Friendless?

Remember camp friends? We snuck off during rest hour together, slept on each other’s beds, and held late-night DMCs during which, drunk on lack of sleep, we revealed all sorts of personal details. Remember high school friends? We slept over for Shabbos, passed notes in class, and planned each other’s futures together. Remember seminary friends? We have embarrassing pictures of each other and reams of things we’re not allowed to tell each other’s parents and husbands.

When I had to stock the references section of my shidduch profile, those were the people I went to. They know all about me – the good and the bad. But five years later, most of them are long married, living in different cities and countries, not returning emails or difficult to get on the phone, impossible to meet up with, and otherwise out of my life. They can still talk glibly about the Bad4 they knew in summer camp, high school, and seminary, but that’s not the person who’s currently dating under my name and face. The current Bad4 is a net improved edition, but they don’t have a list of spec updates.

It would make sense to swap some of them out and replace them with people who do know the up-to-date me.

There’s only one problem.

With whom do I replace them?

It’s not like I don’t have a social life. There are people I hang with in school, at home, on weekends, via email, IM, and occasionally visit. But usually that’s about the only way they know me. In college, my relationship with the other frum students doesn’t extend much beyond commiserating over the pathetic food situation, comparing professors, passing on textbooks, and exchanging the latest anecdotes about our non-Jewish colleague’s wit and wisdom vis a vis Judaism. IM conversations during work rarely get beyond the headlines of news, weather, and life-events. On the few weekends I get to visit old buddies we alternate between catching up on 4-6 months of life and being silly, or cooing at the baby if there is one. If there are any late-night DMCs, it’s between the pal and her BFF.  Besides, let’s face it – there’s more to talk about in her life than mine, seeing as she’s the one buying a couch, throwing dinner parties, and darning socks. (Or whatever that particular MF obsesses about.)

I guess I’m short on best friends at the moment. There just doesn’t seem to be anyone who shares a significant portion of my life anymore. Is this why people move to singles communities and crowd into teeny apartments? For the hanging out, the late-night uninhibited conversations, the shared activities… and having someone who actually knows you to field shidduch-related questions?

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22 thoughts on “Friendless?

  1. I feel for ye. I have no friends either. For shidduchim purposes I guess I use two really good friends, despite their married state.

    But a social life…that’s another story. A sad story to be precise. I don’t have one. Part of me thinks friends are over rated; part of me thinks I should befriend some grade school kids.

  2. Just put a link to your blog 🙂

    If that scares them off, he’s probably not for you; and if he says yes after seeing the blog, he probably is!

  3. What does DMC stand for?
    And yes, that’s why people move to singles communities. As my friends get married “late”, I find that I see them less and less, and rely on those remaining.

    As for ideas of what to write about: how about the people who have trouble dating? We all have a friend who has never had more than a few dates with the same person, and it’s never clear whether there’s anything we can do for them. Nothing wrong with them, and the problem is just a cycle of rejection, leading to lower confidence, and more rejection.

    That’s not even mentioning the extreme cases, some of whom shadchans won’t even work with: quadriplegics, the very obese (BMI of 50, and that’s after losing 130 pounds), cancer survivors, people with cerebral palsy or an Ashkenazi genetic disease. The longer I stay single, the more of these I meet.

  4. I remember a time when one wasn’t held hostage to have friends to field shidduch questions, simply because people weren’t insane enough to take a 20 year old girl’s opinion seriously. Really. (Not in my day. In my sister’s dating day).

    I’m the sort of person who gets along rather well with people my parents’ age. I chat with them outside of shul, if I meet them on the train, when we have Shabbos dinner together. I use them for shidduch references (if needed). But one in a while some boy’s mother will insist that’s not good enough (the opinion of a age-appropriate peer) but she wants a girl’s number, probably because she’ll be able to ask the “right” questions to find all the dirt about what’s hidden under my floorboards.

    I am not some Virago who’ll hypnotize your precious boy. Who says I even want him?

    Did I just rant?

  5. I’m beginning to have the same problem too, Bad4. When friends get married, one’s social life really does get stunted.

    I will admit, though, that you probably have it worse; I’m still in YU, and so are many of my married friends. So, while I don’t hang out with them all that much anymore (besides shabbos meals – SCORE!!), they’re still around for help in setting up, and fielding qeustions about, shidduchim.

    Good luck.

  6. The best “resume” i ever saw was sent to me by accident- i was redding a shidduch for a neigbor, and her mother sent me a resume that was written completely tongue in cheek, forgetting that that wasn’t the resume she was supposed to send out. I was personally very impressed- any girl who sends me a resume like that is getting an automatic yes- but the girl herself was mortified…

  7. I can sympathize. As much as I am looking forward to graduating from Touro, I am terrified at the prospect of losing what little of a social life I currently have.

  8. This is why “current” friends’ weddings are so much fun – at one point you might have been ultra close with your BFFs from high school, but if you get married at, say, 23, your workmates/college mates will be the ones who “make” your wedding. Maybe this is subconsciously why I chose to work in a frum environment?

  9. I agree with male – it could be that being at YU (and perhaps Stern) creates a very different sort of friendship that you are currently lacking. The vast majority of my best friends are still in the same boat as me – and went to college with me. Our relationships/friendships goes far beyond the meager conversations you refer to. The difference could stem from the fact that we live in an actual community on campus (even those finicky in-towners who run home to mommy every Thursday afternoon). It’s a built in system where being friends means more – and you DO have those late night conversations with friends and roommates. It would seem to me that since your college experience has largely (or entirely?) been a from-home venture, you did not have the opportunity to develop such deep, meaningful, and long lasting relationships that us YU/Stern students have…

  10. Shades, I doubt Stern girls have that advantage; once their friends get married, they live up in the Heights or elsewhere – in other words, not near their friends. My friends’ wives probably see me more than their own friends.

  11. I once posted a similar response on a different blog (can’t remember which)… basically, there is no reason to lose your friends at this stage in our lives. Yes, locations, interests, responsibilities, and amounts of free time change, but a real friendship can outlast all of that. My friends might talk about strollers and diapers and preschools but that’s what’s important to them, and so it’s important to me. I (still) talk about dating and work and hobbies, and they listen to me. What matters is the friendship, not the details. My friends don’t have a lot of free time between their families and jobs, but somehow I don’t have a lot of free time either, so it all equals out. Somehow we manage to make time for each other, and when we do the quality makes up for the quantity. I have also made new friends over the years, friends who have more in common with me right now, but those friendships usually are more of convenience than kindred spirits. I doubt I’ll keep up with most of those people once their stages in life change, but I hope to keep my tried and true friends. In any case, I know how you feel about losing your friends, but with enough effort on both sides, you should be able to keep the people who matter to you. And hey, one day when you need to know about strollers and diapers and preschools, you’ll be two steps ahead because had good friends. 🙂

  12. And another thing – even married people need friends. Your spouse is not the only other person in your life and cannot fill every role. I know this because a few of my friends have complained to _me_ about a feeling of loneliness/lack of social life. So be there for your friends. You will both be better off.

  13. Mary, I don’t think anyone was advocating not making an effort to retain friendships. The discussion is purely that we simply spend less time with married friends, which inevitably leads to them not quite knowing where you’re holding on a daily basis. Quality might beat quantity in terms of “being better friends” with someone, but not necessarily when it comes to empathizing with someone’s situation or knowing exactly what someone’s thoughts on random hashkafic issues are, or other random stuff like that.

    I can talk from experience: in recent months, I’ve had certain conversations with people who would’ve been my 3rd or 4th choice for those talks, simply because the 1st and 2nd choices aren’t around much.

  14. Sometimes I think growing up, also means growing apart. And while in close quarters we are able to relate closely to those around us. I’ve found especially with my single friends that unless both sides are making an effort to stay connected they don’t.

    The same happens with married friends. Especially the first two years of marriage you are swept away by a plethora of new experiences and emotions and responsibilities. Once it calms down, they may not always be available but after a while, the married friends will make a more solid effort.

    For myself, I’ve found that I have many “friends” and very few close friends that I can say I share everything with. Not the easiest situation, but somehow part of growing up. it’s also part of getting married, for a woman, instead of reaching out for more social networks once she marries she’s supposed to reach in towards her family and enrich that relationship.

  15. WAH!!! THIS POSTING MAKES ME SAD!!!! WHY DON’T YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MY INCREDIBLE EMPATHETIC SKIllS AND POUR OUR YOUR HEART TO ME!!!??? :p

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