I'm 24 years old, married, and kid-free. While this seems to be the ultimate lifestyle in my mind, I'm feeling more and more left out and alienated by my friends. Seven of my friends had babies in the last year. The few who haven't are single, and they spend their weekends barhopping and looking to hook up. I can't relate to either of these situations, and I'm feeling as though I no longer have any close female friends.
I haven't been able to get together with anyone in months, as my single friends don't make plans in case they get a date and are not interested in, say, a dinner party when they could be out clubbing. The new moms don't go out much, and when they do, all the talk is baby-related. I've known all these women for many years and I'd hate to write them off completely, but I'm starting to feel like I need a new batch of friends. Do you have any advice? — Neglected Nadine
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Dear Neglected Nadine,
I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling left out, but instead of thinking you'll have to find all new friends, I think you should try figuring out how to maintain the friendships you have now, just in a new way. Since you're all in such different places in your lives, and you're right in the middle of each group, it's important to be flexible with each other's schedules. You say that your single friends aren't interested in dinner parties, so why not meet them for a happy hour drink or a Saturday afternoon margarita? And for your friends who are married with children who you say only want to talk about babies, indulge them every once in a while — let them share their excitement with you! As annoying as it may be, sometimes you just have to put a smile on your face and remember that once the dust settles and the initial excitement dwindles, there'll be much more to talk about besides diapers and preschool.
As life goes on, priorities change, but that's not to say that your friends don't have room for you anymore. While you might feel like the neglected one, keep in mind that your friends could be having similar feelings towards you. Sometimes it's not all about you — you might have to compromise a little, at least for right now. Making new friends is fun, but while doing so, you don't need to write off your old ones. Be open and honest with them and hopefully you'll get back on track sooner than later. Good luck.