At first glance, my house doesn't look particularly offbeat. Look a little closer, though, and you'll notice the comical number of computers hiding here and there. Seven or eight bikes in the garage, corralled by a bike rack made of two-by-fours. Five cars that come and go. The duplicate cookbooks and kitchen utensils, the camping equipment lining the walls in the garage. And, of course, the five bedrooms that are definitely occupied by six adults.
This is Offbeat Home's archive of friendships posts.
I'm 32 years old and broke up with a longtime boyfriend about two years ago. At the time, half of my friends were single and only a couple of them were getting married. Two years later… all of my good friends are married or in long-term relationships and I'm still single. How do you stay happy being single in a world of families, wondering if it will ever happen for you, and feeling like a sudden outsider?
I didn't know what to expect from friends and family, and strangers when I announced my divorce. I had kept many of my relationship "issues" away from family — not wanting to harm our image as a couple should we work things out — so it came as a surprise to some of them. Though, for the most part, family and friends (especially) have been supportive, there is a certain rhetoric around divorce that really started to bother me.
I have had a love/hate relationship with Facebook since the get-go. Yet, most of my online family, as well as former co-workers, classmates, and even long lost friends and family now connect there. Then the holidays came this year. A time of numerous social gatherings with friends and family you don't see nearly enough. And a little phrase kept sticking in my brain. The first time I kind of just laughed it off. "Oh yeah, I saw that on Facebook." Could I be divulging too much on social media?
So I decided to try my accidental experiment. I deactivated my Facebook account.
Throughout my pregnancy I'd sit with my friends, often at a bar, sipping orange juice and Seven-Up and suspiciously eyeing my other female friends who weren't drinking. I watched drinking patterns to see whether or not I could "score" a maternity leave buddy for at least part of my year as a stay-at-home mom. Although I have many close friends who often act as designated driver, no one was pregnant while I was. I have a handful of mom friends who are at home right now, but they all live outside of the city and on average are a fifty-three minute drive away.
I keep in touch with my best friend Erica via Gchat. When big things happen — breakups, an upcoming interview, travel — we absolutely talk about them, but the continuous all-day connection allowed by Gchat means we started sharing more mundane things as well. We both like to dig in our heels about these things — a lot of adult tasks are boring, and feel difficult, or involve talking to strangers on the phone, and there just never seems to be an end to them. But having a friend to complain to, cheer on, and report back to with successes really helps us put these things in perspective and get them done.
(Un)Fortunately, we can't always convince everybody to agree with our personal brand of freedom and equality. By now I have realized that screaming "This is so unfair! Why don't you want to understand?" is not the smartest way to begin any kind of conversation. How do you cope with constant mentioning of idealogical deal breakers — homophobic, racist, misogynic, and many other discriminatory comments — with people you can't necessarily break things off with.
Before getting engaged, I also have been pretty shit-terrible about friendship. I've fallen out of touch with people I wanted to stay in touch with, I've been the kid waiting for an invitation but never proposing, I've let fights and misunderstanding end years of friendship. I've not always been great about friends. Then I got engaged and moved thousands of miles away from everyone I knew, and had an epiphany about friendships.