Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Take on the Married-Friend Issue

"I don't have any married friends. Once they get married they are not my friend anymore."

I asked last week if you agree or not, and it sparked an interesting discussion. Here's my take. It's rather length, knotty, and fragmented in my mind, so let's hope that it comes up clearer.

The first issue is, how a person defines a friend. As one commenter so aptly put it, it depends how "emotionally married" they are. The girl who said this quote- proudly, I might add, is the kind of girl who sees friendship as an all or nothing proposition. Partial, or halfway friends don't make it on to her radar screen.

She had explained the quote further, saying, "before Rivka got married, she would spend half her time at my house. She knew all of my cousins, and went to their vorts and weddings. Now, a cousin of mine is getting married and Rivka didn't even hear about it until yesterday!"

She looked at me, expecting pity. I didn't offer any. "So why didn't you tell her earlier?"
She looked at me funny. "What do you mean? I don't speak to her often enough to tell her all of these little details."

So, in her case, a friend is someone who you speak to multiple times per day, see at least once a day, and share every tedious detail of your life with. Now you see how this quote makes sense. A friend who gets married and moves to a different town will not be seeing you once a day. And most likely, especially in the beginning, the newly married friend won't be speaking to you multiple times per day, sharing the minute details of her tedious existence with you.

If a person has a more sane, healthy, and balanced approach to friendship, this quote will not ring quite as true. Take me for example. Most of my good friends are married, yet I view them as friends every bit as much as before. Is our friendship the same? No, most definitely not. I mean, our conversations when they were single didn't revolve around which maternity stores are best to shop in, or how tired one is after having their baby scream half the night, or even about washing dishes and doing laundry. And yes, we talk less often. But I am confidant in my friendships, I know that regardless of the number of times per day (week? Month?) that I speak to her, we are still friends.

Another issue that we need to factor in is the amount of time elapsed since the wedding of the friend in question. If someone reading that quote has a close friend who had just gotten married, say, within the past month, this quote would ring truer than it does for most folks. Because yes, while friends remain friends regardless of what you find on their finger, it is normal and healthy for them to drop off the face of the planet for the first month or so after their wedding.

Then of course, there are the ensuing months of sickeningly newlywed behavior, which is really not so sickening. It's kinda supposed to go that way. "Yeah, so it was really funny. She said tha- husbandhomegottago." Click. In fact, I'll never forget the first time my friend spoke to me when her husband was around. It was the symbolic departure from the little cocoon of newlywedism.

The next, and hopefully last issue (this post is taking way too long to write) is the issue of "friendlys." These are the people that I wouldn't quite label as a "friend," but are not simply a "classmate" or a "coworker." I find that with friendlys, the above quote is completely true. Before she got married, we may have spoken together every couple of weeks, give or take a few accidental meetings in the grocery store. Now that she is married, I simply don't feel the pressure to keep up. And neither does she. And that's why we meet at simchas and feel dumb, because we last spoke at the vort of whoever is getting married at that wedding, and we used to sort of be friends.

In conclusion- oh forget it. I got more important things to do than conclude. You decide what you think. Let me know in the comments!


BigChamor21 said...

Interesting and thorough post. I think that most girls are very emotionally attached to their friends--it's very normal. And yes, the first couple months of a friend's marriage can be really upsetting to the single friend (for a couple of reasons)and we shouldn't look down at them one bit.
I like what you wrote about the friendlies, it's so true how you just grab this excuse of marriage to make your social life simpler.

itsagift said...

I like what you wrote - and how you broke it down into the way a person defines what a friend really is.

And I agree, if it's a good, true, friend, you don't have to speak to her every day but you know in your heart that you are still friends. Baruch Hashem for those friends!!

itsagift said...

I think it also depends on what you've been through together. If your relationship was all about clothes & shopping, there isn't as strong a bond as when you've experienced real life together.

Friends who have been through hardships & helped each other out dont just forget about one another when either one gets married or if one gets busy and doesn't have time to talk because there is a much stronger connection.

nmf #7 said...

With the regard to "husbandhomeIgottago"- It's important that a newlywed, or even those who are not newlyweds, spend a certain amount of time just with their husband. So, let's say their husband is working all day, and comes home only for suppper, to find them speaking to their friend. Shouldn't she put her conversation aside and spend that time with her husband?
She can call the friend back later.

With regard to your actual question- my single friends are FAR more busy than I am! I call them, but they are too busy to speak, unless it's at 3 AM or so, and let's face it- I'm not up at 3 AM, or even 2. So, you are right, in the fact that the more you speak, the more you know, but that doesn't change your status as friends.

badforshidduchim said...

Haven't you got a kid? Why aren't you up at 2am? ;-)

nmf #7 said...

B4S- Yeah, I meant 'consciously' up. I'm definitely not up for a phone conversation at 2 AM. The most I do is reinsert a pacifier, or sleep while nursing. You could try calling me, and see what happens, though. :D

Anonymous said...

totally relate. you are one awesome writer.

Something Different said...

BC- Lol, I'm glad your marriage didn't simplify me out of the picture. I saw you more times in the first 2 months of your married life than your entire single life. Not that that's saying much. :-P

IAG- I agree that the connection is deeper if you've been through stuff together, but not necessarily do they speak/see eachother more often...

NMF- I agree with you about the hanging up when your husband comes home, but there is something overwhelmingly newlywed-ish about spending the bulk of a conversation discussing your need to hang up the minute your husband comes home.

B4S- That's what husbands are for. duh.

Anon- Thanks, do you happen to own a publishing company?