Socializing was so much easier when all of our friends were single and embarking on a life without parental supervision. We were all on the same level with mostly similar goals—find a rewarding job, fall in love, start a family. But as soon as someone in the core group makes the decision to not have children, they are slowly ostracized from the circle. When friends begin to pair off and procreate, their focus and goals change. Their topics of conversation shift from Mr. Spock to Dr. Spock, Bergman to Barney, and world politics to whirled peas. A simple night out with parents involves babysitter wrangling or they want to bring the kids to your dinner party. Even if the kids are at home in body, they’ll certainly remain in spirit as your parent friends prattle on about academic achievements, the latest health epidemic in school, or a hilarious anecdote involving the child and inappropriate expulsion of bodily fluid. When the conversation moves away from their children, they want to know when we’ll be joining the ranks of parenthood.
Finding new, childfree friends can be a challenge. Breeders have numerous opportunities to meet other breeders—sporting events, recitals, PTA meetings, playgrounds, child-friendly dining establishments, the mall and so forth. Anywhere children go, just look for the corner full of exhausted parents keeping wary watch over their bouncing bundles. If your interests extend beyond diapers and daycare, social opportunities shrink drastically.
The problem we face is finding a group of friends with similar intellectual interests as well as similar views on procreation. Singles- or couples-only groups do not preclude the existence of children in the members’ lives. Trying to meet other childfree people through work or family opens up giant cans of worms if co-workers or family members don’t share or understand your lifestyle. So, the internet seems like a great place to start in the search for new social opportunities. Through dedicated forums and online meetup groups, you have the ability to converse with childfree people around the world or in your own neighbourhood. Social groups like No Kidding have chapters in different cities and set up regular meetings and outings.
If you’re not quite ready to break bread with babyless buddies but still need to feel less like a social outcast, you can dust off your old avatars and join a childfree discussion forum. There are also several blogs dedicated to the pros and cons of procreation and being childfree. Forums and blogs allow us to vent about the more annoying encounters with parents and their spawn while confirming our choices to stay childfree.
Making connections with other childfree people, even if it’s only virtual, can ease some of the pain and awkwardness of being the only childfree person or couple in your circle of friends. Finding new friends doesn’t mean giving up the old friends. Even with dramatic differences in lifestyle, try to remember the best qualities of your parental pals and try to forgive them for choosing Magic Kingdom over Monte Carlo.