For a sequence of minor but congruent reasons, my lack of close personal friends has been much on my mind lately. I live a very social life: my job requires constant interaction with others, I am happily married and very close to my husband, and I am also very close to my sibs and my mother. I have close “work friends” that I spend time with at lunch on most workdays. For many, many years, this quotient of socialization and relationships has sufficed me.
Now it doesn’t. I miss having a friend, a true bond of openness and trust and equality with another person. I typed “woman” the first time I wrote that sentence, but it is not clear to me that a friend needs to be a woman. In fact, most of my really close friends in my life have been men. My husband likes to tease me for my tendency to make friends with “little men,” That’s right, I have a physical type for non-romantic friends, which is short, thin men.
That said, I am, for the first time in my life, deeply craving friendship with women. I spent much of my life fearing or avoiding other women due to my social rejection as a child and teen. But now, with all my reading about body liberation, I am becoming cognizant that I missed a lot that way. I am a 42 year old woman who has only ever had one close female friend as an adult, and she lives far away.
But the real question is, how does one obtain a close friend as an adult? Let alone a middle-aged, working adult? I’m working several angles–meetup, the local women’s collective, Bumble BFF of all things–but no signs of success yet. The old ways of meeting people seem all gone and the only people I spend time with in a normal, organically scheduled day are coworkers and my husband. It’s not at all clear to me whether spending time online to try to get leads on friends is a good plan or not. Sometimes it seems like I might be getting real leads that way, other times it seems like I just end up with even more excessive screen time than usual and nothing to show for it but the same few sentences exchanged with random strangers again and again.
I also wonder if I might be hoping for too much, that the kind of deep sisterly bond I crave may be impossible to build at this point in my life. But I am too much of an optimist to completely abandon hope.