Who’s Your BFF?

by Mémé

It is fashionable these days to designate your spouse/partner, if you have one, as your best friend. I certainly feel that way about my husband, although I do have a female friend for the past 15 years who fills the role of “best girlfriend”. She and her husband also married later in life, there are no children on either side, and their marriage is even tighter than mine, so the friendship works for both of us as another place to share.

I still think there is another sort of relationship with a traditional best friend that I don’t have and that has great value for adults, partnered or not. Almost everyone has the real or faux mom/dad or work friends. Some have a long history with college or childhood friends, maybe not one special but a special group.

Totebaggers, please share your thoughts and experiences. And your opinion – can your partner really be a best friend?



128 thoughts on “Who’s Your BFF?

  1. There are a couple of guys from work whom I’ve grown closer with, but it’s just sort of at that level. We keep saying that we’ll get our families together this summer, and I believe that we will. I’m certainly not as close with them as I was with guys in my previous life, to which I too often allude, but I don’t know that it’s really possible to get there if you’re not forced by circumstance to spend so much time with each other.

    DW is kind of the same way, and it bothers her more than it bothers me.

  2. I have had work friendships that have faded after leaving the job; friends from elementary through HS years, that have faded over time as life takes over, and I have had friends of circumstance-someone I meet through avenues such as the kid’s school, etc. None that are that close or lasting, as things in our respective lives change, so does the nature of the relationship. And that is ok-it fills a need for that space and time. But my DH is my best friend, and most favorite person in the world, and we spend all our time with one another-as a choice. He is my number one, and I wouldn’t change that. I never had a need for a BFF, or a circle of friends. I am selective with whom to share personal things, so this suits me.

  3. DH is close to a relative of his (not a sibling). I would consider that person to be DH’s best friend. I see how close my kids are to their friends. My DD more so. I wish I had that kind of friendship. I never had that even while in school. My friends from school are peculiar because, within a wide circle, there will be clusters of three or four who are very close. These friendships have survived different colleges, marriage, moves to other countries, births of kids and now college aged kids in many cases.

  4. My husband is my best friend. That is how I knew he was “the one”. No one I dated previously was my best friend.

    My sister is my other best friend. We were always close as kids, though we fought too of course. She is only 2 years older, so by the time I was in high school, we started hanging out in the same circle of friends. 2 of these friends we still get together with and were in each other’s weddings.

    It is so hard for all 4 of us to get together between our kids schedules ( we have 1, 2, 3 and 4 kids from age 2-14)

  5. I considered whether to allow for multiple answers, but then I decided that the question was about ONE best friend. That’s different from girls who seem to have many BFFs. :)

    My best friend is my spouse. Most other friendships have not endured, which has caused me regrets sometimes.

  6. I wish I had the kind of relationship with my mother that Rory has on the Gilmore Girls. I have a boy, but I hope I can be a good parent and be his friend as he grows up.

  7. I have a best friend from high school but we only see each other once a year. We were true blue best friends at the time and have known each other since we were seven. Can still pick up right where we left off even though our husbands will probably never be friends (which can put a damper on things). I had three best friends in college but we don’t see each other very much. They are all in the NY/NJ area and I’m down here. I miss them tremendously but we’re all busy with kids right now. I know they would always be there for me and vice versa. We’re trying to have a get together this summer and I’m really going to push to make it happen.

    I don’t have a best friend in Atlanta but I really do like my friends down here. Yes, they are friends I’ve made through my kids but I would like them all anyway. I would confide in them if I had a problem but it’s not at the same level that my high school best friend and college best friends are just because it’s a different life stage. DH and my sisters are probably my best friends right now at this point.

  8. Well/ I kinda get a twofer here…my best friend, since sophomore year in college is my best friend. My DW is indeed my best friend, too, and I met her in grad school.

    My best friend lives on the west coast, so we see each other very infrequently but we talk, usually long talks, 4-6x/year.

    Day-to-day, I don’t really have a ‘best friend’ who’s just a friend locally.

  9. My DH is my best friend. How could he not be? He is my confidant and I can tell him anything and everything without feeling judged (maybe because he is just looking like he is listening?).

    My other best friend is from high school. We haven’t seen each other in several years, and our communication comes and goes in waves. For a period of time I had kids and she didn’t, and we would go a few months without communication. Then one of us would drop a line to say hello and it we pick up right where we left off. Now she has kids and we text or email almost daily. She is a great sounding off board when my DH or MIL does something that irritates me and I need to just get it off my chest.

  10. Do any of you have best friends of the opposite sex, besides your spouse? Most of my friends from college and my first ten years of working were men. While I considered them best friends at the time, not now.

  11. I’m closest to my husband, but I don’t consider him my best friend forever. Maybe due to my husband’s personality he just isn’t going to do the same type of give and take conversations that I get with my closest girlfriend. I definitely talk to my husband about everything first, but if I still need to talk through something that’s bothering me, I’m going to get the support or whatever I need from my best girlfriend.

  12. I have noticed in my extended family that women are very close to their sisters. They call each other frequently and also do things together. I am not close to my SILs mainly because they have sisters they are best friends with.

  13. Interesting topic. I feel very lucky to have a handful of exceptionally close people in my life: DH, 4 nearby women (2 in town, 2 nearby), 1 female cousin about 5 hours away and 1 male friend (DD’s godfather) in California, with whom I’ve been very close for 20 years.

    I see the 4 nearby women often–once/week or so for one, once/month or so for the other three, and talk via phone/text/email to all of them (almost daily for 1, at least once/week for another and intermittently for the other 2). I talk to my cousin at least once/week–she is my afternoon commute-time phone call, many days. I talk to my male friend (also on my afternoon commute) on average twice/month, and have done that for over a decade.

    When I met DH, he was well aware of my friendship with the guy. DH is not the jealous type, and he believed me when I (truthfully) said it was a purely platonic relationship, so there has never been an issue. We both see this friend when we go to CA, he comes here to see us, we meet him other places, etc. I’ve been to see him on my own, too, and DH has no issue. I am very aware not all spouses would have been so easygoing about this.

    I used to talk to my sister a preposterous number of times–at least once daily, and often more. We’d call to say what we were making for dinner, what we were wearing, etc. Any time she and her husband did anything, he’d tell her, “You should call Risley and tell her.” And after she hung up, he’d say, “Now you’d better email her about it.” I’d have the kids call to tell her about their day, etc. It was really fun, and we kept it up for a number of years, but we outgrew it, or got busy, or something. I should call her up now and tell her I just wrote this…

  14. I have had the same BFF since 7th grade when I sat in front of her in science class. We have had periods of time where we didn’t talk or see each other much, but always pick right back up as though no time has passed. All of my really good long-lasting friends are sister-less. I think we all have had to fill that void through friends.

  15. I had 2 best friends from college, one we had a falling out. the other (male) got married and moved away and had kids and I haven’t really seen him since the wedding :( we talk on fb rarely

  16. I have one childhood friend and one from high school who also became a college roommate with whom I am still very close. There are also several more college friends that I can get together with once a year or less and it’s still like we never missed a beat. I love Facebook for helping us keep in touch better. I have a few good friends in town, but without the shared history it’s hard to be really close. H was my best friend for a while, but we let things get so bad that we can barely talk now and mostly communicate about DD by text. In college, I had some male friends in my major who I studies with and were also part of my larger circle of friends. My mom used to joke that they would be my bridesmaids, so she was quite happy when I selected my girl friends instead!

  17. that is maybe for the best.

    I did have feelings for him at one time- one sided I think (before I met DH of course)

    he was dating someone , and like Ted Mosby on HIMYW, the window opened one time and he started dating someone else within about a week and later married her

    which is definitely for the best, because than I might not have met DH

    so if you have feelings for someone, don’t wait to tell them because you never know if that window will open again

  18. @SWVA – I’ve been thinking about you this week. I’ve been watching the congressional hearings on Flint, and your VA Tech guy, Edwards, was amazing on Tuesday. Everyone else is in a fancy suit — he shows up in an old, ratty button down from maybe 1985 and a garish tie (he had a blazer on too, but it didn’t hide the shirt and tie). Everyone else started their spiel with, “I’d like to thank the committee for inviting me, I’d like to thank the ranking member…” — he just started right in on excoriating the EPA (along with the state and local actors). The members participating are in loooove with him.

  19. Although I tell my husband everything, chit chat is work for him. He just doesn’t need to poke at a subject from various angles like I do. So for that, I need my girlfriends. My best friend is my former college roommate, and we talk about once a month but are in different states. I have a former co-worker with whom I get together about once a month, and another high school/college friend that lives down here that I see monthly. All three matter a great deal to me. When I lived in the same city as my out of state friend, we had lunch about three times a week and supported each other through everything. i hope to keep these women in my life forever. My sister and I used to be very close – we would talk at least 4-5 times a week, but that has tapered off in the last couple of years. That makes me a little sad.

  20. Hmm… interesting.

    I have three friends from different pieces of my life who are my BFFs for different reasons.

    (1) my high school BFF. We’ve been friends for 20 years (plus). She’s DS’s godmother, and I talk to her quite regularly. We see each other as often as we can. She still lives in NJ.
    (2) a pen pal (OK email pal). We met in a chat room ~20 years ago. We stayed friends through email, now FB. We text/call frequently (more texting). He’s a truly platonic friend, too immature to be anything other than that. But I love him dearly. DH calls him the preexisting condition. Like Risley, DH was never jealous or suspicious. And still isn’t. I’m very lucky that way.

    Neither uses FB, so we really don’t connect there.

    (3) DH. I’ve known him for 17 years. He’s been there through everything, and I’ve been with him through everything. He’s my go-to for crises, chit chat, and the person I yell at when I need to yell.

    DH cannot fill the roles that Friend 1 and 2 fill. And Friend 1 and 2 would never fill DH’s role. It just works out.

  21. Wine – the nones are curious.

    I wonder if they think like my aunt – she claims to have no friends outside of family. So she doesn’t see her sister or cousins as BFFs, but as sisters and cousins.

    I understand her thoughts. While I have friends who aren’t family, I only find myself routinely communicating with the 2 I mentioned above. And maybe one friend from grad school.

  22. “I’m kind of surprised so many answered “none” on the poll”

    Well, we’re here, aren’t we? Selection bias.

    I could have answered DW, but I think that’s kind of cheesy and redundant, and I have friends, but none of my current friends would meet what I’d consider the typical criteria for “BFF,” and those who were previously in that category, I may get together with once or twice a year. So I answered “none.”

  23. I kind of figured the “none” were either married like Milo but didn’t pick spouse, or single without a close family member. It is harder to have a friend “BFF” as an adult.

  24. “DH cannot fill the roles that Friend 1 and 2 fill. And Friend 1 and 2 would never fill DH’s role. It just works out.”

    This is pretty much how I feel. DH is the person that I am closest to in the world, but he doesn’t fill the role of girlfriend, and I very much like having girlfriends.

    I have a very tight circle of friends from college, so we’ve been friends for over 20 years now (damn we keep getting older). Technology has been so incredible for us to be able to keep in close touch even though we don’t all live near each other. Constant group chats, etc. We do make an effort to get together physically at least twice a year as well – one time with all our families and once as just the girls.

    I also have a post-college close friend who I have been tight with for 15 years + now. We see each other frequently as we still live near each other. She is single though, so we make more of an effort to connect than when we were both in the same life stage.

    I am also close to my aunt who is closer to my age than my mom’s age.

    As far as male friends. In retrospect, the close male friendships that I had pre-DH were probably not pure in intent on one or both sides, and it is appropriate that we are no longer close. I do have good relationships with my BIL’s and some of DH’s best friends. So that fills the void in not having male friends of my own. And also I have male work friendships that are very innocent in nature, but would never last beyond these for 4 walls. If one of us leaves, we wouldn’t speak again except to network.

  25. Friends are something I really struggle with. I’ve found that friendships tend to be pretty situational at this stage in life. I’ve made friends with coworkers and those have faded after one or the other of us left the job. It’s hard to find the time to maintain friendships with everything else that’s going on in our lives. I think I’ve told the story of how it took 5 months just to find time to have a beer with the dad of one of DD’s softball teammates last year.

  26. I had a best friend from 1st through 4th grade and then one in HS, and a few good friends in college and law school. DH is my best friend now, but I do wish I had a best girlfriend. I see an occasional friend who is GREAT to share things with and reminisce/gossip about college classmates, but she is more of an extrovert than I am and so has many other more interesting friends. Sigh!

    On yesterday’s topic – I missed bc our home inspection took TEN HOURS! – you can have your 18 yo sign a health care directive/proxy and a HIPAA form, and give it to the university health services, so that the parent can be named as the health care agent and the doctors can share information with you. The student would have to give it to the health services, though, for it to be effective as far as they’re concerned.

  27. “It’s hard to find the time to maintain friendships with everything else that’s going on in our lives.”

    “We do make an effort to get together physically at least twice a year as well – one time with all our families and once as just the girls.”

    I would have found it almost impossible to find the time to travel to visit friends during the time I was working FT and raising my kids. We all try to make time for the priorities in our lives, and probably for some of us close friendships are a higher priority.

    And Milo, who ya calling ‘cheesy and redundant’? :D

  28. winemama – no way, no how. All of my past relationships crashed and burned. DH also doesn’t like to hear about anything that happened prior to my meeting him, so couldn’t be friends with them anyway.

  29. L — but that proxy form would only work for doctors at the college health services, not elsewhere like emergency rooms, right?

  30. My only sib and I fought bitterly growing up. Neither of us would have said we were friends.

    Two years ago, Sib was diagnosed with cancer. The treatment seems to be working, but now we both know we may not have the luxury of time to fix our relationship.

    So now we talk every day, and try a lot harder to get along.

    You never know.

  31. My sister is my closest friend now, though as Irish twins sharing a room in a too-small house we didn’t always get along very well. As life has hit us with different challenges, we have been there for each other. After our mom died, no one else on the planet would understand or care about some of the minutia of our lives (trying to decide on a purchase, buying several options and mulling them over at home, followed by inevitable returns), and we can often finish each other’s sentences or know exactly what the other is thinking.

    I also have a male friend who was a colleague from the law firm who has sometimes served as my best friend, especially during the early years as a baby attorney and the recent years with health and parenting struggles. There are few other people with whom I can share the grammar sins I daily encounter, and he often provides a helpful perspective on all things male. (As do some of the regulars here).

    And speaking of regulars here, thanks to whomever (Milo?) mentioned Friday Night Lights as a good show. Texas high school football is so not my thing, but when DH proposed it my first response was that my blog liked it too. He’s not sure how to respond to those comments.

  32. My female best friend from HS turned into a case of unrequited love, so it would seem awkward if we ever got together now, particularly without our spouses. Still, she usually ‘likes’ whatever I post on Facebook, and even that sometimes feels a little strange.

    I can’t imagine going off to visit her by myself.

  33. CoC – it would also work at emergency rooms, but the issue is that they would have to bring a copy with them! Here with Partners (giant monopoly), all the hospitals’ electronic records are integrated so they can see your health care proxy on their system.

  34. :”Friday Night Lights”

    It’s great. Besides House of Cards, we’re working our way through How to Get Away with Murder.

  35. No way on friends with exes. My high school boyfriend and I tried to be “friends” and totally crashed and burned. Then I met DH about a year after we broke up and so it just seemed best to stop talking. Dh is friends with some exes on FB and I really don’t mind that level of keeping up but wouldn’t want him to meet an ex for drinks for example (particularly the girlfriend that came before me because she had a particularly difficult time in getting over the relationship). All of my male friends from college I don’t keep up with, probably because DH claims that things weren’t all that platonic on their side (they were all fraternity brothers of my DH). All married with kids now and love to see them but I think it would be weird for me to be chatting with them frequently.

  36. “It’s hard to find the time to maintain friendships with everything else that’s going on in our lives. I think I’ve told the story of how it took 5 months just to find time to have a beer with the dad of one of DD’s softball teammates last year.”

    I find it hard to make new friendships because of our stage of life, but maintaining the old ones is something that I prioritize when I can. That’s probably why I haven’t made a new close friend since my mid-20’s.

    “I would have found it almost impossible to find the time to travel to visit friends during the time I was working FT and raising my kids. We all try to make time for the priorities in our lives, and probably for some of us close friendships are a higher priority.”

    Oh I know. It is something that takes work to do, and we are all in the same general area of the country, so it is only an hour plane ride to see each other. We’ll often do a early flight in, then one night together, then a flight back. Most of my friends also have more kids than I do, so it makes it harder for them to leave them behind. We are planning a long trip this year though to celebrate our milestone birthday year together, and I am greatly looking forward to it.

  37. @Risley – I know, isn’t he awesome? Of course, I’m worried about you if you’re so bored that you’re watching congressional hearings!

  38. I selected college BFF instead of DH. If we could have more than one choice, I would have listed childhood BFF next. I love DH, and we share a lot…but I really adore and enjoy my time with my girlfriends.

    I speak to several of my college friends a few times a week, and they live in other states. The one person that I selected use to live in NY and we shared so much during those long single years. We had our babies within weeks of each other, and we are still close even though we live 100s of miles apart. If I can swing a trip to see her this year, I will let a couple of you know because I will be near DD and RMS.

    I travel with my college friends for girls weekends, and we try to do this at least every other year. We also visit each other as families, and I just find my time with them to be so much more meaningful than my local friends.

    I do have two close friends in my neighborhood, but I’ve written about the tension that i still feel with them. I don’t share as much with them because there could always be some blow up between our kids. We see them all of the time, and we even vacation with them – but it still doesn’t feel as genuine to me as the friendships that I have with my college friends.

    I do keep in touch with my ex boyfriend from HS. I recently posted about him because he is the one that got married for the first time at 50. We went to each other’s weddings, and we talk a few times a year. We remained friends all through our adult lives, but we were able to remain platonic because it was definitely over after HS, and because we are only able to visit in person about once a year.

  39. I do meet male friends without DH for lunch or drinks. I met all of them through work. I maintain relationships with two former managers that are men, and I will meet them for coffee or lunch. DH has met almost all of these guys at one point through weddings or BBQs. We used to do a lot more socially with them before everyone had kids, but I don’t think he minds at all when I meet them for lunch or drinks. Most of his friends are former work colleagues, and a few are women. I was concerned about one woman that he was really close to when we first met. They had each other’s apartment keys, and they were really close friends. I admit that I did feel some relief when we were invited to her wedding a few years ago. She was marrying another woman.

  40. I read a piece not that long ago in which the author argued that your spouse shouldn’t be your best friend. But the reasons given seemed to be based on the assumption that it’s only possible to have one really good friend, which is false (at least in my experience). My husband is absolutely my best friend–we just really love talking to each other about everything and spending time together. But I also have several other very close friends, one from high school and two from college (who live out of town), plus a handful of women in my current city with whom I am close enough to share personal/mothering/career struggles and triumphs.

  41. Even better than Friday Night Lights is Friday Night Tykes – an inside look at Texas youth football. They are starting a spinoff called Friday Night Tykes Steel City or something like that following a league in the Pittsburgh area. If you ever feel like you’re a bad parent, this will take care of it.

  42. so if you have feelings for someone, don’t wait to tell them because you never know if that window will open again

    Meh. My mom would have lectured you that “he knows you’re single and available, he’ll call if he’s interested.”

    My friendships tend to be a little tempestuous. Because of reasons, I had a lot of destructive friendships in my youth. Tight, but destructive.

    One of my dear friends from the last 10 years I met online. She’s awesome. I never would have been friends with her in college because I would have thought, “too hippy-dippy”, but online no one can tell you drive a 1967 VW Bug and are constantly saving the whales.

    I’m back in touch with my college best friend, and that’s been great. My high school best friend and I always had a close but troubled relationship. I quit speaking to her for 10 years, but now we’re tentatively talking again. My college boyfriend and I are still friends, but that’s partly because the relationship was always more friendship than passion.

    DH is definitely jealous and would resist my being friends with any man who is not gay. Really gay. And he’s probably right, because I haven’t always been good about keeping relationships platonic, so probably best to keep me on a fairly short leash. You never know what I might do.

    And finally, my “lunch group” from high school has kind of come together on Facebook, and it’s been nice to get back together with people at this stage of life. It’s also a useful reminder about how irritating some of those folks were and why I didn’t always keep in close touch. :-)

  43. I will let a couple of you know because I will be near DD and RMS.


  44. I am really hoping to be there at the end of the summer, but we can’t make any plans due to health issues with my inlaws.

  45. My recent retirement foray into playing “bridge with the ladies”, as opposed to solely cutthroat bridge with my husband or teacher, has really surprised me. It is a way for me to maintain a circle of friends without having to be immersed to BFF extent – I don’t have that ability or inclination. The recent widow that I played with today at the chatty game and I had a great time, even though she isn’t always paying close attention. I have figured out what sort of score to expect, we played really good defense today which is hard and satisfying, and she is a very bright and interesting woman. The very good but 80 plus player I am also partnering (she is still married, but her partners keep dying off) and I also are maintaining a friendship through the game.

    My husband’s recent illness (and they just decided to suspend one of his most effective meds because some blood value is too high – it never ends) really brought it home to me that if I live my life so that he and my daughters (when willing and available) are my only true friends, I am going to end up in a heap of trouble.

  46. I have always had a good circle of girlfriends at each stage of life, and even as we have moved locations have stayed in close contact with many of them. I’m not sure that I have one “best” friend, but I do have a number of female friends I would consider close/intimate friends, where the relationship isn’t dependent on geography or circumstance.

    Where we live now, I have 3-4 very good girlfriends, and we all see each other several times/week (mostly for runs) – they’re the friends I can talk about anything with. Our husbands are also friends and will get together independently or we’ll all meet up at one person’s house. But of the group, no one is “exclusive” and no one is too much up in each other’s business (I’ve seen that dynamic, and I think it’s weird). Then outside that group I have another 5-7 friendships with women I enjoy seeing and would happily chat with/go for a walk with/meet for lunch, but it’s more friendly rather than friendship.

  47. “it would also work at emergency rooms, but the issue is that they would have to bring a copy with them!”

    Would a pdf of the proxy on the phone work? How about if the parents show up with a copy?

  48. My best friend since 1977 is suffering from depression. Her depression has been there since I’ve known her but has really gone off the chart since her daughter’s death (not surprising). She doesn’t want to be around people (including me) and I really miss our daily interactions. She no longer lives around the corner but only 15 minutes away – I don’t mind driving over.

    She was recently in the hospital and seemed to welcome my daily visit – her husband was thrilled that she was interacting with people better, After she came home from the hospital she was okay for a couple of weeks, wanting me to stop in and say hi, Now she is sliding back into not wanting people around or want to get out of the house and do something. It breaks my heart to see her suffer and it hurts that I no longer have that connection with her,

  49. “but online no one can tell you drive a 1967 VW Bug and are constantly saving the whales.”

    Lol. Clearly this is someone who’s not familiar with the benefits of catalytic converters, or the downside to driving around with a 50-year-old carburetor.

    But I’ll bet she silently curses every Tahoe that whizzes by her. :)

  50. Nah. She loved that car. Sadly, a very old guy made a wrong turn and smashed into it while it was parked. She has a new Fiat 500 now, and is willing to admit that being able to drive from Point A to Point B without breaking down has some advantages.

  51. My sister is 6 timezones away (5 during winter) so we’re more close in theory than in day-to-day interaction. We do pick right up when we’re together, though. I have college and law school roommates that are like that too.

    I have work friends, and mom friends/ families that we’re friends with, but no current-life besties. So clearly it’s my husband who I’m closest to on a day-to-day basis! And of course we do enjoy doing things together, talking together, traveling together, that’s why we’re married. But there is something to be said for a same-sex bff too.

    I’m not still friends with exes.

  52. Yeah, ok, I was trite and said DH. Sosumi, it’s the truth. We dated long distance until after we were engaged, and I generally hate talking on the phone (thank God for http://www.papajohns.com, or my kids would never get pizza delivery), so he and I really had to click to make it past about week 2.

    The flip side of that is that it makes it too easy for me to let other relationships slip. I’m an introvert who spends 101% of available energy on all the people I have to deal with at work and with other obligatory people stuff (e.g., kid activities, work social events, my mom, his family, etc), so it is too easy just to come home and chitchat with DH and call it good. I have had great friends from HS, college, and law school, but I find it harder to make friends in regular life — there’s something about going through the metaphorical trenches together that makes a natural bond. I am still better friends with those women than anyone else I know now (although I’m certainly friendLY with a few here). But it’s more like “I’ll call you when I’m in town” than anything else.

    Of course, that’s also why I like having his sisters near and my own family available via email – makes it nice and relatively easy to chat about stuff and have other grownup female interaction. And we’re related, so we have to be nice to each other. 😉

  53. It’s a nice feature of this site that we can check in on our own schedule — I don’t have to worry about whether my comment is going to arrive too late and wake anyone — and if life happens and someone disappears for a few days, it may not even be noticed.

    Of course the same could be said of FB and I have been extremely remiss about posting there in the last couple of years. I guess the Totebag offers a superior level of conversation! Or at least fewer posts of lunch photos or would-be-viral glurge to weed through.

  54. While I would consider my best friend to be a guy I’ve known since HS, he lives thousands of miles away and we don’t keep in regular contact. When we do, other than catching up, it’s like no time has passed.

    But increasingly, the people with whom I have a lot of interesting conversations are my kids, DS especially since he’s older. His interests are a lot closer to mine than DW’s, and we have political discussions that I wouldn’t have with anyone outside my family, which means at this point not with anyone besides my brother. Perhaps I’ll have more of those with DD as she gets older; I already have more of those with her than anyone other than DS.

  55. I’m an introvert who spends 101% of available energy on all the people I have to deal with at work and with other obligatory people stuff (e.g., kid activities, work social events, my mom, his family, etc), so it is too easy just to come home and chitchat with DH and call it good.

    This is DW. I’m along those lines, but not to that extent. The upshot is we don’t socialize much, which makes it hard to develop friendships.

  56. Thinking back my move made it hard to keep friends. There is no one here who knows us pre kids. Most of my neighbors moved here before some of their kids were born and the biggest thing, was my being at work full time and generally unavailable when everyone else was/is home with their kids. I can’t sit outside on nice weekday afternoons and when I am home things in the house keep me busy. I do make it a point to walk outside, say hi and chat with my neighbors. We have quite a good community here, even though I don’t have close friends.

  57. Why smart people are better off with fewer friends

    Smart people tend to like living in more densely populated areas but they like to socialize less frequently.  Hmm.  The possible explanations are food for thought, but not settled science.  Here’s one, and the article discusses others.

    … “The findings in here suggest (and it is no surprise) that those with more intelligence and the capacity to use it … are less likely to spend so much time socializing because they are focused on some other longer term objective,” she said.

  58. “I’m an introvert who spends 101% of available energy on all the people I have to deal with at work and with other obligatory people stuff ”

    “the biggest thing, was my being at work full time and generally unavailable when everyone else was/is home with their kids.”

    ^ Two reasons I probably found it hard to make friends when I was working FT with young kids at home.

  59. I’m here at the beach with moms whom I consider friends, but mostly it’s because our boys are friends. One mom I’ve known since our boys were in toddlers together, but I suspect that after graduation we’ll all devolve into chatting when we otherwise run into each other. Most of my friendships are very situational. Which worries me for when I retire.

  60. “Smart people tend to like living in more densely populated areas ”

    Do they like it, or do they endure it because that’s where most of the higher-paying jobs are?

  61. I was at a community event and realized that now women are doing so many things with their kids, that as their kids grow the kids sort of take the place of friends. It wasn’t this way, when I was growing up. I can’t describe it properly but there was much more of a gap between adults and kids, parents and children.

  62. Yeah, Louise. I think you’re right on this.

    Thinking about the topic, I probably am closer to Junior to anyone else. I’m lucky enough, however, to have a fairly wide network of real adults, who I do, in fact, rely on and love very deeply.

    I’ve never thought that parents should be “friends” to their kids, at least when they are young. On the contrary, I figure as a parent, I am there to be a role model and an arbiter and to teach my kid how to be a man.

    But I find myself being his mother also. I’m not his mom, of course, but every boy needs a mom, and I’m the best Junior’s got. (I’ve said before I feel guilty about that.)

    I also find myself being comfortable with Junior. He’s a good and nice guy in his own right. I truly do like him– I love him more, but that’s a completely different thing. We make a neat little team– and we are a team. There really are only the two of us. His aunts are old battle axes– think Selma and Patty– who we both happen to love for reasons that we can’t figure (but they amuse us). His godmother is far away but a hugely important person. Some of his teachers take a personal interest. We are lucky in that respect.

    Junior also has an easy way with his friends. Of course, I encourage that.

    But at the end of the day and it always is an end of the day, I suppose Junior and I are closest. I love him to the moon, and even back, and I hope this continues.

  63. On the other hand, he knows all my buttons, and I know many of his. It can be rocky.

  64. PTM – you’ve just described the relationship with my mom… the teens/20s were difficult. I think the 20s more than the teens because I was trying to cut the umbilical cord and she was trying to tie me down.

    I was at a conference today and I realized how much of an introvert I truly am. I play extrovert, but I cling to the people I know. I had the toughest time talking to people I didn’t know. And then I come home and shut down. It is emotionally exhausting.

    That’s probably why I have like 3-4 good friends and maybe 8-10 people who are fun to hang out with, but aren’t quite in the “good friend” category. And I don’t see anyone that often. I can talk/text the BFFS and call it good. I don’t need to be the social butterfly.

  65. “that as their kids grow the kids sort of take the place of friends”

    Especially when you can have better conversations with your kids than most adults.

    In some cases, e.g., politics, that’s because you’re family. It may also be because you just have similar interests.

  66. “moms whom I consider friends, but mostly it’s because our boys are friends.”

    Our situation is similar. The adults DW and I currently socialize with most are parents of our kids’ friends, and I also wonder how much those friendships will continue once our kids leave the nest. We’ve already seen how we’ve lost contact with some parents since DD quit softball just a few months ago.

    There is a group of friends I keep in touch with here who either have no kids, or whose kids have flown the nest, with me being the only one with kids at home. They get together frequently, and I can see myself, either alone or with DW, joining them more frequently when DS leaves, and even more frequently when both kids are gone.

  67. “Do they like it, or do they endure it because that’s where most of the higher-paying jobs are?”

    Well, they are happier in a more densely populated environment, so I don’t know if “endure” is the right way to describe it. Maybe the overall lifestyle their high-paying jobs provide make them happier than alternative of living elsewhere.

  68. I think a lot of people from small towns or rural areas who are more than 1 or two standard deviations from the mean for many characteristics will move to more populous locales where they are more likely to find suitable peer groups.

  69. I was at a conference today and I realized how much of an introvert I truly am.

    This is why I’m always astonished at the reports that conferences are hotbeds of infidelity. I hate conferences. All of them. I put in my time shmoozing and chatting and trying to make whatever connections or deals are required of me, and then I go back to my room and watch Law & Order and drink and cry. Haaaate conferences.

  70. @Finn: ITA.

    @Rocky: well, at least now we know what extroverts do at those things, eh?

  71. @Rhode – I am kind of surprised that you feel that way, just because when I met you, you were so warm and chatty. I could picture you getting along very well at a conference or in groups of new people. But introversion is about energy and needing a break from people, so of course you can come across as very friendly and still feel drained after interactions with new people.

  72. Unrelated question. We are in the market for a new couch and really know nothing about buying good quality furniture. Can anyone recommend brands that are good?

  73. my car purchase, skip if you’re uninterested. I’ll be as brief as possible.

    Background: The plan was to buy a car in the summer, before DS3’s senior year of hs. No, he doesn’t NEED a car for his senior year, but it would take a load off DW and me since he’ll still have football, ice hockey, track, his job as an ice hockey referee, volunteer work, and maybe a social life. Besides which the 2002 e-class I bought 5 years ago for $11k out the door is looking like a car in its 15th year here in winter-salt land. When I bought it I said it’d be a 5yr car. Runs great, looks its age, is safe…perfect teenager car.

    DS1 and I went to the auto show here a couple of weekends back so I could see and sit in a bunch of cars that I was considering. I wanted a sedan but was also considering an SUV. The Toyota Highlander was very comfortable for me and would probably be what I’d get myself if I went that way. The sedans I liked the most were the Infiniti Q50 (smaller) and Q70 (larger). DS told me the Q70 was better for me…but of course also more expensive.

    Over the next week or so I started looking online at how much these cars were really selling for. Cargurus.com is a good site for figuring out how much give an asking price might have because they show how long a car has been listed for sale. The longer, the more leverage for the buyer. We only have one infiniti dealer here, so no competition. I am willing to drive if the price is good enough.

    For the Q50 (no 2016 model yet) the 2015s with what I want can be had for about $40k, as listed on some dealers’ websites. Actually the lowest pricing I found was in Hanover, MA (Prime). I was just going to wait till the 2016s come out and then try to get one. Well, as I was looking, I glanced at the Q70 pricing and found 5 2015s being offered by the same dealership group in NE PA for a little under $41k (~$54k list), about 3.5 hours from here. Cheapest in the country. Infiniti had just put a $7500 manufacturer-to-dealer incentive on all remaining 2015s and these guys were showing it on the internet. Has everything I want and then some included in its base price in one of the colors I can accept . The local guy has one but it’s not in a color I like, so I didn’t even start the conversation with them.

    I first contacted them thru their “get your e-price” button on their website. Their internet rep called (phonecall #1) me and said the price on the website was the price (Truecar had that same price). I said I couldn’t really afford that, and knowing from cargurus that the car had been with them for about a year, I knew there’d be some room to move, so she put me on hold and “called the sales manager”, coming back with a price $600 (1.5%) lower. I said I’d see if that worked and I would call back. I called them back (call #2) and told them I needed to be $630 lower. She said she’d call back. Well, the sales manager called me back (#3) gave me some line and said he could only go another $250 lower. Sold! I got within 1% of my target price, $850 below truecar. He emailed me a purchase agreement and I put a deposit down on my credit card.

    We’re to pick up the car this coming week, probably Friday.

    Lessons: I never mentioned a number/price I was looking for until the 2nd call. I never set foot on the dealer’s lot. You too can buy a car the easy, simple way.

  74. DD – for middle of the road stuff, we have had good luck with Room and Board and Mitchell Gold. Terrible time with Ethan Allen.

  75. DD – another vote for Room and Board, and – surprisingly – Macy’s.

    Unless you are putting this in a food, drink, and shoe free room, and have no pets, it’s going to need recovering in 8-10 years.

    I am now buying cheaper sofas rather than the hardwood framed, hand tied springs and down cushions, because the lines of the piece will be out of style in 10 years when it needs reupholstering, and I will want something new.

    If you are picking something timeless and think you can find someone to reupholster it, go for the gold standard.

    We have a lot of great but non-upholstered furniture from American Drew, which we bought through Raymour and Flanigan and a few local outlets.

  76. Fred, I just logged on to see if you wrote about your car! I was planning to get something new this fall, but have heard that Jeep is bringing back the Grand Wagoneer (I heart all things retro) and BMW is coming out with a bigger SUV, both in 2017 (??) so DH thinks I need to hold off to see both of those – any chance there was anything about either at the car show you went to?

  77. @ DD – I love Pottery Barn couches. Most (all?) are made in North Carolina (a hub for good quality furniture manufacturing), and the quality is excellent. Room and Board is also good – based in Boston.

  78. We’re planning to put clear plastic slipcovers on it to protect the fabric. :)

    We want to hardwood frame and such because our current one is having more construction issues than fabric issues.

  79. “Terrible time with Ethan Allen.”

    For couches specifically, or furniture in general?

    I mentioned in a post a while back that DW and I got a set of kitchen furniture from relatives of hers when we bought our first house together. They (well, actually the female spouse) had been wanting a certain Ethan Allen set but couldn’t bear to see their existing furniture, which was in great shape and mostly solid maple, and saw our move as an opportunity. Last I’d heard, they were still really happy with the Ethan Allen set.

    I used to use old Ethan Allen catalogs as references for designing furniture that I’d build.

  80. since I wrote that I went to the gym. On the way I stopped at the local infiniti dealer and test drove the one they have. No pressure, they didn’t even ask for my name beyond Fred.

    Now I really like it, for sure.

  81. Lark, I saw nothing about a new BMW SUV. They had talked about an X7 a couple of years ago then never brought it out. It looks like that’s going to happen, built in South Carolina, sometime later this year. I drove a 5-series (sedan) in Hawaii for a day and it felt cramped to me. Didn’t look at Jeep.

  82. Finn- couch and kitchen table/chairs. Two of the chairs literally broke the first day. And they wouldn’t replace them. The couch didn’t hold up well at all. These purchases were all in the last 10 years. I know their older stuff used to be much better. Some of my older relatives have had dining sets from there that have lasted 35+ years and still look great.

  83. We recently received the Consumer Reports auto issue, and reading the article about safety features has changed the way I look at car purchases and use. I now see buying a new car and driving it for 10+ years as a less practical option, because that means not availing ourselves of new safety features. And turning over a 10+yo car to a freshly licensed kid also seems much less attractive relative to a newer car with many more safety features.

    OTOH, that all would come at a not insignificant cost. Fortunately for us, we’re at the point where we can afford that if we decide that’s a high enough priority.

  84. oops, 4:53 should’ve been, “couldn’t bear to see their existing furniture, which was in great shape and mostly solid maple, go to waste…”

  85. “Two of the chairs literally broke the first day. And they wouldn’t replace them.”

    This sound like a case in which you might’ve been glad to have paid by credit card, especially one that covers that sort of event.

  86. Yeah – My husband fought with them for a while. Not sure if he ever ended up disputing it with Amex. Over a 5 year period, almost every chair has broken and had to be repaired by him. And we aren’t particuarly hard on furniture. My kids’ little Pottery Barn table and chairs has held up so much better and I sit with them on miniature chairs all of the time.

  87. finn,
    so in that case leasing would be the way to go, right? you’d get a new car every 2-3 yrs. At some point you’ll want a teen car so you could just buy out the lease option and know your kid has about the safest car you’re willing to spring for. Is that how you’d approach it?

  88. @DD: our new couch/chair are “Stressless” — ugly space-age look, more than I wanted to pay, but THE most comfy things I’ve ever sat in. The couch before was Natuzzi — also not the prettiest, also more than I had wanted to pay, but I couldn’t pass up the comfort – it held up for @10 yrs until the leather wore through too much on the recliner footrest.

    Hmm, I seem to sense a trend here. Maybe one of these days I’ll buy a pretty couch. . . .

  89. And turning over a 10+yo car to a freshly licensed kid also seems much less attractive relative to a newer car with many more safety features.

    Of course today’s 10 year old cars still have an insane amount of safety features compared to the beaters we drove in HS.

  90. Thanks for the couch recommendations. LfB, we’re all about comfort over looks as well.

  91. I have mostly very old furniture, but I have had good luck with Crate and Barrel for end tables and such, and especially for my sofa, ottoman and easy chair. 16 years and counting, including daily naps from the male retiree and six months of kitten scratching a while back. They don’t look fresh from the showroom, but they look almost new, perk up nicely with a rotation of colorful pillows, and should last us till we downsize, if ever. We also have an electric recliner loveseat and an old big recliner in the media room.

    The problem with the branded home store stuff is that it is made wherever and you are relying on the shop’s reputation for the quality, not on a specific furniture manufacturer.

  92. Our living room furniture is from Crate & Barrel. It’s starting to look a little worn, but it is now 15 years old. The cushions need to be fluffed daily, and there are a couple of snags in places. I think the actual manufacturer of our couch was Lane, but I may be misremembering.

    C&B, Room & Board, Arhaus, and all those mid-range furniture stores use the same NC manufacturers for most of their upholstered furniture. The sales person should be able to tell you who actually makes any piece you are interested in.

    We’ve actually had pretty good luck with Macy’s furniture dept as well. Decent service & sometimes a good sale. But we haven’t bought upholstery there. Maybe our next couch.

    Fred – keep us posted on how you like the car. I hadn’t considered Infiniti for our next car, but I’m gathering info. We are a year or so out from actually buying anything. The Q50 has the right dimensions & features.

  93. BTW – Room & Board is based in the Twin Cities. And they have an outlet there that occasionally has great finds.

    Crate & Barrel has a furniture outlet in the Chicago burbs as well.

    I think most major cities also have a Macy’s warehouse where they sell returns and mis orders & the like. I bought bedroom furniture from one of those a long time ago for a steal.

    These are true outlets. Not the stores with lots of curated stock that are marketed as outlets. A bare bones store attached to the warehouse with whatever they need to get rid of.

  94. “so in that case leasing would be the way to go, right?”

    I hadn’t thought it out that far, and I’m not sure I would’ve thought of a lease, since leases didn’t fit into my previous paradigm. But I can see where that might make sense.

    I was thinking more along the lines of buying a new (or nearly new, if that makes sense again) car, but having the kids drive it because DW and I have enough experience and still have enough reflexes to avoid some of the situations the kids might not.

  95. We bought a couch this year from Joybird. It is a great piece of furniture – depending on the look you are going for. Found them online, got exactly what we expected.

    If you are even a little bit interested, get the free swatches. Ours came with a coupon for 15 or 20% off of the couch. It is really our most loved piece that we have in our house. We get so many compliments on it.

  96. We have furniture from Jordan’s Furniture in Boston, that has held up really well. We don’t have pets though. When we were looking to change our sofa after 10+ years of use, all the sofas we looked at had much less of a solid feel than ours or the only one that did was very expensive. So, we decided to reupholster our set. We are happy with the results. Our furniture is not old or expensive but there was a difference in quality at the same price point.

  97. I like my Crate & Barrel sofas and chairs with washable slipcovers. They’ve held up well for over 15 years, although the family room couch could probably use a new slipcover. They usually have fall sales.

    I’ve also reconsidered my practice of keeping a car for 10+ years. I think the auto-braking feature is becoming standard on most new cars.

  98. I just had a piece of furniture delivered from Room and Board on Friday, and I really like their customer service. I had to replace several pieces of furniture, and a custom table after Hurricane Sandy and they were great to work with during a stressful time.

    I haven’t purchased any sofas through R & B, but we did buy a sofa at the end of last year from American Leather. I know they sell several of their styles through Room and Board. We went with a local store because I was able to sit/see every possible option from American Leather before we purchased.

  99. We have a Crate and Barrel sofa, fairly new, chosen for high weight limit for the largest members of the family. It is great! The previous one we had was also C&B, lasted about 12 years until the large person broke it. Our Pottery Barn dining room table and coffee tables, however, are CRAP, and so are the dining chairs that we got from Jordan’s. Unless the people in the new house leave a ton of their furniture, we will be making a lot of trips to Ikea!

  100. I don’t feel like anyone has actually clicked through to Joybird.com Their stuff is soooo pretty! And outrageously colored!!

    And I will continue my (multi-modality) trolling for positive feedback this morning…

  101. Couch – Stickley. Ours is leather, takes a beating, extremely comfortable.
    Stickley Audi & Co.
    221 E Flatiron Crossing Dr
    Broomfield, CO 80021 US
    phone: 303.467.2777
    website: stickleyaudi.stickleydealer.net

  102. Ada – I love that mid-century look, but I would have to change out other things in our house as well to make it work. They do have really great colors!

  103. @Ada — I do love the colors, but their style is too mid-century for my tastes, sorry! I am with Fred — our DR is the Stickley Mission version of the trestle table, chairs, and sideboard, all in cherry, and that collection is still one of the favorite things I own (the table was a wedding present, the sideboard was one of the earlier things DH made, from pictures). Fred, LOVE that sofa — that is actually the style I have always wanted, but I have now thwarted myself twice with the exceptional comfort of other alternatives.

  104. Hmm, my comment disappeared, so apologize if this is a duplicate. @Ada — I do love the colors, but their style is too mid-century for my tastes, sorry! I am with Fred — our DR is the Stickley Mission version of the trestle table, chairs, and sideboard, all in cherry, and that collection is still one of the favorite things I own (the table was a wedding present, the sideboard was one of the earlier things DH made, from pictures). Fred, LOVE that sofa — that is actually the style I have always wanted, but I have now thwarted myself twice with the exceptional comfort of other alternatives.

  105. Since someone mentioned kid cars, does anyone have any opinions on a Nissan Sentra versus Toyota Corolla for a kid car. It looks like I am in the market for one.

  106. Oh, I see — computer problem yesterday, so the site must have logged me out, though don’t know why that held my post. Sigh. I love technology, really I do. . . .

  107. Laura, ours is actually an L-shaped sectional big enough for any two of us to lay with our heads toward the middle corner and be comfortable. We’ve also got a ton of mission…ours is oak with Fayetteville…in our family room, My desk & chair, morris chair, spindle rocker, stereo cabinet, bookcases. Plus a couple of antique pieces DW inherited from one grandmother.

  108. Our couch is from Macy’s, bought 13 years ago. It has held up great, and it is a miracle the fabric has lasted as long as it has. I’ve noticed when a very heavy visitor visits the couch does seem to show its age. We’ll be in the market for a new couch soon, but i’m waiting for the youngest to age out of smearing her food covered face on furniture. I’ve had bad luck with Macy’s customer service so we’ll probably be looking at Ethan Allen for the next purchase. We have an Ethan Allen table and chairs and had a great experience with them. Over 10 years old and still going strong.

  109. to answer more fully…one kid has a 2011 Nissan, not a sentra. fine so far…only had it 10 months. We’ve had gradually larger Toyotas since 1989 (celica, 4runner, sequoia) though none now. We have had good success with all three, so I’m probably biased toward Toyota.

  110. Looking at Consumer Reports’ review of the Camry Hybrid, one of the “cons” is “everybody has one”. I think I can survive the shame.

  111. RMS, I think powerpoint is the worst thing that ever happened to higher education. It’s made teachers and students lazy.

  112. Cordelia, I’ve been thinking about kid car lately. I’m hoping DS will get his license before this summer, and can then drive himself and his sister (and perhaps the neighbor kids if we can carpool) to summer school.

    As mentioned earlier, I’m now thinking of a newer car for DS, rather than the 10+ year old Camry we’d planned on having him drive, because of the safety feature available now that the old car doesn’t have.

    And more generally, I don’t know that I’d want my kids driving a really small car, although newer Corollas are a lot larger than older ones.

    At at absolute minimum, I want the car my kids drive to have front and side air bags, but preferably also ABS and ESC.

    I wouldn’t want an older model Corolla or Sentra as a kid car. I guess that’s a reflection of my totebagginess.

  113. I wouldn’t want an older model Corolla or Sentra as a kid car. I guess that’s a reflection of my totebagginess.

    Interesting, because those are exactly what I think of as kid cars.

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