Being a grown-up is hard. I so often feel like my parents did a good job of raising me, but I still feel lost, especially when it comes to friendships.
When I was a kid, my dad sang in the church choir, and my mom was my Brownie leader; they had friends from church and in other parents at my school. They had rehearsals and dinner parties, drove carpool and organized neighborhood barbecues in our backyard, where we were the only ones with a pool.
My life now, at nearly 38, is very different from theirs was at this same age. We don’t know our neighbors, unless you count talking to the dad about their kids setting off firecackers in the backyard. My closest friends are sprawled across the world, and I go months and months between visits; we’re more likely to Google Hangout than meet at the local coffee shop. Max has yet to have a hired babysitter; we have local family instead. My parents moved from the East Coast as newlyweds, leaving all of their family behind in Maine and Rhode Island. I can name twenty friends who I have known since junior high or earlier, who I could meet for dinner tonight; many of us stayed local. Even Jamie and I have known each other for more than 25 years; there’s a whole lot of history there, between both us and our closest friends.
My friendships today are formed over text messages and Hangouts, with shared stories and inside jokes. I don’t make friends at PTA meetings at Max’s school, I make them on hashtags and in Facebook groups.
I feel like we’re in uncharted territory when it comes to making and keeping friends.
Internet friends are real, and I rely on them every day, whether I need a recipe for dinner, or a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen. All we can do is try our best to keep these relationships healthy, because we need them to stay healthy and happy every day.
Friendships aren’t the only ones that have changed; marriages and parenthood are also different now than they were for past generations, and the challenges there can be very real as well. I’m not just talking about kids with Snapchat and spouses who are expected to be available to their employer at all hours. As the world changes, so do the ways we interact and connect.
I’d like to invite you to join me at the #Creating Connections Twitter party, on May 14, 2015, at 2pm EST (11am PST). We’ll be talking with Dr. Sue Johnson, bestselling author of Hold Me Tight and Love Sense (2014). She is a clinical psychologist and Distinguished Research Professor at Alliant International University in San Diego, CA. Creator of an effective new model of relationship repair (Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy), she has written numerous articles and trained thousands of therapists around the world. Johnson is a recognized innovator who has changed the field of couples therapy.
We’ll be talking about relationships, learning more about Dr. Johnson’s groundbreaking work in the field, and there are prizes! Woot! They’ll be giving away an iPad Mini, a Norweigian cruise and other awesome things; you need to RSVP in order to be eligible though, so…
What do you think the biggest challenges are in your relationships today? How do you think they are different than the challenges your parents faced?