So who are your friends really?
“I just haven’t been in touch with you, because I feel so sad about your marriage breaking up.”
” It’s so awkward for me, I’m friends with you both.”
“Why couldn’t you just stick it out?”
“We just want to build our couple friendship base so I know you understand why you’re not invited to the BBQ. Let’s do coffee some time, just you and me.”
These statements are offered by friends as explanations for why they don’t’ catch up with you, or text. Or have coffee. Or don’t invite you to their dinner party. Now that you are divorced.
Who are your friends post divorce?
You’d be surprised.
Your friendships change. Some friends are there for you, regardless. Some friends will pretend it… the divorce and your precarious financial situation, hasn’t happened. Some friends want to talk about it. Some friends don’t.
Other friends just drop you, or avoid you. And if you happen to have had a narcissist for a husband, well, don’t be surprised when these friends allow themselves to be manipulated by that master of manipulation. So that you or, you and your older children are cast as villains in his story of sorrow.
It is not all bad, however, for there are other friends with whom you are friends for life. There are new friends, new work mates, new acquaintances that know you now, post divorce. For whom you are not simply a divorced parent but are you, in your own right.
In facing the reality of friends post divorce, there are a few points to consider, things that are good-to-know.
1. Be yourself. Those ubiquitous self-help books always tell you to be yourself, don’t try to please others, be true to you. Yada, Yada. But you know what? They are right. Post divorce it can be easy to fall into people pleasing. We get so desperate for friendship that we aim to please.
Don’t. If you really haven’t the money for a night on the town or you really want to see that movie, say so. Say so nicely. Say it with compromise. But don’t be afraid to be you and to say what you want or need.
2. Be a friend. It can be so easy to be caught up in our own hurts and worries . So caught up with those that we forget about our friends and their lives and needs. What would you want in a friend? Someone who is real, who shares, who has fun, true, but someone who also listens and is there for you? Be that kind of friend .
3. Be proactive. I know, I’m sounding more and more like those motivational books. Yet being proactive in friendships means not always waiting for others to phone or text. Text your friends. Set up a time for coffee or lunch. Join that group at church. Attend that class, become a member of an online community. Hang out on social media. Because even though friendships change post divorce, being proactive can be the guideline that keeps some old friendships together or the line that hauls out to gather in new friendships.
4. Be gentle. Gentle? Yes, gentle with yourself. You don’t have to solve the problem of post divorce friendships right now, straight away. You can give yourself and your friends time. Time to become accustomed to the changes in your life. Time to grieve, time to work out how friendship looks and how friendship feels and how friendship fits into your newly single life. Be gentle. Take breaths. Take time.
Friendship post divorce can be precarious. It can change. The picture of your friends post divorce may be a changing kaleidoscope. You will have some old friendships and some new friendships. You may lose some friends. You may have deep periods of closeness and equally deep periods of loneliness.
Yet, you WILL have friends. Be gentle, be proactive , be a friend, be yourself. And who will be your friends post divorce? A medley of people , old friends and new