Before I got married, I used to swear up and down that Aaron and I would never be one of "those" couples. You know, the ones who, upon getting married, retreat into their married bliss and completely ignore their friends forever. No, I was sure that I'd spend just as much time with my friends after I got married as I did before. I was wrong.
I've been married for a year and a half, and I rarely see or talk to most of my friends. Many of them have graduated and moved away, some have had babies, and some I just....haven't made time for. My ability to make new friends also seems to have completely disappeared. I can do small talk and casual aquaintanceship just fine, but moving to actual friend level? I have no idea how to make that happen.
There are a few reasons for this. First, before I was married, I lived with some of my best friends, so it was pretty easy to make time for them. The friends I didn't live with still mostly lived within a few blocks. It's a lot easier to call someone over from the next room or to walk across the street then it is to drive for half an hour to see a friend.
Also, before I was married, I was attending a singles ward (a Mormon congregation made up of young single adults). In the singles wards, there were constant social activities: FHE, Break the Fast, dinner groups, Institute, and plenty of game nights, dances, and ice skating activities. The family ward I attend now probably has one ward activity every few months, which means if I want to be social, I have to actually plan it myself.
But, if I'm being honest with myself, I can't blame my poor friendship skills on my living situation or on the number of activities my ward has. The reason why my friendships are faltering is that I haven't been putting effort into them. The reason why I haven't been making new friends is because I haven't developed the skills necessary to do so. I've let myself get complacent and lazy with my friendships, and as a result, my friendships have not been flourishing the way I'd like them to.
But I'm going to do better. It's hard and scary, but I'm going to do it. This week I have plans with an old roommate to go to the temple after work, and I have pending plans to go to the gym with a few different people(...still need to follow through on that...). It's really difficult for me to get up the courage to call someone and make plans (what if they don't want to hang out with me? What if they think I'm weird? What if the activity I suggest is one that they hate?) but it's worth it to me. I need the enrichment, the trust, the fun, and even the vulnerability that real friendships provide. I don't really know how to be a good friend in this stage of my life. But I intend to figure it out.