How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps.

Step 276: It’s OK to feel weird when your friends announce big things. Be cool anyway.

It is 800 percent understandable to have mixed feelings when a friend gets engaged, or announces a pregnancy, or gets an amazing job, or goes through any of the other big adulthood milestones.

You might, in succession, be over-the-moon happy for him or her, then feel small and resentful, then ashamed of yourself for those emotions, then back to happy, then worried about what this means for the friendship, then annoyed, then hungry, then like a stupid single female cliché, then return once more to happy within the space of one 4-minute conversation.

Look: If you want those things for yourself but they are not happening, it can be hard. After I broke up with a long-term boyfriend who I thought I was going to marry, going to weddings was really fucking painful for a minute. That doesn’t make me a walking Cathy cartoon; it makes me a human who wants human things.

But a few things to remember:
• This is not about you. Their having this is not why you don’t have it. There was not just one great job/wedding/baby sitting on the shelf, and they took it, and now it will never be yours.
• Straight up, your friendship may/will change, especially in the case of a baby. If someone has just as much time for chatting/going out/etc., then chances are that they are not being a very good parent. Because the baby can — and should — take up all their time.
• Long-term friendships wax and wane, and if they’re a good friend, it’s OK to just not have as much time to spend together for a couple years. Grab it where you can (here are some good suggestions) and don’t feel resentful. If you’ve been friends with this person for 10 years, that friendship isn’t going anywhere. Unless you get butthurt over them doing what they have to do.
• Remember that they’re freaked out, too, and worried about what this means for their friendships. Especially if they’re the first person in your friend-group to go through it, they probably feel weird and distant, and unsure of what they can and can’t say about it.
• If it’s necessary, and the person in question is a close friend, you can admit to the elephant in the room while reassuring him or her that you are legitimately happy for them. “Marie, I am so happy for you. I know how much you’ve wanted this baby, and you and John are going to be amazing parents. I’ll admit that sometimes I feel a little sad, because I care a lot about this friendship and know that it will change a little bit. But know that I love you, and I want to be there for you any way I can, and when you’re done nursing, we are going to have the best girl’s night out ever.”
• This is the hardest one, but: have perspective. If you’re having a tough time, and feeling like the things you want are not coming together for you, remember that everything can (and likely will) look totally different 18 months from now. Serenity! What an elusive, but necessary, trollop she is.

25th Jan 2013 573 notes , Comments
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