A few weeks ago a young couple moved into the area and started attending our church. Last night, we had them over for dinner and they mentioned that in the three weeks they’d been to our ward, multiple people had told them, “You definitely need to meet Bart and Janssen. They don’t have any kids either.” We joked last night with them that, with something like that in common, how could we not be terrific friends?
Fortunately, we turned out to have many more things in common with them than just the no children thing, and it was a lovely evening. I think we’ll be good friends.
And yet, it is so funny that to many many of the people we know, our lack of children is our defining characteristic.
When we lived in Utah, all of our friends were childless; it was kind of a shock to move here and be basically the only people without children. We had to adjust our social strategies and it’s worked out beautifully.
We call up our friends who have children and invite ourselves over (people laugh when we tell them this, but we’re totally serious). They put their kids to bed and we stay up laughing, watching movies, playing games, and generally enjoying it. We babysit for other people’s kids on occasion, we go to visit them and their new babies in the hospital, and we go camping. Sometimes we go out to dinner or to a movie. Our friendships are richer and livelier because of our friends’ children, not despite them.
Someday we’ll have kids too, and I hope that people who don’t have kids don’t feel like we are too different to be friends or that our kids make it impossible for us to hang out with them.
On the other hand, it was really really nice to be able to have someone come over to our house for a change last night.