I mean other than remembering birthdays, being generous in your own way, cutting people some slack, being the go-to call when you need bail money or when you have a flat tire and need a ride in the middle of the night, being present is an essential concept for a stronger friendship. This includes post marriage, post cloud-nine boyfriends, and post kids.
But this is not always the case. I know. I’ve been the victim and perpetrator of this phenomenon. But I imagine it all has to do with energy level. You got none. You’re tired, you’re overworked, you’re underpaid and you realized that you have three more gray hairs that week. When this happens you usually get stuck in a rut and consider buying yourself some Nice N’ Easy. This is the time when you’re caught eating chocolate, drinking wine, and listening to the blues, when you should really be going out.
You get an invite to go somewhere, but you would so rather take a nap or watch HBO. You got no energy to put on your make-up or face traffic. You got the no feeling and it has nothing to do with the person who invited you, instead it’s your sleep deprivation status. However, you know you should go because of the once-you-get-there-you’ll enjoy-yourself mentality. The you’ll-feel-like-your-old-self-if-you-go thought process. Well at least for me, there may be others out there that just don’t like you and opt to not see you. But for the most part, there’s always something that keeps you too busy to see your friend.
However I’ve come to realize if they want to see you, they’ll make it happen. If you want to see them, you’ll make it happen. Gretchen Rubin strongly suggest to make it happen because maintaining strong friendships creates a happier existence. So forget the dishes, forget folding the laundry, forget appointments, forget work for a minute. If you don’t forget, you’ll end up going to Claim Jumper’s all by yourself. Table for one. You don’t want to do that … have you seen their portions? They’re for sharing. You need party of two, or three, or four. However many you got, make it happen.
Show up. Not all the time, because stuff happens, but as much as you can. You gotta show up.
“Unless you make consistent efforts your friendships aren’t going to survive.” –Gretchen Rubin.
I’d like to think that I’m a survivor. So I do show up, I like to be present, but sometimes with two kids and no babysitter it can be difficult to plan your escape. But I’ve done it, and I’ve been so grateful because of the effort. But even with kids I’ve managed to go out and hang. People call it “play dates,” but that word totally annoys me. It reminds me of the Mommy & Me Mafia. So we hang.
After reading the friendship chapter in Rubin’s book, I began reaching out in attempt to get closer to some of my friends — helping in my own way, making them laugh, sending emails, and cutting people some slack. I increased my trying to make it happen efforts. And they paid off. Seeing how it was the apocalyptic 12-12-12 just yesterday, I decided I’d take advantage of this awesome day and spend it with some good friends. The old-school friends. The ones that knew me before kids, before marriage, before gray hairs. They knew me back then and they see the same person and that makes me feel energized. My newspaper reporter friends: Sigma and Pat.
Reconnecting was always easy with them, we just needed time. Kids, busy careers, and crazy schedules make it difficult. But Italian food, wine, laughter, and back-in-the-day stories … so good … so good for my Guat soul.
So while the kids got crazy in the back yard with the toys, camping equipment, baseballs, and trampoline we were able to monitor them while simultaneously snacking, drinking, chatting, and laughing.
It was such a good afternoon/night that we were hoping to repeat the process and have it become a regular game night. Such an awesome idea considering that this game night starts around 4:30 afternoon — a time when I’m running low on gasoline and patience — a time when I’ve hit the wall, but I’ve gotta keep going or the kids will kill me. So hanging out with my Sigma and Pat during crunch time on 12-12-12 definitely helped me get through the 4:30 lull in the day. We decided that since game night helped us and our kids, we’d get together again. We’d form a Tag Team. Tag Team … Back again.
- Happiness Project Update 17: BFFs or Just BFs (thewishfactor.wordpress.com)
- Happiness Project Update 15: Getting A Mango Every Now and Then (thewishfactor.wordpress.com)