I cannot be the only one...who has suspected that their long time friendships may have turned into something other than actual friendships over the many, many years that we have known each other. This is something I have been thinking about for awhile, after our invites to our old friend's kids birthday parties have been "lost in the mail" or seeing pictures of our group of friends at a dinner parties we were not a part of showing up on Facebook, but the thought became a definite realization over this past weekend when we spent time with the New Friends.
While drinking red wine, chatting about annoying child behaviors, and watching my son having a great time in the living room of a newly acquired friend, I began to think how much better this social setting feels than the ones we have been a part of recently. These new friends flung the doors of their home wide open to welcome family members, old friends, and new acquaintances in an effort to build a bridge between us all (while generously offering cocktails to loosen up the awkwardness that tends to tighten everyone up around newbies). This all are welcome environment is in stark contrast to our friends we have known since the Jurassic period, who preferred to keep the group of compadres small and tended to entertain by category (old friends, work friends, family, etc.). I started to realize that a lot of my social anxiety may have been spawned by our old friends rules of engagement, before attending a soiree I would worry if what I was wearing was up to their snuff, I would second guess the worthiness of a bottle of wine I brought, and I would obsess the morning after a party about whether or not I had said the wrong thing to anyone (sounds like a blast, right?).
I love all our old friends, although I sometimes feel like I love them out habit more than because we have strong connections anymore, and I think I may be at the point where I accept that the best times we are going to have with our old pals may have already happened. I am enjoying spending time with these new friends, friends that are sans the expectations of the past hundred years of experiences, who knows maybe these new friends will be around for the next hundred years (and then I'll start thinking maybe we've out grown them too...I'm sensing a pattern).