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Michelle Otelsberg(Marriage & Family Therapist)answered(1/30/2013)This is definitely a difficult thing as we start getting older. In relationships we gravitate towards people who we have things in common with - in college we hang out in sororities or other clubs, as we get married we hang out with other "couples" and when we get pregnant, our friends tend to be other moms. When you get married, you want to do things that include your significant other, so you look for other couples to hang out with. When you have kids, you want to spend time with people who understand the demand of being a mom - less sleep, less sex, less free time, etc. But we also want to maintain the friendships we have had. The best way to do that, is to hang out with them one-on-one and do something you have in common. It's also helpful to talk with your friends about how you are feeling. Share their happiness for their new experiences, but let them know you want to still be a part of their lives.
Michelle Brock(Certified Life Coach & Hypnotist)answered(3/1/2013)This one is tough that I can relate to very well. Getting engaged and married and pregnant and giving birth are enormous milestones in a woman's life. They are life changing events, and with any major life change comes the possibility that certain friends may not come with you into the new phase. It sounds like you want to keep these friendships, that they mean more to you than a friendship based on common interests or being in the same phase of life. I have all of my "mommy friends", great women that I met and connected with because we were both pushing a 2-year-old on a swing at the playground. But, I also have my "old school" friends- the women who have been in my life through thick and thin, regardless of what phase we have both been in at the time. The difference between these two types of friends involves the amount of love and care we have for one another, as well as how much we have both been willing to invest in the friendship. One of my "old school" friend who was blissfully single and childless suffered a trip to the beach with me and my two toddlers (think diapers, goldfish crackers, tantrums, and sand everywhere) instead of spending that time in bed with a good book because they loved me and our friendship meant a lot to them. I have also spent hours listening to how many different types of flowers would be in each bridesmaid bouquet and watched bride-to-be friends try on 40 pairs of shoes looking for the right ones for their honeymoon when I was not only not married or engaged, but had just been dumped by a boyfriend. That was her day, her special time and I knew that it was important that I be there for her, even if it made me feel bad, sad, or left out. Years later, we are both divorced and still have each other and an amazing friendship that we both know will last our whole lives. My advice to you is to stick it out. If you feel left out of group discussions, ask questions. Be interested about the seating arrangements, what color of white the veil is, what names they have picked out for boys, or the details of their last sonogram. Be honest with yourself- maybe you feel left out because you don't feel like you can contribute something of your own to the conversation topics. That's ok, you don't need to. You have your own fabulous life with your own stories, but maybe right now it seems to be more about them and less about you. Ask yourself if you feel bad about where you are at in your life- does feeling left out of discussions translate to feeling left out of these milestones? If so, that is totally normal! Of course we take stock in our own situation when we feel that "everyone else" is moving forward. But just remember- the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. Many marrieds and especially new parents envy the freedom and simplicity of single life, so chances are they will hang on every word of your stories involving your exciting and fun single life very soon. Keep the focus on the friendship, regardless of what is happening in your lives. Be there for them during this exciting time, even if you have to feel a bit left out for a while. And then, when it is your turn for it to be all about you, you will have a bunch of wonderful friends who will be there to cheer you on as you celebrate these milestones in your life.