DEAR HARRIETTE: All my friends are having babies these days. A few years ago, most of them were getting married. I feel like I am in a time warp. I am stuck somewhere different from my closest friends, and I am lonely. Don’t get me wrong -- I am happy for them, but it seems like we are growing further apart.
I don’t have a boyfriend, let alone a husband. There is no baby on the way, either. I suppose I’m not a traditional girl, but my friends kind of are. Does this mean it’s time for me to get new friends? How do I stay close to my oldest friends and find a comfortable place for myself? -- Left Behind, Philadelphia
DEAR LEFT BEHIND: There is no right answer here. You should stay close to your friends to the extent that you are comfortable. As “auntie,” you can grow close to them and be of help if you choose to baby-sit when the parents want to get away.
Beyond the friends with babies, though, you do have to expand your friend base. You need people who share your life experiences so that you can feel fulfilled and not inadequate because your life choices have been different from theirs. Do you have a hobby? Pursue one that involves other people, like salsa dancing, drawing, museum hopping or bowling. Think of something that interests you and explore. By doing so, you will naturally meet other people. In time, you should be able to include one or two others into your social circle, which should help to ease any discomfort that you may have in your core group.