An old Jezebel article on the stresses of being perma-single cropped up and got me thinking. I want to set aside the whole “oh noes, I’ll die alone!” thing for a moment and ask people about their experiences with friendships as people mature/age, and also about friendships between single and non-single people.
Many of the responses to the Jezebel post talked about the importance of being happy while single and learning to fill your life with things other than a partner. But the thing is, I’ve found that to be quite tricky. I’m in my early 30s and have always been single with few exceptions. Despite occasional anguish about my single state, I do pretty good on the whole “learn to be by yourself!” thing - after all, that’s what I’m used to. I’m one of those people who will go to dinner, concerts, hobby workshops, roadtrips, etc., alone. And that’s fine, but it does sometimes get to be a drag and makes certain things downright impossible. (How do you rockclimb on your own?) It certainly feels lonely a lot of the time. (To be perfectly honest, a large part of the appeal of going on dates for me is the social interaction/getting to do things with someone.)
The obvious answer would be friends, but I find they’re in short supply. Most of my friends don’t have children, but they are either married or in long-term relationships, and this seems to very much correlate with not being available for activities. (To be clear, I’m okay with them bringing their partners along.) The friends I do stay in regular contact with are all single, and with some of them that seems to be the only thing we have in common. I don’t intend this as a mean comment; I enjoy their company and am very glad to have them in my life, but it’s definitely more of a “well, we’re both in need of a friend” scenario than a “wow, we click so well!” one. Which I’m increasingly realizing is perfectly fine: friendship is becoming more about reliable companionship than a rollercoaster of intense late-night heart-to-hearts.
Anyways, I’m interested in your experiences. Does this drought ease off once people get past the recently-married or newly-in-love stage, or does it get even worse as they fully settle into their routines? If you’ve had a similar issue, how did you cope with it? How have your friendships evolved over years and decades?