Talking Friendship: Best of the Bonfire

by Ginger on August 2, 2013

in Becoming Myself, Blogging & Social Media

Last year, I wrote a guest post for my friend Gigi at KludgyMom, who had just started a summer series called Around the Bonfire as a virtual place to talk about those things you might share with close friends on a summer night with a bottle of wine around the bonfire. The whole idea of the series sparked my idea for the post I wrote, The Dream of Friendship:

…when I was a kid, I had these images of what my life would look like in the future. I would have a job I was good at and loved, a family to dote on, a beautiful home filled with books and sunlight…and lots of friends to brighten my life. In my imaginings, I had those kinds of girlfriends who stopped by unannounced. Who you went to Vegas with for a girl’s weekend. Who you called (this was before texting and email remember) when you fought with your husband or had a bad day at work or just needed a female perspective. Friends for cookouts and camping trips, friends for weddings and baby showers. Friends for bonfire talks. In my head, it was glorious.

But the reality is that after multiple cross country moves, several lifestyle changes, and a toddler (and with an introverted nature thrown in just for kicks), my fantasies of handfuls of glorious adult friendships remain just that…fantasies.

This post remains something I feel and think about often. In fact, it’s been on my mind a lot lately, as I struggle a bit with being lonely for friendship (not that I don’t love my husband, who is my best friend, but man sometimes you need other people outside your marriage, you know?), and question myself a bit about the things I’ve done to get me to this point. I could write all these words exactly the same today as I did a year ago, something which frankly gives me a lot to think about. But this post remains one I’m very proud of–for giving voice to something that is hard for me to say out loud, for the way the words came together, and for the way it opened a dialogue with other people who struggle with the same problem.

I’m honored to say that Gigi, in celebration of more than a year of Around the Bonfire posts, is celebrating by choosing her 12 personal favorites–and has chosen my post as one of the Best of the Bonfire. There are more than 40 amazing posts as part of this series, so I am humbled and really thank Gigi for considering mine as one of her favorites.

I’d love if you could check out the post, especially if you haven’t read it already, and talk to me about friendships as an adult–making them, keeping them, missing them–you know, the little things.


P.S. There is a voting option for the Best of Bonfire top post, and the winner will get featured on Gigi’s site for a year and apparently a little gift. If you feel so inclined, I would be honored if you voted for my post, but having the conversation about friendship is what I want most of all.

Ana August 2, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I literally just wrote about this very topic…I had those exact same dreams. I’m feeling that lack these days. Great great post.

Ann Soutter August 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Great post, and having moved several times for jobs for my husband, I know what you are talking about. I’m older than you, but the joke around here is that if you become my friend, you will either die or move far, far away.

I’ve even joined an online group called girlfriendcircles (like a dating service) to try to meet another friend or two.

But what struck me this week, is that sometimes friends see me as more than a friend than I see them….case in point. I have breakfast a few times a week with another mother. We both have 15 year old boys, but then she also has a 6 year old and an 8 year old girls…..I don’t do all the girly things! But, she ended up hospitalized this week, and wanted me there with her, the whole time. Not sure I would have wanted the same thing if the situation was reversed, or maybe I am just a bit more private…..

Lorette Lavine August 2, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I am now a grandmother of one and throughout raising my own children my best friend was my mother. I have two girlfriends that I value very much and can confide in them…they live close by and we get together fairly frequently. One friend is very encouraging of me as a blogger and the other is not…she has not even LIKED my FB page that is related to my blog. I have accepted this part of our friendship but it is hurtful…my other friend reads my posts and even comments now and then. I appreciate her support.
I guess what I am trying to say is, there are all types of friends and the fantasy ones somehow do not make it in the real world. I have found the blogging community very welcoming and although most of my contacts are young enough to be my daughters, I find them to be great virtual friends and supportive of my work. I enjoy their work as well and support them as much as I can. I have to say that your generation has so many avenues open to them through social media but there is that personal contact that is missing. I am not sure what to do about that…BlogHer and Mom 2.0 have both been great but I wish there was more.
I think I just “rambled” but I do understand how you feel and I loved your post…even though I might not be the audience that it was directed to…given my age. Thanks for sharing.

Single Mom in the South August 3, 2013 at 5:58 am

I write about friendship a lot, had similar fantasies growing up, and have also weather several long-distance moves. It’s funny, because I did have these types of friends in one neighborhood when I lived up north, but that’s the same place I lived when my marriage fell apart. I wonder if we were so busy nurturing our fun lives and friendships we forgot to look inside the walls of our homes, because several of those homes are now “broken” if you will.

Congrats on your feature! 🙂

Kim August 3, 2013 at 5:10 pm

I have several local acquaintances where I live but unfortunately none that I get to spend any real amount of time with. Two of them are frequently busy. I’m the SAHW with not much of a life other than school.

Most of the women I do know in my age group (I’m 32) all have kids and me being the lone woman without one makes it hard to relate and get along with other women. Factor in I’m also kind of a foul-mouthed tomboy who laughs at fart jokes, my world can be a bit lonely at times.

Blogging and networking online has helped thankfully. It may all be virtual but it beats sitting in a corner babbling and drooling or talking to my pets all day. Haha.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. I’m stopping by via Gigi’s blog.

Ginger August 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

The realities of life don’t make things easy, that’s for sure. As we get older and have families/don’t have families/have jobs/don’t have jobs/move/don’t move…it gets hard.

Thank goodness for blogging!

nonsequiturchica August 5, 2013 at 8:27 am

I feel very similar these days. Yes we moved closer to my parents, but our close friends live 45 minutes away and it’s hard to see them very often. Other than that, I haven’t made any close friends at work (most of them live downtown) or anywhere else. We have been so focused on our house and trying to make a baby that it has been difficult to find friends. I hope that things change soon…..

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks August 5, 2013 at 9:47 am

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately, Ginger. I think a whole host of life circumstances (including moves, getting married, having kids) changes our ability to be friends with others. I have lived in the same city for almost 20 years and have a circle of VERY close friends. And yet, when I added “mother” to the mix of titles I wear, my friendships changed. All of them. Even the ones I had when I was childless and my friends had children. The mothers of the other children at daycare have become new opportunities for friendship and yet, we’re all busy (dual working parent households), have other friends outside of the daycare community and don’t necessarily want to forge such friendships (and/or such friendships take more time to nurture). Despite living in a big city and balancing an overflowing social calendar, there have been many times when I have felt very isolated. I think a lot of parents would echo the feelings you’re describing, even when our circumstances don’t quite match up with yours.

Miranda August 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I think about all this ALL THE DAMN TIME. I want that. I want that same fantasy so bad it kind of hurts sometimes. I don’t know how to create those friendships. I know just WANTING it isn’t enough, and I’m willing to put in the work once a friendship is established, but hooooooow do I start those friendships? I’m terrible at this. It makes me really very mad at myself or not being able to figure this out.

So, let me know if you do?

Ginger August 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I think I need to work on a teleporter. That way all the online friends can pop over for a visit whenever. Because damn is it hard in real life. I know I’ve let my older friendships languish, and some life things have happened that probably would have changed those relationships anyway, but I still…I want it, you know? I don’t need a posse of friends, but a handful would really be nice.

Miranda August 9, 2013 at 10:23 am

I’ve stopped considering the friends I’ve met online as “online friends” because in reality, some of the friendships I’ve made here are the most rewarding and sincere friendships I’ve ever had. They are friends. Very good friends, that happen to live pretty far away. Knowing they are there helps, a lot, but I want that in person interaction, too. That stopping by unannounced and totally taking it for granted because it’s just so natural feeling, that’s what I’m missing.

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