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We Don't Want The Same Things In Life. Can We Still Be Friends?

A while ago, I took the risk of browsing the ‘Everything’ page of Pinterest. I say it’s a risk because it is filled with a lot of things that I love and a lot of things that make me want to throw up a little bit in my mouth. Which is what I said on Facebook, citing wedding photos, bridal shower ideas, proposal photos, weight loss claims, anything featuring a Bible verse, and baby announcements as examples of things I hated to see. My best friend, a Catholic, married, mother of two adorable little munchkins, took great offense to this, feeling that I had essentially said her life makes me sick.

I didn’t want to have a Facebook status comment fight, so instead of typing what I really wanted to say, “Not everything is about you!”, I respectfully explained that, while I am happy that she is happy in her life and I love her husband and babies, that life is not for me and as my best friend of eight years, she knows that.

Now, this has me thinking about adult lifestyle choices. (I’m an adult now- eek!) Now that I (and my friends) are young adults, we have moved on from the ease of high school friendship and are dealing with maintaining (or starting) friendships with people as our personal lives change greatly. High school friendship is easy. You’re all in the same place everyday, you do a lot of the same stuff (because you live in a small town, where this isn’t much to do), and you’re just content to “hang” with your friends. Trying to maintain a friendship when you have different work and school schedules, or you’re doing it long distance is a different story.

So far, I haven’t had too many single and immature vs married and babies conflicts with aforementioned best friend because she lives across the country. I see a lot of baby-centered conversations happening on her Facebook statuses, but I just skim over them as I have no interest in the topic. When she comes to visit I’m happy to spend our few days together just hanging with her, while also watching her son running around being adorable and trying to not-too-obviously avoid looking at any exposed nipples during the breastfeeding process. But I wonder what our friendship would be like if we lived in the same city. Sure, we’d be able to get together more, but would we, really? Would she be able to fit solo-friend (solo- as in no significant other, no offspring) time into a busy mother’s schedule? Would I be able to stand regular visits with screaming toddlers & babies interrupting our conversations? Would she be too busy with her other mom-friends to even remember me? When my friend was pregnant for the first time, I asked her if we would end up like Suze and Becky of the Shopaholic books (Suze has a baby, makes mom friends, and Becky gets left aside. In a nutshell.) and she assured me, no. I fear it has happened, though.

The lifestyle and mindset of a parent is such a huge change. I can’t even fathom the idea of how creating a human being would change your life. It really makes me wonder if it’s even possible for parents to be friends with non-parents. Even if you’re still a “cool”, working parent, your life has this huge part that a non-parent doesn’t have. I just imagine, someday in the future sitting down to a lunch with a small group of friends (Sex and the City style) who are all mothers, except me. What would we talk about? Would I try my best to smile-and-nod my way through parenting stories, or would I create a mom-talk ban on our lunch dates? I’ve heard of mom-shaming (moms judging other moms’ parenting choices), but would there be single-shaming? If Sex and the City has taught me anything (and it’s taught me a lot), it’s that, yes, there would be a lot of judgement of me. It’s all marrieds vs. singles and parents vs. non-parents. I mean, is it possible to say to a mother that I don’t want kids without her taking that as a personal attack on her life choices?

I just wonder if it’s ever possible to say to someone “I don’t want your life.” without them hearing “I don’t like your life.”?

You can read more from Tish Chambers here.

Feature image via.

  • Erynn Fiscus

    thank you so much for this article! i know it spoke more about being single amongst married friends/friends with kids, but i think even married people can find something to relate to here. i’ve been married for almost two years now and i feel like i’m treated like a leper by my single friends. i understand (and i hope others do too) that when one goes from being single to married, priorities change. and yeah, maybe the person who’s now married changed too. but it doesn’t mean we’re dead, right? anyway, i thoroughly enjoyed everything you had to say. the article was something i was most delighted to come across!

    • Tish Chambers

      I’m so glad you found this relatable! Other than the fact that I’m just so excited that Hello Giggles posted something I submitted, I’m very excited to read all the comments, to see if I’m really speaking to and relating to people.
      I know some people get hung up on these labels or life catgegories of “single”, “couple”, “married”, “parent”, but I feel that because I know I don’t want that married with kids life, I’m really accepting of my friends who are already there. I never mind being the third wheel, the only singleton in a group of couples, or non-kid-wanting Auntie Tishy, because I’m happy with my life choices. It only irks me when I get that “Oh, you’re young, you’ll change your mind.” about not wanting kids or “You’ll find someone.” about being single. It’s that “Don’t force your life choices on me.” issue that I think anyone can get from certain people.
      So, thanks for reading & commenting! :)

      • Jessica Price

        Only a few days ago, I was having the same conversation from this article with my expecting married best friend (I’m the “single, non-kid-wanting” one). I related to the article, and what you said in this comment was exactly what I was complaining about. I feel like I support my friends’ life choices, but whenever I tell anyone (including strangers) that I’m not so sure that I want to get married and/or have kids, their immediate response is, “Oh, you’ll change your mind.” I never understand why people say that, especially strangers. I almost feel like they think it’s because I’m judging them when I say what’s best for me, when that’s not the case at all. Everyone should just do what makes them happy, and even if I am judging you (which I’m not), you shouldn’t care if you’re happy with who you are and where you are in life. If we were all the same, the world would be a boring place.

      • Jacqueline Spiegelman

        People really do this and it’s frustrating. My personal choice has been to have one child and EVERYONE is always asking when I’m going to have more and to never say never. I find it incredibly annoying. I have one child that I want to take traveling and do fun things with, which I feel is kind of the best of both worlds (for me). My best friend is a couple years older than me, pretty much cruising the dating scene and doesn’t want kids and I take absolutely no offense-it’s a huge commitment! We do live in different cities though and when we’re together with my daughter I can tell she’s a bit uncomfortable with all the nuances that have to be considered and dealt with-I think her seeing my toddler having public meltdowns really solidified her feelings of not wanting kids lol I have also worried about what kind of shifts would occur in our friendship if we were living in the same city, but I’m pretty able to get out alone when I want to. Just being respectful of each others decisions is key to having a successful friendship.

  • Jessica Ellen

    Nailed it :-)

  • Beth Hannah

    I was the single friend to married friends for quite awhile. I am now a single mom friend to many married friends and single friends. I have to honestly say, the single/non-married friends are the ones that are harder to get to hang out with. I am usually more than willing to make time for a friend- they are usually too busy going to bars and being paranoid about children to fit me in. And I hear this complaint from other married/kid having women- maybe the fear of the unknown is more of a problem then actually having differences between friends.

  • Lorraine Hannah

    I’ve drifted apart from a lot of friends over the years because of differences like this. What I’ve slowly come to realise is that as long as you love your friends and have respect for them and their choices, it shouldn’t matter … you may run out of things to talk about in the short term, but in the long-term, you may end up having things in common again. It was really hard when I was in my early twenties though; it felt like I was constantly rejecting friends, or they were rejecting me! Took a while to look at it from a different perspective :)

  • Michelle Ragan Rodriguez

    It actually sounds like all this judgement that you think is being thrown your way is your own insecurities. I saw several instances of you judging your friend that has children, but all you perceive is her supposed judgment of you. It’s called projection.

    • Katy Littlejohn


  • Fatma Hesham

    Brilliant topic. Even aside from the parent vs. non aspect, that question has been worrying me a lot recently. Almost a step away from graduation, I’m starting to realize I have completely different ideas and plans of I want to do in life after, than my best friend, and I’m starting to wonder how that’s gonna affect our relationship in the distant future. and if it’s possible to remain as close even with completely different paths.

  • Becca Burton Nielson

    As a 32 year old mom of 3 kids, I am ALWAYS looking for solo time with my non-mom girl friend. I love to hear about her life and the world traveling she does, the amazing job she has and how her puppy is doing. I have chosen a different life where the highlights are antidotal stories about my kids and the chaos that I call my life. Neither choice is “better” or “worse.” They are different. I respect her and what she is doing. I listen eagerly to her talk about her recent activities. She also respects me, and listens to my life just as eagerly. I’m a mom. That’s my life. If she chose to be bored of it, or to glaze over it, I doubt we would remain friends. She doesn’t have to choose my life to respect me and be my friend.

  • Kim Daharsh Tweten

    I have a bundle of all types friends. We don’t hang out a lot – they have work, dating, and more free time than I do. And I have kids, home things, and my stuff. But we do spend time together And when we do, I work hard to remind myself that they probably don’t want to hear every detail about my marriage/kids/life at home all the time… With a lot of mutual respect (being different doesn’t mean we don’t like each other) we have a great time. We laugh about online parody videos and commiserate about our periods. We talk about how passing the 30 milestone has changed our lives, our bodies, our hormones… they share about their travels, interests, and activities,… and I share about my kids and the nutty things they do that make me laugh. But we consider each other as we hang out… and we work hard not to judge. I find that refreshing. At some point I will have kids who are older and don’t need me so much – and I need all my girlfriends (single, non-parents, parents, married, unmarried.. the whole gamut) to be there for me… Because life is richer when we have that smattering of people who we share our lives with… I would hate to make skim milk out of the cream that is my life. Its richer with all kinds of friends.

  • Mychal Sanders

    I think it is possible for friends of all goals and lifestyles to be friends. You don’t have to desire the same life, but rather, desire that they get the life that they dream of- showing support, if not sharing the same endgame.

    All my best friends are pursuing their dreams this year; one, making it big in Hollywood, two, a degree in Biblical ministry, two, art in Arizona, three, a full-time nanny in Hawaii, four, maintaining a muscular body and a exciting party lifestyle, five, a nursing degree, six, a full-time internship at a coastal camp, seven, a music degree and a career in music ministry, and so many more.

    Me? I am working a minimum wage kitchen job in a small town and trying to pay off my university while honing my skills as a writer and working to be published. I don’t want kids, all previously mentioned friends want kids amidst their very active and exciting lives. I’m single, they all have significant others (or actually have dates!) We’re all so different. We all want completely different lives. We all stay in touch. We love each other and we’re all friends because we care about our dreams. Yes, they are all different. As spouses and kids get involved, dreams and careers will change and relationships will change. Staying friends over long distances is only half the obstacle. If there is love, it is worth it, though.

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