serious issues in their marriage (infidelity, moving out, serious talk of divorce), they were both fully able to remain close friends with everyone in this group, and I would go so far as to say that our group’s encouragement, support, and quite frankly pressure for them to work on their relationship, go to counseling, and be civil and kind to each other probably went a long way in helping them heal their marriage. This group of friends has stayed intact through marriages and through children (my boyfriend and I are the only couple unmarried and the only ones without kids. Most of the other couples have now had their second child). So we have always felt very strong and secure in our friendships – these people are our best friends, as close to us as family. But my guy’s mother has been counseling us, very strongly, for years, to branch out, make new friends, make an effort to have cookouts and dinners and camping trips with new people. Why? Because she and her husband have a group of friends that they love like family . . . and those people are not the same people that they were very best friends with 35 years ago when they got married. She has told me several times that they too had one core group of friends that they thought of as family, and that they all had children around the same time and raised them together and saw each other through the deaths of parents and other huge life events. But, over time, things happened, and they drifted apart. Divorces caused rifts in the friendships that, as much as they tried, they just couldn’t get past. Moves took other people away. And more than that, as they grew and matured, they just became different people – they had less and less in common, and began to develop strong differences about issues such as parenting styles, politics, religion, money, etc. My boyfriend’s mom talks about how difficult all of these transitions were, and how she wants us to protect ourselves by not putting all of our eggs in one basket; we need to have several different groups of friends, so that as life changes things, we will always have people. I think this is pretty good advice, but I also think it may be helpful for the original poster because it drives home the point that friendships just change over time and often fade for reasons outside of your control, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. I think it can be a part of life, part of the cycle of growing and maturing and aging. My guy’s mom is sad that she is no longer close with her college roommate, but at the same time, her friends now have so much more in common with her than her old roommate would, and she loves having them in her life. I understand that this thought is sad and uncomfortable (I definitely don’t like thinking about growing apart from my best friends now), but the important thing to remember is that while you grow apart from some friends, you grow closer with others.

    • Jashshea

      I see this reflected in my parents friends as well (and the friends that they’ve asked me to invite to the wedding, specifically). They have a core group of about 4-6 couples that they regularly hang out with – some they’ve known since I was little, some they’ve recently gotten to know better. Not one of those people was at their wedding or around for our births or anything. Those people (including my mom’s MOH and my god parents) are not-quite-completely out of their lives. They’ve definitely had phase friends – high school friends who were in their wedding and around for their early 20s, followed by “other people with babies the same age,” followed by “parents of my kid’s friends,” and finally the latest group who support each other through empty nesting/loss of parents, etc and go on fancy vacations together b/c they’re all in the same financial/life situation. Definitely interesting to think about.

    • http://arduousblog.com ruchi

      Hmm. I’m not so sure how I feel about this. I mean, should I be perusing Monster.com each day (or each week) because someday I might want a new job? Should I go to bars and flirt with other guys because one day my marriage might possibly break up? Should I buy clothes that are three sizes bigger or smaller than the ones I wear now because one day I might need them?

      No. That would be ridiculous. So why would friendships be so different?

      I, like you, am blessed with an extremely tight-knit group of friends. I do almost everything with this group. Sure, I have a few friends outside the group, I have work friends, I have some younger friends who come in handy when I want to go to a bar and party (my tight-knit group is mostly my age with babies), I have old family friends, I have long distance friends … I’m an extrovert so I can handle a lot of friends, but for the most part this one group is the majority of my social interactions.

      And I think that’s totally fine. It sounds like you completely and totally love your friends, that they are like family, that you feel like you can totally depend on them. That’s so great! And I feel the same way about my friends.

      Now, do families (including families of friends) fall apart? Sure. But you can’t go through life EXPECTING them to or WAITING for the other shoe to fall.

      The reality of life is we have limited time. Between our relationships with our partners, our jobs, the errands we have to run, the comments we have to post on APW (hah!), there is only so much time left in the day to devote to getting coffee with a friend or going for a walk or having a cookout. And I guess my feeling is, for me anyway, it is more worth it for me to spend the bulk of that time nurturing the very wonderful relationships I am so lucky to have with my tight knit group. Am I opposed to making new friends? No. Do I make an effort to get to know other people who seem cool? Sure. But I have to be honest, I’m not trying to make more BFFs. I already have about as many as I can handle (even for an extrovert.) I’d rather expend the time on keeping my BFFs.

      • Ambi

        I agree with you, and the arguments you have just made are the arguments we make back to my boyfriend’s mom, but I think there are two important take-aways from the whole thing:
        1) Expanding your current social circle and developing several different groups of friends doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative in terms of your current friends – it isn’t an end sum game. You can add more friends and keep your old ones, it doesn’t have to mean pulling away from the first group. Here’s what I mean by this: My current friends are not very political. My guy and I are. We kept running into the same people at political fundraisers and events and have struck up a friendship with them. It doesn’t mean we spend any less time with our old friends, it is just a new, additional group of people to socialize with as well.
        2) I posted the comment really to offer the original writer some comfort in the fact that, at 60+, my boyfriend’s mom has a very tight group of friends she absolutely cherishes and which make her very happy. And these people aren’t the people that were her closest friends when she got married. So there is hope – just because things change, it doesn’t have to mean you are losing something – you are also gaining something. And, I think a lot of people would argue that the ebb and flow of friendships over a lifetime can be a very natural part of aging, so the original writer doesn’t have to look at this as anyone’s fault.

        But, I agree with you RUCHI, if you love your friends now, are happy, and everything is working, there is no reason to change anything. I just think people should know in advance that these things can and do happen, so that if it does happen to you, maybe you won’t be quite as upset by it. And I do believe that, even when we have a wonderful group of friends that are as important to us as family, there is nothing wrong with branching out and continuing to meet new people and develop new friendships as well.

        • Ambi

          Just to add another example – my BFFs and I are in a book club. A few years ago, when my boyfriend and I first started looking for a house, we met our realtor. She was smart and funny and just seemed like someone I’d really love to be friends with, so I invited her to join our book club. She did, and now we have become extremely good friends, and she has also formed close friendships with my other BFFs. No one lost anything by bringing her into the group, and now I happen to have a good friend who I relate to in different ways than I do with some of my long-time girlfriends. For example, while my girlfriends and I shared college or law school experiences and our guys are all friends, this girl and I share the fact that neither of us are married yet but we’re in long term living-together relationships. We share a love of running that my other girlfriends don’t. She got me involved in our neighborhood association. Do I still spend most weekends hanging out with my core group of girlfriends? Yep. But it is also nice to have someone to go run with or to commiserate with about the frustrations of waiting on a proposal (yes, I frequently talk about this to my core group of girls too, but it is just different when you are talking about it with someone who is also going through it). The flip side is that my core group of girlfriends have all had children recently, and I think that, if I had not expanded my friendship pool, I probably would have ended up feeling a bit lonely or neglected. Do we spend less time together than we did when we were all single and before they had kids? Yes, absolutely. But we are still best friends, we are still extremely close. It has just worked out really well for all of us, I guess, that we also have other outside friendships. My girlfriends with kids have developed new friendships with other moms. None of these friendships have diminished my relationships with my BFFs, and in some ways I think they’ve helped us all avoid conflicts or problems by giving us other outlets.

          Obviously, everyone is different, and other people may have very different friendships from the ones I share with my core group of girlfriends. This is just what has worked for us.

  • ThisLittleRedCat

    O man! I don’t comment all the much, but this one. This is a big one for me. The timing of my wedding was a really big factor in keeping in touch with the people I was close to on my wedding day. I got married a few months before moving to another continent and while another very close friend was preparing to join the Navy. Our core group of friends openly spoke of our wedding weekend as a kind of last hurrah of an amazing time for an amazing group of people.

    You might think that recognizing how we would be growing apart would make actually separating from people easier, but it really hasn’t it. I know it isn’t anyone’s fault- I live a 25 hour flight and six time zones away from pretty much everyone in my wedding photos, but it still makes me so sad that we are not such important parts of each other’s lives anymore.

    That said, there are ways to keep friendships going. Thank God for the internet. Were it not for Facebook and G-chat I don’t think I would be very good at keeping in touch with any of them and it would really break my heart. I have started trying to do more than just stalk my friends on Facebook- even just an e-mail that says hey! and I’m thinking of you can be a big deal. Facebook can be an incredible tool for staying in touch- or for getting back in touch-it’s a lot easier to write on someone wall than pick up the phone if you haven’t talked in months – or years.

    It has also been important for me to remember that my closest friends have their own lives to lead and they are not just supporting characters in the story of my life. As much as I want them to all stay the same and have the exact same friend groups for me to step back into while I am home to visit, that isn’t really fair. People change and grow and move and do what is best for them. It is still hard and it doesn’t feel good to come home and find that life has gone on without me, even if, I know it had to.

    I still feel that my closest friends will always be solid friends, but I have to accept that that doesn’t mean three hour conversations or drinks after work everyday (or even every month). Grown up relationships are just not as awesome or all-encompassing as youth-ful relationships were. I have friends now that I see and speak to much more often than my closest friends and I think as my life changes you see a lot of your activity partners. The long time buddies may still be there, but not as much as you might what them to be.

    • One More Sara

      “It is still hard and it doesn’t feel good to come home and find that life has gone on without me, even if, I know it had to.”

      THIS! I am also 6 time zones away from most of my friends and family. The hardest part has been not being there to celebrate when friends and sisters reach different milestones (New jobs! New boyfriends! Pregnancy! Babies! Engagements!). The way you said that you had to realize that they aren’t just “supporting characters” in the story of your life is totally what I’ve been struggling with in the 2+ years that I’ve lived here. I’m starting to accept it, but every once in a while I like to throw myself a little pity party and have a good cry about it. And every time, that pity party is just a little bit shorter. Hopefully soon I won’t need pity parties at all.

  • Kay

    This is hitting awfully close to home. A very good friend of mine was married three years ago in September, and I stood up in her wedding. (She’s actually the reason why I started reading this site. She passed it along to me during the planning process and I’ve just kept reading.) We’ve always had the “catch up every few months over really long dinners” friendship and I’ve cherished it. We did spend a lot of time together during the wedding process–most of the other bridesmaids were out of town so I helped out a lot. I expected a certain degree of drop-off after the wedding, and I also understand that they’re building a little family unit. However, I haven’t seen her in more than a year, despite lots of “want to get together?” emails. It is hurtful and it also feels strange. So, I took this post as a sign and emailed her. We’ll see what happens.

    • Halle

      Yes! The hurt and the feeling like, “what’s going on here?”
      Good luck, I hope it works out for you two.

      • Kay

        Thanks. And good luck to you as well. I hope you can find a way to continue a relationship with your friends. It is scary being honest and expressing what you’re feeling. (It feels high-maintenance, somehow?)

  • Halle

    This was helpful to read, as well as all the comments, since I have experienced this twice from the other side. My closest childhood friend and closest friend from college both disappeared after their weddings (now 8 and 6 years ago). It took a long, long time to get over my fear and hurt and reach out. I’m still not sure what happened, but my college friend and I have been slowly rebuilding and acknowledging the distance is definitely a part of that. I felt like I had very realistic expectations of friendships with people both hundreds or thousands of miles away but I guess sometimes someone grows away from you. This topic brings so much sadness, but it’s a good reminder not to make assumptions in situations like these; I had to learn to reach out and express what I was feeling, as scary as it was. Even more so, since these were the two who had been through everything with me.

  • Debi

    Similar to this post I’ve had this idea rolling through my thoughts as my rsvp’s come in, and the wedding rapidly approachs, that weddings are like the transition from high school to college. In the sense that HS friends fade, and you really find out who your ‘true’ friends are and they are the one’s who mutally keep in contact with you throuhout college. Switching gears to the wedding, as rsvp’s come in I find my self asking the same question, who really is supportive and going to be there for us through this next life transition? As life transitions occur it seems as though the universe sorts out those people who will really have your back, and the one’s who are still friends but not as close, and even the family where you realize that even though they’re blood related doesn’t mean they love and support you the way you think they use to or still
    ‘should’… I’m seeing my wedding as a clearing house of where I should expend my energy in keeping in touch with certain friends
    /family post marriage and for future life transitions. It’s a hard reality to lose friends/family, but fondly remembering the good times and seeing what you may have learned from that person can make losing them a little easier.

  • http://www.funnysmartandimportant.blogspot.com Lindsay

    This post has motivated me to send out a few notes to old friends I haven’t talked to in awhile but count them in the “pick up right where we left off” category.

  • eb

    Ugh, this happened literally right after we got back from honeymoon. I couldn’t get people to return my texts, to return my emails–no matter how far I went out of my way they didn’t have time for me. And I tried, really and truly. It was frustrating–I had just spent an ungodly sum of money on these people feeding and entertaining them at my tiny wedding (and several of them didn’t give any gifts–not even a card which honestly is enough because it’s something), and I did this because these people were important to me. They were worth that money, I didn’t think twice about including them. And it hurts not to get that sort of reciprocity. Now it seems like a good chunk of people are going to float out of my life and someday I’ll probably look at wedding photos and struggle to remember who they are.

  • JaM

    This post really struck home for me. I just recently got engaged and even prior to that I started to feel a strain in my relationship with my best friend. Part of it is due to the fact that I’ve been the single girl that could easily adjust my schedule to accommodate my married friends w/ kids availability. However, now I prefer to spend my free time with my FI. We visit our friends but I don’t think its the same for some of them and its been hard for some to adjust. A good friend of mine gave me a term that I now use to describe all the changes called “the new normal”. I have hope that these decade long friendships will last and settle into new expectations but since I’m a relational person these changes have been the hardest for me to adjust too and nothing in comparison to planning a wedding.

  • Lynn

    This has not so much been an issue for me and my friends because I’ve been long-distance and away from those people closest to me for probably 20 years now. We long-ago figured out the ways to best keep in touch and connected.

    However, this has been a hugely painful issue for Pooh, and it started before we married. We moved an hour and a half away, and very few of his best friends have made an effort to stay connected. He is one of those people who must keep trying, must keep making an effort. It is painful to watch his efforts constantly be rejected. He doesn’t understand the concept of drifting away and letting people go, being available if they want to come back. He wants to keep them close, and if he just tries again or tries different, the next time it will stick. It never sticks.

    I’ve shared my thoughts with him, but we have a rather fundamental philosophical difference there.

  • Mrs May

    You know what, we did not invite any friends to our extremely mini-wedding. Now, about a year out, I feel like our social life has blossomed. Like the marriage supports us in our friendships. I did have twinges of guilt not inviting them- some expressed sadness at it- but, they understood that a wedding of that size wasn’t right for us. Its sad, I think, to say, oh, I have committed for life to this one person but my relationships with others are transitory. Yes, they change, they take work and care- as does a marriage- but I really care about having those relationships. Without them I would not be a good wife.
    What this hits on for me is that middle school feeling of, Do they like me?! What did I do?! Which is totally a feeling I have and which is hard to negotiate as an adult. So even though we do see people and I don’t feel isolated- there are folks who I’d like to see more of but I don’t and I wonder if I offended them somehow.

  • Ashley

    I’d like to see a post on the losing of friends before the wedding – namely when friends pass away during your planning. This is something I have had to deal with, and it’s been bizarre to figure out how to move forward without being offensive or stopping in your tracks entirely. I feel as though sudden loss rather than a drawn out medical problem has made this tougher. Anyone have any advice?

  • Laura

    It’s interesting how being engaged or married affects all of your friendships. I have a friend that I met in university and we used to hang out all the time when we were both single girls. Then she got married, I moved overseas, and we saw each other a lot less, but we still made an effort to hang out whenever I was home. It was an example of how friends in different stages of life can really enrich each other when they both work hard to keep the friendship going!

    What I am finding a little awkward is that now I’m engaged…and my friend is going through a really rough divorce. We’re living in the same city now and even though we’re both busy we still make an effort to meet each other regularly. But she hasn’t met my fiancé yet. It’s not that she doesn’t want to meet him, but I know that she doesn’t want to feel like a third wheel because every time I’ve suggested the three of us do something together she has declined. In this case I know it’s just necessary to give her space until she’s feeling better, or maybe to adapt circumstances by inviting her to a group thing where there will be couples and single people. It’s just about knowing where you and your friends stand in life, and making adjustments so everyone feels comfortable.