*I am in my early 40s and have several friends from college who still live in the area. We get together every few months to have brunch or happy hour, and recently I have noticed that I am irritated by them and not interested in hearing more about their personal lives. I know how this sounds – I am being petty and rude – but I don’t understand why we have to go out and talk about the same things over and over again (e.g., kids, vacations, home improvements). Seriously, they go on and on about the most domestic, conventional issues. When did we get so boring? Why can’t we talk about our goals and dreams, like we used to in college? I try to float new conversation topics, but they fall like lead balloons. Is this what inevitably happens when you get old?*
– Bored by my Buddies
You sound like a lot of fun at brunch.
While I don’t necessarily think that aging inevitably translates into boring your friends with talk about gutter projects and piano recital reviews, sometimes that is what is going on in your life and you talk it through with your friends. The problem here, I think, is that you aren’t actually friends with these people anymore.
We do grow up after college and often that means we also grow apart. Though I don’t think this means you have to cancel all future get-togethers with College Crowd, you might do well to set your expectations a little lower. Take yourself back to those late-night discussions with your dorm-mates. You were talking about the issues of “that day” – including goals and dreams –because that’s what was on your plate back then. Today, the plate is crowded with other topics because that’s real life in your 40s.
Those people were your college compatriots mostly due to the circumstance of being assigned to the same dorm floor, class list or extracurricular team. As adults we get to choose our friends and – while it’s been documented that making new friends post-college is a challenging business – that means we can seek out people who have similar interests. So when you’re at the next goals and dreams meet-up, set a few brunch dates with similarly minded folks. And keep the old friends on the calendar as well. You might appreciate being a member of both groups, once you see what that feels like.
Stacy Notaras Murphy (www.stacymurphyLPC.com) is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to stacymurphyLPC@gmail.com.