As the year comes to a close, I’m going to take a moment to wax on a bit about friendship. Call me a mush. Or just tipsy.
- How do you make friends so easily? (so many!)
- You guys drink more than you used to – when did that happen? (Dad)
- How is it moving around so much? I can’t imagine leaving my friends. (Samantha)
- Your phone is always going off, you have so many friends here! (Husband)
Those are just a few of the questions/comments I have fielded in the last several months. In truth, I’ve had this sort of conversation more than once over my many moves. Having lived in 10 states, I guess you could say I’m good at this ‘whole make new friends but keep the old’ bit.
In just over a year since our latest move, we’ve made countless connections! I can’t even say it’s from having kids! We met most of our friends through other avenues. It’s kind of mind-blowing, really – we haven’t even tried terribly hard.
Obviously, my absolute favorite is the comment from Dad – but, bourbon really has paved the way to connecting with new people! PPC and Whiskey Club certainly solidified our relationship with the beloved Uncle Chris. Seriously. Getting into bourbon opened a whole new way to find common interests when meeting people.
If folks aren’t bewildered that the little Indian gal before them is a bourbon fan, they are thrilled or impressed. Suddenly it’s not just having kids or liking the same sports team (and with how much we’ve moved, that almost never happens). Now we can skip the standard small talk and get right into cocktails and favorite whiskeys.
Now that I think about it, I suppose grabbing drinks has been my making friends M.O. for years. I started graduate school three weeks after moving across country. The only person I knew was the Husband. Well he was just the boyfriend then, but whatever. To meet people, I started a Friday Happy Hour. At first it was just the 2-3 classmates I met at my first class, but after a few months, people I hardly knew would come up to me in class to ask when the next HH would be. A decade and three moves later, I’m pleased to say I’m still in touch with a number of these friends.
There’s no real secret to it – I think a key component is the utter willingness to talk to people. It’s so easy! I can’t think of a single time when the other person refused to chat. At worst, you don’t have anything to say to them and you move on. But, usually you can have a pleasant conversation or occasionally you meet a forever friend.
You probably know by now how Gina and I met – I received one of her amazing necklaces and I liked it so much, I ended up hunting her down online! Maybe a little stalker-y, but I certainly don’t regret it. I get an incredible friend and an ever-growing jewelry collection!
Uncle Chris started out as the neighbor who texted to say the garage is open, and evolved into family – double dates, shared holidays, and of course PPC. Aunt G was and still is my mom role-model and she’s always game for a dirty martini. LP and I started as work wives and ended up bourbon buddies. EP and I bonded over ridiculous movies as he helped me get over a bad breakup.
Here in our new home town, Amanda and I bonded instantly when we were asking similarly intense safety questions at preschool orientation. Samantha started as my dance mom friend, but we share a fondness for art and photography and I feel like we are just good together. And that’s just a couple stories – if I told you them all, we’d be reading for a month!
Naturally, the moving away part is a bit trickier. I have been fortunate in my life to say at least a couple of friends from each of my moves have remained in my life in some form or another. In this one way I do appreciate the Facebook. With it, Twinnie and I reconnected with childhood friends while sitting bored at a family function. And with every move I discover kids from grade school who are suddenly in the same region as me.
One of my many moves as a kid meant leaving my best friend – she headed to the Chicago suburbs while I headed to Central New York. We spent the rest of our school years sending letters back and forth – I wish I could show you the incredible handmade envelopes she created for each letter out of old magazine covers. Yes, we stay in touch online now, but it’s not the same!
Maintaining these long distance friendships doesn’t happen magically – you have to put in actual effort. Some of the friendships ebb and flow, but if you recall Squish Conference and reuniting with my first grown up girlfriend, the friendships that are meant to be pick up as if no time at all has passed. Johnny hasn’t lived in the US in, what, a decade? But we still keep in touch via FB and we’re always part of the itinerary when he organizes his U.S. tours every few years.
Even though it’s now easier to know what’s going in our friends’ lives online, in a way it makes us all more distant. We know what everyone’s up to without trying! We don’t even have to talk ever. And that sucks! After too many years of not feeling connected to my oldest and dearest friends, I started sticking reminders in my Google calendar to call at least one of my besties every month.
The best part, when you try, they try too. Carlton calls when he’s in between his dad duties, and we got to go day-drinking with EP and the Captain in Chicago a few months ago. Hell, Gina even dragged her family to a strawberry festival while we lived in a hotel just so we could hang out right after our move.
But here’s the thing, now we have lots of places to visit and we’ll have a place to stay!