Friends + Human Connection

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Remember when we were in grade school and making friends was as easy as asking someone to play with you? Or just to sit with them at lunch?

 

four school friends sitting together eating lunch

For me, I changed schools in grade school. I gained new friends in the new school and lost those at my previous one. As we got older, the friendships that defined our childhood didn’t always transition into middle and high school. And those in middle and high school didn’t always transition into college and adulthood. Our friend group might have changed as we got older, as we figured out more of who we were as a person, from our beliefs and opinions to our geographic location.



College brought on a different set of friends – I walked onto campus not knowing a soul and graduated with some fantastic people by my side. And then I entered the working world. Here, I’d like to say I collected friends along the way with my various jobs over the years.



And now I’m a mom, and my friendship circle has changed again. Those friends I met along the way in college and grad school are now moms, too. But we don’t see each other as often due to our schedules and raising families. It can be difficult and lonely— unsure of where we fit in, just like in those awkward teen years. It’s the standard text of checking in and following up with, “let’s get together!”. But the next step of finding time often gets lost in our daily tasks, of keeping up with the kids, work, and other obligations.


Social media makes it easier for us to connect and keep up with what’s going on in others’ lives to where we might not make the attempt to make a date. So we “like” and comment to let them know we’re still around. However, it’s not enough.



Last winter, during the holiday break, I met up with a friend who I met in grad school. We’re both working moms now, and prior to us seeing each other last December, it was over a year since she and I spent any time together. She was a few months away from giving birth to her son, and by the time we met again, he had his first birthday! It amazes me how quickly time goes by when we’re in our everyday routines.



In March, my introverted self put myself out there to make a new mom friend. I sent Rebekah, owner of St. Louis Mom, a message on Instagram asking if she’d like to grab a cup of coffee. I had met Rebekah only once at another event, and had little chats along the way through writing. She asked if there was anything, in particular, I had on my mind to chat about, and I said no. I wanted to get to know her outside of the blog and connect with another person.



A few weeks later, we met at a coffee shop in Maplewood and talked for nearly two hours about our kids, families, husbands, travel, relationships, and St. Louis. We made it a priority to find the time to do this, and I am so happy we did. Conversations that didn’t revolve around kids needing our attention, emails needing to be answered, or hundreds of other distractions. It was so great.

 

a close up of two women holding coffee cups on a long wooden table

My friend Michelle and I have tried to meet once a week to walk, catch up, and do a little of our own self-therapy. It’s hitting a number of positive spots – exercise, human connection, and getting outside to enjoy the fresh air. I feel rejuvenated when I come home – which makes me a better person, and, in turn, a more relaxed mom and wife.



Ladies, we need to remember human connection can also be considered self-care. We think about massages, pedicures, and pampering ourselves, but spending time with a good friend should be added to our self-care lists. And be a non-negotiable.



So, I’m challenging you to reach out to a friend who you haven’t seen in a while to make a plan to see each other – even if the first day you can manage is 4-6 weeks out. Make a date and keep it. If you want to stretch the challenge, reach out to someone new. Maybe there’s someone you want to get to know better from a blog space (wink, wink), a book club, or a parent from a soccer team.



I thoroughly enjoy my time with my girl gang from all walks of life, and you should, too.

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Stephanie is a native of St. Louis, born and raised. She attended college at Maryville University (BA) and Lindenwood University (MA). Days are full as she divides her duties between her job as the Director of Volunteers & Special Events at a local food pantry and as wife to Chris, mom to a lively preschool-aged son and “bonus” mom to two older daughters. If time allows, Stephanie devotes her time to various nonprofits who are dear to her heart. When she isn’t trying to figure out how to change the world, you can find her at home in Fenton catching up on all of her favorite Housewives or sitting back, watching the glorious chaos of home!

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