<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/2vuaqDDr--Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Friendship is one of those things in life; one of those don't-know-what-we've-got-'till-it's-gone things. Within my social circle there is a strange phenomenon that occurs when someone gets married - they lose all their friends. That is unless they were one of the last of the friends to get married, in which case they gain the friends back which they lost before. I assumed it was a common thing, but I've realized that it's not; this is a characteristic of the flakey female mormon social circle. It's sad really.
When I got married I really felt isolated. I loved being married. I loved Dave. I loved spending time with him - and we had a lot of fun together. BUT, I still needed friends. I needed girls to talk to, and be with. I found that no matter what effort I put forward to be with the friends that I had before I got married, they just weren't interested in being there for me. I hadn't been in Victoria long, before I met Dave, and we got serious pretty quickly, so I discovered that none of the friendships that I valued, and that I thought ran deep meant much to them. They had their own lives to deal with, the pursuit of their own educations, careers, adventures... and men. Friendships with guys became different as well... they just didn't work anymore, unless they were one of Dave's friends too. And Dave's friends didn't change. In fact- after we got married I saw way more of Dave's friends. One of his friends was over for dinner at least once / week. Nothing changed for him. He had the best of both worlds, and really didn't understand my sorrow in missing my friends.
I've heard people say that finding "couple" friends after you get married is like dating all over again. You make your attempts to find compatible friends that you both get along with. Where the husbands can talk about similar things, the wives get along, and no one annoys anyone too badly. It works best if the friendships work out within and without the couple situation. You put out feelers, send out invites, hang out a few times, and see what kind of friends you can be. Are they "game" friends, "dinner" friends, "favor" friends, "movie" friends? Does the wife come over too when the husband gets an invite to watch sports with Dave? When I invite the wife to something does Dave have to invite the husband to hang out?
At one point one of Dave's closest friends married one of my closest friends... which was a match made in heaven (although I'm sure their marriage is fantastic, I'm referring here to the match of Dave and I to them. Truly heavenly). Unfortunately they moved away, and after months of having the perfect couple friends we were left again to fend for ourselves.
And that's what got me thinking about this whole friendship business. When we got married we were called right away to teach the sunbeams. This meant that although we were moving into Dave's home ward, where everyone had known him, since he was born, no one knew me, and no one (except the lovely 3 year olds) got to know me. We also happened to move into a ward that contained 3 other Sister Wights. This made things difficult for the members of the ward that didn't bother to get to know us, and confused us all the time. 2 of those Sister Wights were named Shannon. My name is not Shannon, but I think people just thought it was a safe bet to call any Wight a Shannon. That happened too many times to count. I really struggled when we first moved in, with finding a place in the ward. I felt isolated and useless. I finally felt like I found a place within the ward when I let go of the hurt and pride that I felt and really made an effort. I did my visiting teaching. I attended Relief Society activities when ever I could, and I really tried to serve the people around me. In doing so I felt like I found a place, and I made connections.
Recently I've sunk back into my slump of feeling lonely again within the ward. I guess it's been since Laura and Chris moved away. We went to Nanaimo last month and saw them, and Laura and I just sat and talked for so long. I forgot that feeling - it had been so long since I'd been able to sit and talk to someone without effort... without guarding my words, or filtering my thoughts.
I've loved living in Victoria since the moment I stepped foot on this beautiful little island, but there are moments - like these- where I wish I could be back in Alberta. Close to family. Close to old friends. It's so hard to be far away sometimes. And it's so hard to feel isolated when surrounded by people that I know. There are so many members of our ward that I knew in YSA. So many people that I thought I was friends with then, and yet now I struggle to carry on a conversation with them. There are moments where I feel like a little girl that's being shunned on the playground... and all I want to do is run home to my mom.
I hate feeling like this. I know there are things that I can do to break out of this- and I know the biggest thing is about my own choices: inviting the spirit in greater measure into my heart and home, making an effort to call, invite, talk to, etc. It's just difficult when every conversation takes effort. I don't want to be the one that complains. I don't want to have a pitty party every time I see pictures on facebook of "friends" parties we weren't invited to. I know that takes a friend to be a friend... or whatever the saying is. I just never pictured myself having to work so hard at it, at this stage in my life.
I guess the pursuit never ends. I witnessed my mom find her dearest friends when we moved to Taber, and that was when she was in her mid40's. So there is time. I do have great friends. My dear friend Kathryn has been there for me since I met her the summer before grade 4. She sends me birthday cards and facebook messages like no one else I know. She is a good friends. Stefanie is a dedicated caller. No matter how many times she gets my voicemail she always calls back. She is a good friend. Laura is so easy to talk to, and is always checking in and filling me in. She is a good friend. Amie is an entertaining phone call no matter what time of the day or night. It usually ends with one of her children screaming, and having to hang up, but we talk often enough that we can fill in the blanks in between. She is a good friend.
I have amazing friends in my life. I just need to remember that... and figure out how to be one in return.