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Impact on long-term friendships

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 43,979 CMod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    Larbre34 wrote: »
    Parents of young kids are massive bores. Yes I have some good friends I don't wish to lose, but I'll catch up with them in 10 to 15 years.
    they're not your good friends so.
    we have had plenty of friends who have had young kids. granted, we may have seen them less when their kids were young, but they most certainly did not turn into massive bores when we did meet.

    in 10 to 15 years, when you've shown little interest in them, they will have moved on to people who did show interest in them in the intervening time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ R.D. aka MR.D



    in 10 to 15 years, when you've shown little interest in them, they will have moved on to people who did show interest in them in the intervening time.

    I agree with this but I think this is the issue really. It seems friendships with parents turn one sided if you want to keep the friendship for a long time. I know when my friends have kids they have zero interest in my life or have no ability to be away from the kids.

    I've lost friends that I knew since I was 4 years old. They genuinely were good friends but maybe in their mind I wasn't as they dropped me because I wasn't willing to give, give, give into the friendship.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 118 ✭✭ bunny_mac


    in 10 to 15 years, when you've shown little interest in them, they will have moved on to people who did show interest in them in the intervening time.

    The interest needs to come from both sides though. Why would I keep chasing after someone who shows zero interest in my life? I think you need to make an allowance for the early stages of parenthood when it's all new and overwhelming but if the kid is 3 and conversation still revolves entirely around the kid then eff that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,094 ✭✭✭ The Cool


    In our 30s now and starting to lose friends to parenthood. We had a couple we used to be great friends with, while he was single he spent a lot of time in our house and when they met she and I would hang out lots, we'd go out for dinner, visit lots, call often, we were closely involved in their wedding, the whole shebang. But they haven't been to our house in the 2 years since they had their son and we are now in touch a few times a year. When we do try to organise visiting them, we're given their son's feeding and sleep schedule to work around - we were told before it suits best to come over at 5.30, despite us both working til 6.30 and living a drive away. I don't know if it's totally in my own head but I often feel guilty, or made to feel guilty, that we aren't chasing them enough, when actually every time we've seen them in those 2 years has been off our initiative. I very much feel like the onus is somehow on us to keep up with them since they are so busy with parenting, even though they have our phone number too and know where we live!


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,392 Mod ✭✭✭✭ pinkypinky


    Yes, I realised that I did the running with a couple of particular friendships for years - they had kids by their mid-20s and for a decade I facilitated by going to their houses, etc. Eventually, I stopped trying and got an occasional effort from their side, but haven't now seen them in a couple of years.

    Genealogy Forum Mod



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  • Registered Users Posts: 30,679 ✭✭✭✭ listermint


    I agree with this but I think this is the issue really. It seems friendships with parents turn one sided if you want to keep the friendship for a long time. I know when my friends have kids they have zero interest in my life or have no ability to be away from the kids.

    I've lost friends that I knew since I was 4 years old. They genuinely were good friends but maybe in their mind I wasn't as they dropped me because I wasn't willing to give, give, give into the friendship.

    In many ways there's an innate selfishness in the lack of understanding that they have alot of serious stresses and changes in their life and are basically learning daily. Like a master's concised into a few months.

    If you don't understand that and think it's all one sided... Then perhaps you maybe were not that caring in the first place.

    There has to be some real acknowledgment of the work they are putting in whilst your life has pretty much unchanged. I think if you gave them that consideration for the early years you'd find a stronger future bond. I realise that may even sound one sided. But yes their newborn/s are more important than you in that period.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,220 ✭✭✭ Feisar


    My best friend is child free by choice as is his partner. Or as they put it, "zero interest in wasting our time with kids". I've a young lad coming on two, doesn't effect our friendship.

    First they came for the socialists...



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,314 ✭✭✭ paw patrol


    I have 3 kids.

    But I'm actually in agreement with the non child people here.

    while I don't deny my kids exist and i'm very fond of them they aren't the only thing in my life and I like to talk about other things. Maybe those that bang on about their kids all the time have nothing else...i dunno.

    anyway my long and laboured point is , that not all people (of course they exist I encounter this too ) with kids feel the same. Many of us (my wife too) when they meet friends they want it to be a non kids event and time to relax.

    and a special place in hell for those that camp in the pub with their kids.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ R.D. aka MR.D


    listermint wrote: »
    In many ways there's an innate selfishness in the lack of understanding that they have alot of serious stresses and changes in their life and are basically learning daily. Like a master's concised into a few months.

    If you don't understand that and think it's all one sided... Then perhaps you maybe were not that caring in the first place.

    There has to be some real acknowledgment of the work they are putting in whilst your life has pretty much unchanged. I think if you gave them that consideration for the early years you'd find a stronger future bond. I realise that may even sound one sided. But yes their newborn/s are more important than you in that period.

    I don't think that I'm not caring at all. Your viewpoint sounds very much like the idea that having kids is the most important and difficult thing in the world.

    Other people have challenges in their lives and I would hope friends wouldn't minimise those as unimportant just because they have children. I don't really see how someone having a child they choose to have makes it my responsibility to maintain a relationship where they have no interest or compassion for my challenges.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,220 ✭✭✭ Feisar


    paw patrol wrote: »
    I have 3 kids.

    But I'm actually in agreement with the non child people here.

    while I don't deny my kids exist and i'm very fond of them they aren't the only thing in my life and I like to talk about other things. Maybe those that bang on about their kids all the time have nothing else...i dunno.

    anyway my long and laboured point is , that not all people (of course they exist I encounter this too ) with kids feel the same. Many of us (my wife too) when they meet friends they want it to be a non kids event and time to relax.

    and a special place in hell for those that camp in the pub with their kids.

    I used to be a barman. To the dolls in spending the childrens allowance on bottles of Bulmers to the lads filling them with fanta while slugging pints, fúck you.

    First they came for the socialists...



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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 30,477 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Faith


    listermint wrote: »
    they have alot of serious stresses and changes in their life and are basically learning daily. Like a master's concised into a few months.
    .

    That's just life, regardless of whether or not you have kids. That's why friendships are reciprocal two-way relationships - it can't be all about the stresses and changes of one party's life to the exclusion of the other person's.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,502 ✭✭✭✭ eviltwin


    I think you cut people a bit of slack when they experience major life changes whether that’s a new child or going back to education or whatever. But moving onto new phases in your life does open up new opportunities to meet people and sometimes you find your friends aren’t really people you want to be around anymore. If someone really wants to maintain your friendship they will, kids is just an excuse but easier than saying I’d rather be around people at my stage in life.


  • Registered Users Posts: 486 ✭✭ B2021M


    I don't think that I'm not caring at all. Your viewpoint sounds very much like the idea that having kids is the most important and difficult thing in the world.

    Other people have challenges in their lives and I would hope friends wouldn't minimise those as unimportant just because they have children. I don't really see how someone having a child they choose to have makes it my responsibility to maintain a relationship where they have no interest or compassion for my challenges.

    I agree. I think having kids gives people a 'card' that their commitments are 'more important'. Society strongly supports this idea too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ R.D. aka MR.D


    eviltwin wrote: »
    I think you cut people a bit of slack when they experience major life changes whether that’s a new child or going back to education or whatever. But moving onto new phases in your life does open up new opportunities to meet people and sometimes you find your friends aren’t really people you want to be around anymore. If someone really wants to maintain your friendship they will, kids is just an excuse but easier than saying I’d rather be around people at my stage in life.

    This is definitely a part of it for sure. There is so little in common once someone has small children.

    Unfortunately, I think I will just continue not to make any new friends until I'm in an age bracket where it is clear the friendships won't be cut short by kids. I mean we all have friends that are circumstance based like work/location etc. but one thing that makes me a little bit sad is that maybe I will never have a good female friend again until I'm much older.

    It's mad, I've had friendships survive all sorts of things like mortgages, international moves, illness etc. but kids seem to be the only insurmountable obstacle. Perhaps it does change a person fundamentally in ways that other life stages don't.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 30,477 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Faith


    This is definitely a part of it for sure. There is so little in common once someone has small children.

    Unfortunately, I think I will just continue not to make any new friends until I'm in an age bracket where it is clear the friendships won't be cut short by kids. I mean we all have friends that are circumstance based like work/location etc. but one thing that makes me a little bit sad is that maybe I will never have a good female friend again until I'm much older.

    It's mad, I've had friendships survive all sorts of things like mortgages, international moves, illness etc. but kids seem to be the only insurmountable obstacle. Perhaps it does change a person fundamentally in ways that other life stages don't.

    I do think it's a bit predictable as to who'll change and who won't, though. We were having a drink in the garden with our friends recently who have a toddler and a newborn. We made the point of offering our services as babysitters any time they needed it, but they pretty much turned us straight down, saying they'd want to be out with us and they'd leave the kids with grandparents or other family. They've always been a hugely sociable couple and I would have always expected that to stay the case.

    On the other hand, other friends have become all about their kids, but looking back, they never had that much occupying their lives before kids, so it was easy for their identities as individuals to just blur into their new identity as parents first and foremost.

    I think it comes down to how people define themselves - do they still see themselves as a complete individual who now is also a parent, or is 'parent' the main defining characteristic for them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,710 ✭✭✭ lrushe


    I have 2 kids but I don't like children in general, I just about tolerate my own two:pac::pac:
    I have one friend who has a child the same age as my youngest who I've found myself avoiding a bit because all she wants to talk about is 6 years olds whereas I'd rather have teeth pulled:rolleyes:
    Going to visit a child free friend is like going for a mini vacation, stimulating conversation, no sticky surfaces and an uninterrupted hot cup of tea....bliss:P


  • Posts: 18,752 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    I found that my friendships with friends who had kids young, not really affected too much. Although I have even gone on hols with one friend and her kids, so I'm probably very close to them anyway.
    I'm now mid 40s & one of my oldest friends is going through treatment with her partner, who will become pregnant. I know my friendship with her will change when a baby comes along and it makes me sad already!


  • Registered Users Posts: 32,347 ✭✭✭✭ o1s1n


    We had some very good childless friends ask us to have a Zoom call with them yesterday, apparently they had 'exciting news'.

    'Oh dear god, they're going to tell us they're having a baby, aren't they?'

    Sure as I called it, excited friends on the other side announcing they're 3 months along already.

    As happy as I am for them, it really can be difficult to feign excitement when you know you've basically for all intents and purposes, lost your friends.

    I know that might sound dramatic, but every single friend I have with children constantly cancels plans last minute and pretty much just vanishes.

    Totally understandable, given the circumstances - just hard not to be disappointed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 784 ✭✭✭ sameoldname


    I wholeheartedly I agree with the above.

    What also kills me is that fact that if you do try and maintain the friendship it's gonna be you doing all the work. You drive to them, at a time that suits them, in a place that suits them, for a duration of time that suits them.

    Now fair enough, that's the nature of the beast but when you get there the conversation is normally crap because they're so sleep deprived that they can barely string a sentence together or else they talk about their kids because that (naturally) is what's on their mind. Then you go home after spending less time chatting than it took to drive there and think to yourself; "Is this really a friendship anymore?" I know it's poor form to say this but there often is a point you get to where meeting them feels more like obligation than fun.

    Now, not all parents are like that and I do have some friends that becoming a parent didn't really change them from a friendship perspective much at all but that seems to be abnormal in my experience.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,008 ✭✭✭ Sunny Disposition


    lrushe wrote: »
    I have 2 kids but I don't like children in general, I just about tolerate my own two:pac::pac:
    I have one friend who has a child the same age as my youngest who I've found myself avoiding a bit because all she wants to talk about is 6 years olds whereas I'd rather have teeth pulled:rolleyes:
    Going to visit a child free friend is like going for a mini vacation, stimulating conversation, no sticky surfaces and an uninterrupted hot cup of tea....bliss:P

    I'd agree with this, meeting child free friends is great! Maybe this is more so the case for men, but the chance to stop thinking about minding kids is a great relief.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 30,477 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Faith


    o1s1n wrote: »
    We had some very good childless friends ask us to have a Zoom call with them yesterday, apparently they had 'exciting news'.

    'Oh dear god, they're going to tell us they're having a baby, aren't they?'

    I feel like this is a permanent fear. We have one particular set of friends where I feel like I'm on tenterhooks waiting for the announcement - expecting it by Christmas tbh.


    Every time, "Another one bites the dust" just goes through my head!


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,520 ✭✭✭✭ Igotadose


    Childless is an offensive term to the childfree. It's *free.* Childless is 'I wanna have kydz and haven't yet.'

    Those who have made the intelligent, caring decision to become childfree, shouldn't be called 'childless.' It's demeaning.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,643 ✭✭✭ R.D. aka MR.D


    Igotadose wrote: »
    Childless is an offensive term to the childfree. It's *free.* Childless is 'I wanna have kydz and haven't yet.'

    Those who have made the intelligent, caring decision to become childfree, shouldn't be called 'childless.' It's demeaning.

    Interesting perspective. I love the term childfree because i feel it really defines me but I have no issue with calling myself childless either. I would, of course, respect anyone's wishes to not be referred to as childless or childfree. But I certainly am not offended and don't feel demeaned by the term childless.

    I definitely feel that when it comes to labelling oneself there isn't a 'right' and a 'wrong'.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,778 Mod ✭✭✭✭ shesty


    I'd agree with this, meeting child free friends is great! Maybe this is more so the case for men, but the chance to stop thinking about minding kids is a great relief.

    Not just men.Women appreciate it too, meeting without kids!I would go so far as to say that when you have a couple of kids and as they get a bit older, most women I know become very good at carving out time for themselves to meet up with friends.Well that has certainly been the case in the last 12 months anyway, just knowing we needed that walk or that coffee alone with a friend for our sanity.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,520 ✭✭✭✭ Igotadose


    Interesting perspective. I love the term childfree because i feel it really defines me but I have no issue with calling myself childless either. I would, of course, respect anyone's wishes to not be referred to as childless or childfree. But I certainly am not offended and don't feel demeaned by the term childless.

    I definitely feel that when it comes to labelling oneself there isn't a 'right' and a 'wrong'.

    To follow on, I know many childfree that refer to parents as "Breeders" or "The Bred." In my experience, they really dislike those labels. But, aren't they just the flipside of 'childless?'


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 43,979 CMod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    was out last night with friends - first time in 15 months probably - and between the six of us (three couples) there, one person was a parent. he was telling us he'd previously been accused of being selfish *for* having had kids, while the women had i think all been told they were selfish for *not* having had kids.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,520 ✭✭✭✭ Igotadose


    was out last night with friends - first time in 15 months probably - and between the six of us (three couples) there, one person was a parent. he was telling us he'd previously been accused of being selfish *for* having had kids, while the women had i think all been told they were selfish for *not* having had kids.

    Pretty much classic, especially if the couple has some professional success/good jobs,house,etc. In my experience, it's 'breeder bingo.' You're selfish/your kids won't have disabilities/you can afford it/who will take care of you when you get old /You'd make a great (mother|father) are classic breeder lines designed to rile you up.

    No one is more entitled than the bred and wants more from everyone else for the simple fact they were fertile at some point. And as always, misery loves company. The Bred are horrible to each other, competing on the basis of how well their offspring are perceived to be doing. They have very few real 'friends,' they don't like being around each others kids that much, heck, lockdown shows up just how much the bred don't want to be around their own breeding products.



    It's worse for women, they get way more bingo than men. "Your girlfriends will get you pregnant faster than your boyfriends" is a good aphorism to remember.

    Best to ignore them and get on with your better lives. It's out an out envy, after all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,970 ✭✭✭✭ DaCor


    In terms of labels, here is where I'd fall

    Childfree - deliberate choice to not have children
    Childless - wanted/wants children but unable for whatever reason, can be used in a demeaning way to refer to childfree

    The bred /breeders - this is just an insult dressed up as a label

    Maybe a separate thread on the topic might be a good idea as it's a topic worth discussing


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 43,979 CMod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    Igotadose wrote: »
    No one is more entitled than the bred and wants more from everyone else for the simple fact they were fertile at some point. And as always, misery loves company. The Bred are horrible to each other, competing on the basis of how well their offspring are perceived to be doing. They have very few real 'friends,' they don't like being around each others kids that much, heck, lockdown shows up just how much the bred don't want to be around their own breeding products.
    jesus, bitter much?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 21,379 ✭✭✭✭ Strumms


    I agree with this but I think this is the issue really. It seems friendships with parents turn one sided if you want to keep the friendship for a long time. I know when my friends have kids they have zero interest in my life or have no ability to be away from the kids.

    I've lost friends that I knew since I was 4 years old. They genuinely were good friends but maybe in their mind I wasn't as they dropped me because I wasn't willing to give, give, give into the friendship.

    This really...

    The parent mate of mine.... if you do get offered a slot in his mega busy life...the date and times changes about twice in advance...

    80% of the evening is spent discussing kids, school issues, their excursions, the hassle with the child minder...

    Also.. “ Jesus, it’s like being in heaven being able to do this “.. is said about 3 times over the night... why not just have the second Friday / Saturday of every month as a night to meet friends ...720 hours in a month give or take, spending 4/5 hours of that with friends, relaxing and having a laugh and being human as opposed to this ‘parent brain’ constant mentality, can’t be healthy.

    taking 4 hours out of your 720 hour month for yourself and friends should not be difficult.


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