I don't consider myself to be a terribly outgoing person, but in high school and college, I had more friends than I knew what to do with. I see these people on Facebook or at random reunions, and while I can't remember what on earth we had in common, I recall we used to be great friends. There was one girl in high school who I considered a good friend, and I'm fairly sure the entire basis of our friendship was that we both watched Melrose Place.
In medical school, it was a little harder, but I still had a group of close friends. In residency, even though I had friends that I used to talk to a lot while at work (I am very chatty, as you may have guessed), I hardly ever socialized outside of work. Between my residency hours and having a baby, I just couldn't find the time or the motivation.
And now I'm just frustrated. I meet plenty of people, but either the friendships don't work out (more likely) or if they do, the person moves away within a year. (I recently discovered the closest friend I've made around here is moving.)
Apparently, I'm not alone. I was chatting with a good friend of mine from med school, who is literally the most sweet, wonderful, and outgoing girl I've ever met, and she told me that she can't make friends. And this article in the NYT confirms what I already knew was true: it's hard to make friends when you get older, especially when you have kids.
One problem I've been finding is that the women I've met who actually have time to have playdates and socialize are all stay at home moms. And it's harder to mentally connect with those women when I'm working full time as a physician. Our problems are so different--it's hard to relate.
Much like the writer of the article, my kids recently had a playdate with the child of a woman I really connected with. We chatted non-stop through the whole playdate. Back in school, this woman might have become a great friend. But I know from experience that we'll be lucky to have playdates every other month. I met a few other women at work that I have really fun conversations with, but I know friendship isn't in the cards if I can't get them to stop calling me Doctor.
Much like that movie, I Love You, Man, I'm trying to approach friend-making the way I'd approach dating:
1) Meet lots of women
2) Don't expect much
3) Don't appear too desperate
4) Take classes or join clubs to meet more people
I also liked what the article said about compartmentalizing friends. I need to realize that my work friends are just going to be friends at work. My book club friends will just be friends at book club. And so forth.
Oddly enough, despite what I consider to be a lack of friends, my social calendar is totally booked with family visits, birthday parties, playdates, etc. Yet another part of the problem.