Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Y'all know I'm a little awkward, right? I am honestly far more coherent in writing than I am in person, and you know even in WRITING I have my awkward moments... (TMI or foot in mouth--it's why I just finally gave in to being naked.)

I have a lot of female friends, but not long ago I realized in PERSON, I had lost my touch somewhere along the line. In high school and college I had a bunch... but I think somewhere around the time I had my first serious boyfriend, that GROUP of girls thing fell apart a little.

My buddies Mike and Brian McMenamin (erm... okay, so I met them)
Every job I've had, I came away with at least one permanent friendship... but not a posse... just the one-at-a-time kind. Real and valuable, but different in quality from the people you goof off with. Probably the last batch of people to sort of be a cluster of friends were from my Microbrewery days (and that was as many or more men than women), but even then, I was sort of peripheral to the group... married and in grad school, new home owner, so just in a different place in life.

I hear stories about my friends and THEIR batches of friends and I wonder if I missed some lesson on how these relationships are formed. I yearn for it sometimes, but I know I am not particularly great at some of the aspects of it, living in my bubble as I do. I'm not the thoughtful one who brings treats, or the helpful one who knows how to do stuff... and heck, I've had obligations up the gazoo for almost 20 years, so I have limited TIME... (excuses excuses)

When we moved to Michigan, I made some friends... largely moms of my kids' friends... For a while I had a batch of neighbors who all had similar ages of kids, but all three women moved, eventually, and you know... NONE of these circles really held me... I was sort of peripherally allowed to participate (That sounds like I'm pouting, but I'm seriously not trying to... I'm trying to be a little analytical); I was never integral.

A HUGE part of that was being the 'working' mom in groups of moms who didn't have to—that speaks to temperament as much as situation. It wasn't that I wasn't home (well, except that that contributed)... it's that I never would have WANTED to be at home (so there was also a lack of understanding). I mean I'd love to write from home for a job, but I could never be a full-time mom. I adore my kids, but remember, sometimes I forget I have them (far better their DAD was the one who spent some years at home). I am an only child—self-centered at times, and in my own head MOST of the time.

Oliver in the leaves: Oliver's person is one of our posse.
But a funny thing has happened. This fitness thing... the Couch to Keg... the exercise... has reminded me that MOST of life doesn't NEED to have much in common if you have a common activity and a lot of laughing.

What is NEEDED is the regular time spent together—invested in getting to know each other better, and if you are working on something together, there is a reason to do that. Our posse of three becomes a posse of 4 tonight... I am second oldest... two of us are moms but the other has LITTLE kids. The other two are single. We have disparate eating habits and politics (though all enjoy a cocktail now and again) but MAN, do we laugh a lot.

And you know what? It's really fun to have a group of women I hang out with in real time. I'm sure it's the first time since my mom's group when Tartlet the First was little (a group I was pretty peripheral on, now that I mention it—owing to being employed... erm... and awkward.)

The Burrowers Beering in Wales (some of my FAVORITE people)
My online friendships are AMAZING. I have so many fabulous people I adore, but this has been nice remembering how nice it is to hang out with women in real time again...

What it's done for my commitment to getting back in shape is huge. I know I would have quit by now, had I tried this alone. But what it's done for beginning to rebalance me is bigger. So thank you ladies! You're the best!


Trisha said...

I seem to have 'acquired' different groups of friends. A very small number are from high school, but they have added new people to the 'posse', and in some cases I have added new people (friends met through work, etc.) to theirs.

I am in touch with people from one of my former jobs, but mostly on Facebook. I guess once that period of our lives was over, we all sort of drifted apart. But Facebook is useful for staying in touch with people like that, I guess.

Then there is a crew I spent a few years partying with, who I only see occasionally now. They're the fun 'go out to a gig with them' group. There are some 'groups' that have been whittled down to just one remaining 'friend', but when I think about those, I was probably only 'close' friends with that one person in the first place. The rest were more like acquaintances.

I Must Be Off said...

A lot of laughing is so important. Great post, Tartalicious!

Christine Murray said...

I'm really bad at the whole 'group of friends' thing. I'm a natural introvert, awkward in social situations, and I live in my imagination most of the time. My New Year's Resolution this year is to take up a hobby where I meet more people.

Nice post. Glad to know I'm not the only one to struggle with things.

M.J. Nicholls said...

Amazing post. It's always a mystery to me, snaring and keeping friends. I've never been good at it. It's too much work in real time, online friends are easier. BTW, Your friend Mike looks like Nicholson Baker. You two should have a literary chat.

Jan Morrison said...

I have a whack of girl friends. And I don't forget the preciousness of that for one moment. I have my best pal, and my other best pal, both of whom are my partners in my murder biz. We've been hangin' for 35 years. yes. And then I have The Canadian Babes - we're a bunch of boooodhists who found we were spending a lot of time together back about 25 years ago. Why Canadian? Because, especially in the early years, most of the local Buddhists were American, here in the True North. And I've got the Tartlettes - oh, I know you thought you were the only one - but that is a psychotherapy group that I used to teach and now we're a peer group.(Transactional Analysis Remedial Training) Women save my head. They just do.

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Because my groups don't mix they don't seem to believe the others exist. If I can't be found and I say I was off with others it written off as I am "lost in my imaginary world" as one friend put it.
Several times they have mixed at my home but still they don't seem to recognize each other as my friends. :0)

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I'm not a good friend and yet I have many friends. I wouldn't be my friend. :)


Hart Johnson said...

Trisha-sounds like you've still got some great circles! Don't lost touch with them!

Chris-that laughing IS important, isn't it?

Christine-I'm relieved to not be alone in this! But it is worth the effort.

Mark-I think you'd be GREAT to hang out with--your dry humor would keep me laughing.

Jan-you are GREAT at this friendship stuff--you have the skills, but also know how important it is, so you don't take it for granted.

Mary-oh, that's too funny! separate circles of imaginary friends! teehee

Teresa-Oh, I bet you are. I think you may have the introverted writer thing, too, but I bet you are great.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think I'm a tough person to have as a friend! I have a few and some have stuck with me for most of my life. Here in town my friends are mostly my children's friends' mothers. :)

Old Kitty said...

Yay for your great group of most NAKED girlfriends!!! Take care

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Hart, what a wonderful post! You put it all so well. Right now I only have one girlfriend in town, and am always so happy when we see each other in person. Mostly we talk on the phone or comment on our FB posts. I do appreciate FB for pulling in all of my women friends together into one convenient spot for me. I see the ones I really spent time with, worked with, etc.

I am very happy for you that you have a fun group of ladies to do things with. What a blessing; they look like a happy bunch.

Take care,

Kathy M.

Johanna Garth said...

I've been wondering if the older we get the harder it is to make new friends. Although I have a great group sometimes I worry that I don't do much to branch out. This is where blogging seems to fill a natural void. Hooray for you for branching out in real life!

Dawn Ius said...

Love this post! And a reminder of how much I love my girlfriends :-)

Carol Riggs said...

Good for you, connecting in real time with friends. Most of my friends are online (the writer ones), and that's why twice a year I REALLY enjoy going to my local/Oregon SCBWI conferences, and chat with them in real time. It's lovely!!

Sarah Ahiers said...

i used to have a lot of friends, but most of them have moved away and lately i really only find myself with two good friends. Sometimes i really miss the large amount of friends i used to have and keeping hoping most of them will move home

Laura said...

See, I never held a group of friends either. I have a tendency to be a very couple-orientated person and devote a lot of time to spending time with my other half... though he really is my best friend and we laugh... a lot. But sometimes I miss that mad group female vibe. I know what you mean. I often envy groups that are close from an early age, and maintain it

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We need friends and connections in all areas of life - some more at different times. And don't worry, I've never had a big bunch of friends I spent time with. I like the one on one or couple on couple better.

Shelly said...

I really enjoyed this post. Reminds me to be grateful for my friends!

Unknown said...

thanks for this post....I've been a little pouty about not having ANY friends - which is not true, but I have been craving that wild women group thing lately...even though I stay in my head and too busy most of the time. "Wanting" is at least a good first step. :)