I like rules. Not the “Be home by midnight” kind or the “You’re not allowed to go the homecoming party” kind. (What, just because I was 14 and the party, which was in Manhattan, would be dripping with alcohol and pot, and my father, the Assistant Principal, sent letters to all the parents warning them of the dangers of this annual event, just because of these minor factors I had to stay home watching Boy Meets World while my friends were likely hooking up with seniors? It was, like, so unfair.) But I like rules of thumb. Easy maxims I can live by.
It’s hard to follow too many rules at once, and mine are constantly changing. Matt gets a real kick out of my kicks. He’s been known to scream, to no one in particular, “She’s on a new kick!” when I tell him whichever rule is the latest. Like when I gave up caffeine, or declared Slow Cooker Sundays, or vowed to share three good things that happened that day before going to bed each night.
Right now I (am trying to) subscribe to two rules:
1) “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself,” from Michael Pollan’s Food Rules
2) “Never postpone any task that can be completed in less than one minute,” from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project
There are a gagillion books dedicated to the rules of dating, but I’ve been trying to track down some friend-making rules. Guidelines I can adhere to, today, to help me find my BFF. This is where you want to tell me that building relationships is personal and must be handled on a case-by-case basis, I know. But still, I want a roadmap.
The other day I had a wonderful conversation with Shasta Nelson, the founder of GirlfriendCircles.com. It’s a site that sets women up in small groups to meet and hopefully make friends. We talked about how it’s often easy to go on a first friend-date, but the follow-up is tricky. Do I call the next day? Email? How soon is too soon to ask her out again? Can I strike the right balance between friendly and needy? It’s like I got married and was then promptly thrown back in the dating pool.
Before she started the site, Shasta was a life coach. She told me that she’s found—anecdotally, not scientifically—that women need to see each other twice a month for three months before they consider each other friends. This is a rule I can get on board with.
There’s no one in Chicago I’ve seen that often other than family, Matt and coworkers (probably why I’m sitting here typing this up instead of watching Project Runway with my Chitown BFF. Duh). My book clubs are once a month, which seems pretty often. But it makes sense that I’d need to up that if I want to take a friendship to the next level. So I’m adding this to the rulebook. Now, when I meet someone promising, I’ll hear Shasta in my head and make the effort to get a second date on the books within 30 days. Love it.
Do you think Shasta’s rule has merit? Are there any friendship rules you live by? Or any rules you live by at all (I’m always looking to add to my collection)? Or is life about going with the flow and I just need to lighten up?
A quick housekeeping note: I was lucky enough to write two blog guest posts this month. The first, at The Friendship Blog, introduces my search…and has a photo! The second, at Embracing the Detour, is about choosing to move to Chicago when my career dreams were in New York. The blogmaster over there said of this blog, “It’s fun, it’s witty, it’s heartfelt. A trifecta of bloggy awesomeness.” This makes me want to marry her. Thanks so much to Irene and Lauren for hosting me.