July 24, 2012

Can you have a BFF after 30?

Ever since I left my home town of Victoria, BC (over 6 years ago), I have been struggling with finding a few girlfriends to hang with. I was fortunate enough to have a strong social network in Vic that included professional women of varying walks of life. I treasured our Friday afternoon drinks and monthly movies. I appreciated that no matter how busy our lives became, we always found time during the month / week to meet up (I think we were completely influenced by Sex and the City - both good and bad). At any rate, when I left town to move in with my fiance up island, I had no idea I would be saying good bye to all that. I firmly believed we had a bond strong enough to withstand a few hundred miles.....boy, was I wrong.

It's been 6 years and I am still searching for "the one". I have joined professional women's networks and kayak clubs. I have risked the "first date" coffee with a few I met in fitness classes. But, in the end, I never felt we clicked. Many times I would get caught up in the excitement of someone new only to find she's completely my opposite or talks way more than she listens (my biggest pet peeve...besides the phrase pet peeve).  Sounds like I'm dating right? In a way it is totally like dating. I think there should be an online site for women seeking women for friendship. As IF that wouldn't be a huge success!

Why is it so hard to meet friends as you get older? Is it that our lives change so much we barely have time to eat much less find a buddy to have martinis with? Unfortunately, when life delivers a bitch slap (perhaps a divorce, maybe bankruptcy, or chronic illness) friends are important for healing and support. Without them, in my opinion, you are not as strong or as healthy...life isn't as colorful.

Last month, I met the most wonderful woman. I had heard of her practice in the valley ever since I arrived and was always told, "I should meet E" and that "we are so much alike". Finally, I had the priviledge of having lunch with her and, like one of those really amazing first dates, we couldn't stop talking. We talked for three hours without notice. We shared a passion for our professions (both in the helping profession), writing, presenting, academics, and shared stories of our attempts to make friends in a small town. I think I'm in love....but I can't rush things. I have to be patient and wait to call her again. But I think this might be "the one".

At any rate, friendships are important (whether you are male or female). The research suggests that even one connection with another person will enhance health by strengthening your immune system, lowering your blood pressure, and the like. Yes, your spouse can provide friendship, but it isn't fair to them or you if they are your everything. We need people we can talk to when this relationship is strained. We need networks of people, not just one. Someone who listens as much as they talk, challenges you when you need it, supports you when you fall, and doesn't judge you when you make mistakes. Someone we resonate with.

I also believe if you find her (speaking from a woman's point of view) and you cultivate a lasting friendship that is deep, connected, and honest, you have won the lottery! The challenge is, for a women over 30 working, married, and with kids (for example), it is an effort to make these frienships. You have to put in time...just like dating. Joining clubs, groups, gyms, or volunteering will introduce you to many people. And as with dating, you must be patient. Unfortunately, it won't ever be as easy as in Kindergarten when you (or maybe it was just me) could go up to a strange kid and say, "Hi, my name is Kathi! Wanna play?"...I wish it was.

I firmly believe, to find romance or friendship, one must live the life they love first and not wait until they have found "the one" to do the things they want to do. Do what you enjoy and you will meet the people that can enjoy it with you.

Now I must go and give my new BFF a call...or should I wait a couple of days?


1 comment:

  1. PS. I did find "the one" with E. It took a few years, but I can now call her a good friend and do have tea with her once a month or so. She even came to my wedding. When it happens you feel so lucky to have found them.