When you’re a kid, making friends is pretty easy. From school, sports, and your mom setting up play dates for you, friends were always just kind of there for me, falling in my lap, so I never even thought about how to make friends. They were always present. Those friends carry through to middle school, then you drop and gain some along the way to high school, but still, making new friends may have been somewhat intimidating when first learning the dynamics of a new school, but it was never a question or challenge.
So how does such a natural, often thoughtless, process become such a struggle as an adult? Whether you moved after college, are starting a new job, or are looking for those lifetime adult friends you always see on TV shows, you might have felt it’s not as easy to make meaningful connections after college. How do you break through the dull pleasantries of, ‘Can you believe it’s only Tuesday?;’ ‘Ugh, it’s so cold out;’ ‘Is it lunch time yet?’ and into actual life ‘stuff’ that you care about and matters?
Whenever I write or talk about why I kept my last name after marriage, I’m always prepared for the negative flood of comments and opinions, and in fact, I do enjoy it to an extent. I think it’s important to talk about topics with people who don’t necessarily understand or agree with you, because honestly, if we all knew everything and thought exactly the same way, how boring would life be?
As an educator and lover of learning, I embrace these discussions and am always open to hearing different points of views as I understand that my perspective is just that – mine. It’s not right, wrong, better, or worse – it’s just mine.
I often talk (or write) about a memorable quote from a favorite high school teacher: “Different doesn’t mean better or worse, it just means different.” I strive to live and remember this every day, though for some reason when the topic arises of keeping your last name in marriage, many people are unable to respond in the light of this illuminating quote.