The answer to the title of this post is, of course, have kids!
The thrust of the article (if you can’t be arsed to read the link) is that having kids really shows up the cracks in your relationships with your friends, especially if they are childless.
The point being, the child-free friends don’t get why their friends have a complete life and personality change once they’ve sprogged.
Meanwhile, those couples now weighed down with nappy-changing, bath-times, sleep routines, etc get riled when their childless friends can’t or won’t do what they used to do.
I know I’ve been guilty of putting my kids above my friendships in certain cases, but I’m well aware that in a few years, my daughters won’t want anything to do with ‘boring old dad’, so I may as well enjoy the time I have with them now.
Equally, while I’m not arrogant enough to think that ‘you don’t get it, if you don’t have kids’, there are certain things that are impossible to empathise with if you don’t have a rugrat.
The thing is, everyone takes to parenting differently, and everyone’s children are very different and throw up their own individual set of challenges.
And most of us don’t really change that much – it’s just that there’s another person (at least) to think about when we make decisions about, well, pretty much everything.
Funnily enough, I think it’s possible easier to keep your up with childless friends, if you are in the suburbs and don’t live in London. There’s something about the sprawling metropolis that makes any journey longer than a mile seem like such a schlep.
Anyway, to those childless friends of mine out there, I haven’t totally forgotten about you and I still care. I guess I’m just tired and far less interesting than I used to be!
* Apologies to Toby Young