I’m trying to slide this post in right under the sad October deadline I set for myself when I failed to write a post in September. It’s very hard to motivate myself to write when I could be playing sudoku or re-watching every season of New Girl for the third time.
Let’s talk about friendship.
I’m so good at making friends. Like, really good. Like, I should win an award. I’ve become friends with people I’ve met on train platforms, a stranger I saw struggling to carry a piece of furniture who I offered to help, other nannies at toddler music class (Reminder that I work with children. I don’t just hang out at toddler music classes). Great at making them. But horrible (like SO bad) at keeping them.
Meeting someone new is so much fun. I have all of my best stories ready. I can show them how I can twist my hand around 360 degrees. That’s only impressive the first time. Maybe the second time, tops.
It’s like when you do your first comedy open mic. You have a whole life of material to draw from. And then after that, you have to keep coming up with new material. But I gave away all my best stuff the first night! “I was in a cult” “I once tried to break my hand with a hammer to get out of going to school” “I got MRSA in the desert and couldn’t get it treated for 10 days”. All fascinating stuff.
But then I’m expected to keep the friendship going??? What is this, a movie?
More than just giving away all of my exciting stuff on the first day, I have jealousy issues. The first few months of a friendship, it makes sense that they’re not as close with me as they are with their other friends. Yeah, of course you didn’t ask me to be your Maid of Honor. We just met last weekend. But if we’ve been friends for 9 months and you ask your childhood best friend to be your Maid of Honor instead of me…RUDE! We’ve celebrated one Fourth of July together! Did that mean nothing to you?
Friends tell me not to take things so personally, but that’s the only way to take things. Every interaction is inherently personal. When I don’t get booked on a show and the bookers say “it’s nothing personal”, I laugh. First of all, yes, it definitely is personal. You booked Joe over there, who’s clearly a different person than I am. If it weren’t personal you would just stick your hand in a hat and go with any name you pulled out.
Second of all, by saying a decision isn’t personal, you’re saying that the person you chose wasn’t a personal decision either. Like if you went up to your Maid of Honor and said “Don’t take this to mean anything about our friendship. It’s nothing personal. You just had the most flexible schedule.” Good luck staying friends with them.
I’ve always been jealous of those groups of friends that met in elementary school. The ones who may have moved to different parts of the country, but still get together in their hometown every Thanksgiving. The ones who go on a group vacation once a year to talk about who from their class is divorced now and who is in jail. The closest I’ve come to that is discovering some of my childhood best friends live a few blocks from where I now live, and contacting them to say “Whoa. We’re neighbors. We should get lunch” and then either never speaking to them again, or getting lunch and then never speaking to them again.
I don’t think I’d be a bridesmaid in any of my friends’ weddings. I MIGHT get invited to a wedding if one of my brand new friends gets married in the first year of friendship. After a year though, I’m out.
I’ve warned new friends about this. I’ve flat out said, “We won’t be friends in a year”. Maybe that’s not the best way to open up our first solo hang. Some of them have been quite offended. But I re-assure them, “Oh, it won’t be a me decision. It’ll be a you decision. You won’t want to be my friend in a year.” Definitely setting myself up for failure, the way my ancestors would’ve wanted. Yes, it’s a bit hyperbolic. I’ve had friends for longer than a year. But those friendships aren’t worth writing a blog post about, and it’s October 30th, so I’ve got like 1.5 days to meet my October deadline.
A message to my friends, old and new: Sorry I got jealous that one time. And then that other time. And then the time after that. But I’m working on myself. And I think you’re pretty cool! Let’s get lunch soon.