Family Friends are Hard to Make: Blame the Math

Why is building relationships as a parent is even harder than couple friends? It really comes down to math: there are simply more of you now. Then it follows that the more people are in your family, the more difficult it will be to find multiple friendships in another family. The math gets complicated.

More people = more to make happy, more to really jibe (or not) with the friends you want, more to complain or have different hobbies or needs. It’s exhausting and overwhelming, and I might spend too much time thinking about it.

When I was young, we visited my parents’ friends. We even drove from Minnesota to Iowa, to Indiana, to Florida to be with them. Whether or not they had kids our ages. My parents assumed we’d be fine wherever we went, and we learned how to find acceptable things to do in many types of households. We adjusted. Today my sisters and I are only still friends with one set of kids from one of my parents’ friends.

But so few people even invite you over anymore! Much less across state lines…

We live in the Denver suburbs, and it’s much more common to meet people outside of the house – or even the neighborhood. I’ve been meeting neighbors at playgrounds since before the kids could walk. When all family members were able to toddle at least, we began hiking together all along the Front Range. We’ve also met at brewpubs (not my favorite), swimming areas, coffeeshops, restaurants, or even Costco for a funner (yes, I’m using it) shopping experience. Then everyone went off to school except for us, and availability went waaaaay down.

Add to this that most of our homeschool crew is flung wide – the closest families are 7 minutes away by car, the furthest 30ish minutes – and the restrictions of Covid, and it’s easy to see why we haven’t expanded our family network for a while. It’s also painful to look at directly, that shiny hole where (I feel) people should be.

Just throwing this out here, no advice, in case someone else is feeling a creeping desperation. It really is difficult to make friends at this life stage, especially in this corner of interest-led homeschooling where I find myself. Lately I am just trying to loosen the death grip of my disappointment by believing that good people will swing back into our orbit. Hopefully.

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