How Do Non-parents Make Friends as Adults?
Last weekend put me on the East Coast, in the middle of one of those artsy-fartsy restaurants New York City specifically is known for. A group of about 30 people had gathered there to celebrate Jesus’ nephew’s coming.
Well, baptism, technically, but you get what I mean.
After three hours — yeah, I kid you not, three frickin’ hours (and not in that French way where everybody sits there for eons because it’s the European way to do shiz) — people finally started gathering their things to leave for the evening, because I’m pretty sure I recall things correctly when I say the sun was already starting to set by then, the whole meal took so long. But that is another story.
The core party, of which I was a member, was naturally last to leave. We gathered up the gifts and such, piled on the layers (as it was an awesome-in-the-most-sarcastic-sense-possible 30ish degrees out), and were just about to leave when the new baby mommy (that’s Jesus’ sister) noticed a couple nearby who also had a baby. She struck up a conversation with them about parenthood (duh), and eventually, they exchanged contact information.
Wha-wha-what? What is this that I just witnessed?
Total strangers breaking down the traditional social barriers to potentially become friends — and all because of a baby.
Now, this type of behavior is nothing new. You may have even witnessed it yourself IRL at some point. This just happened to be my first time, but it really got me thinking.
See, I don’t plan to have kids. Nothing against them, I suppose; I just have too much I want to accomplish in my own life, and I know myself well enough to know that, since I’m the type of person who gives pretty much everything I take on my 110 percent, there’s only so much I’m going to be able to take on without sacrificing other things that are really important to me — and that, I’m really not willing to do.
For one. I have a myriad other reasons I don’t want kids, and those of you who know me already know many of them. The above is probably the most important one, though.
It’s no shocker that, as people get older, it can become harder to meet people and build genuine friendships. I say “can become” because clearly, some people have little problem with this — as evidenced by Jesus’ sister.
But this is where things get interesting for me, because she would’ve never talked to them — nor them to her — if they both weren’t babied up.
So where does that leave the unbabied in this realm of building relationships in adulthood? Do we just get dogs, go to a dog park, and hope for the best? What if we don’t want dogs, either? Then what?
I started thinking about this really seriously, and the only conclusion I could come to is, we’d all need to start wearing badges with our interests printed on them. I mean, they could be cool badges — pieces of flair, if you will — but there still needs to be some sensory-gripping mechanism that grabs the attention of like-minded unbabied people and serves to connect them with each other.
Because we’re not talking the Internet, people. We’re talking about real people, people. Those people in your grocery store, the restaurant down the street, the movie theater, the parking garage, the dark alley…
Never had I felt at such a disadvantage by being a non-mama. Granted, this one drawback to me does not come close to touching the many benefits of not having children, but it is noticeable and, at least to me, somewhat disturbing.