My best friend and I are boring each other to tears. She is seven years older than I am, so she is at a different place in life. This wasn’t a problem when we first became friends about 6 years ago (I was 19 then and she was 26, so we both had tons of freedom). Now she’s married, owns her own home and has more responsibilities. Other than work and maintaining my small apartment, I don’t have any responsibilities.
Most of her side of the conversation revolves around yard work, house decorating, running errands, bargain shopping and the crazy events she encounters when trying new recipes. Her stories are never interesting to me anymore. They are literally a step-by-step playback of what she did throughout the day, and she can go on for over an hour. I’m sure the things I talk about are less than entertaining to her, too. I can almost hear her rolling her eyes through the phone when I talk about my co-workers’ annoying habits, my weekend plans, and my sister’s new boyfriend. With our age difference, I knew this was bound to happen.
Eventually, when I get a house and more responsibilities, I’m going to want someone to listen to my fifteen-minute story about the lawnmower breaking, but right now I yawn just thinking about hanging out with her. And she’s not just an acquaintance; she’s my best friend! I still get excited when the phone rings and it’s her number on caller ID, but it only takes a few minutes of talking to remember this new issue.
Do you have any advice on how to liven up this friendship?
Thank you (love your column!),
Stuck in Dullsville
Dear Stuck in Dullsville,
You and your friend are at different places in your lives right now—a situation that is not uncommon. Regardless of age–the lives of two people, even best friends, rarely unfold in parallel.
It sounds like you’re both suffering from a bit of boredom with your usual routines, individually and as a twosome. It’s great that you are aware of the problem and are seeking a way to breathe new life into your friendship. You need to have an honest talk with your friend and together figure out ways to spend some more quality time together each week rather than remaining in a rut.
Can you structure time together to focus on interests that you both share? For example, you could pick out a flick you both want to see (at the movie theater or on DVD) each week, or take a cooking class to learn about a new cuisine, or join a book group with an interesting group of women–or you could both volunteer at a local hospital or community organization. Finding ways to develop new interests and create more shared history will help you stay connected.
One other thought: It may be helpful to limit the number of hours you spend together if you both are bored. Perhaps each of you also needs to expand your friendship portfolio to find other friends who are in similar situations. Often one best friend isn’t enough to share various aspects of our lives.
Hope this is helpful.