Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: Babies Everywhere

Every week, Danny Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: babies everywhere.

Nicole: So, I think the LW is facing a very common shift that occurs at this time in most people’s lives whether or not they have kids: people start going out less as they get older. And unless you start Logan’s Running your friend group, swapping out a new set every few years, it seems like doing some expectation management is a good call. If I were them, I would look into meeting people at activity-based stuff. Like hiking groups and pottery classes or theremin circles or whatever interests them.

Danny: what were your feelings about other people’s kids before you started having kids? Were you ever kind of on the fence?

Nicole: I had very little interest in them, and honestly I still only care about other people’s kids when they are extremely close friends and family. But also, when what you’re seeing is your friends going through those exceptionally work and time intensive first few years, it seems awful and endless. Just keep checking in, keep making invitations, and it really does change as people begin to get out of that early haze. It’s also fine to suggest adult-only stuff, as long as you are fine with hearing “no thanks!”

Danny: yeah! i truly do have a somewhat naïve hope that people with no children and people with some children can maintain meaningful and robust friendships.

Nicole: They absolutely can. Seasons in life!

Danny: and while i think the LW can definitely also look for non-child-having friends, they shouldn’t ditch everyone they know who has kids.

ugh, i want a mellifluous-sounding neutral phrase for “no kids” that’s neither childless nor child-free!

Nicole: AGREED


Danny: but definitely the worst-case scenario would be to ditch all your friends with kids now

only to have kids in a few years

and find yourself ditched by your childless friends in turn

Nicole: Quite!

Danny: so: feel free to make adults-only invites, be ready to hear no to them sometimes, if these friendships mean a lot to you try to meet your friends halfway, kids do change your life a lot, not just a little, hunt down some new child-free friends in addition to keeping the old ones