There are times when I get so wrapped up in the nitty gritty of this search that I lose sight of what I’m really looking for. I expend so much energy trying to create perfect friendships—or write about them—that I have little opportunity to actually experience them.
It’s like when you’re on a diet and it’s been so long since you’ve eaten a french fry that, while you know you love them, you’ve almost forgotten what they taste like. Until you break down, inhale a handful, and it hits you that, “Wow, this salty goodness is even more delicious than I remember.” (That comparison doesn’t entirely work, but it’s too delicious to delete. And maybe I just gave away entirely too much about my eating habits. )
This weekend I went to New York for my one of my best friends’ engagement party. It was a necessary reminder of why I’m on this quest. When it all started, I wasn’t friend-dating for any of the measurable reasons—physical health benefits, increased energy, financial gain—I was doing it to find, within driving distance, the intangible joy that comes from an hour-long playdate that seems to pass in a single minute. Or the comfort of hanging at a friend’s house that’s as familiar as your own. Or the hilarity of delivering a joke that hardly even makes sense but your friends totally get it, because they get you.
I’ve spent plenty of time talking about searching for friends. This weekend was what I’ve been searching for. To remember why I committed to this crazy project in the first place, here’s the play by play.
2 PM: Arrive at Laguardia 45 minutes late. Sprint through the terminal to a taxi in order to make my 2:45 haircut. (Yes, I schedule hair appointments for when I’m in New York. I trust my favorite salon with my curly mop.)
4:30: Meet BFF at MAC to hang while she gets her party makeup done. Go back to her parents’ house, where I spent most weekends of my teen years, to catch up and get ready for the big night.
7:30: Celebrate Callie’s engagement surrounded by her friends, many of whom, luckily enough, are also my friends. Eat, drink, dance, be merry. Friend heaven.
4 AM: I’m awake later than I’ve been in pretty much forever. Continually fall asleep in the cab on the way back to my brother’s apartment. Go to sleep plenty satisfied that I got to see 7 of my closest/oldest friends in one place.
12 PM: Wake up. I know! It’s like I’m in high school. The last time I woke up at noon was even further back into forever than when I stayed up ‘till 4.
1:30: Walk five blocks to my old roommate’s new apartment to be hungover and eat Pad Thai with her and her fiance. Feels very much like countless Saturday mornings of yesteryear.
3:30: Head across town to see an old high school friend and meet her new baby. Said friend wasn’t able to make last night’s party because of said baby, so I recap the affair while she recaps motherhood. Scary.
8:30: Mexican food with two of my best friends from college. Much girl-talk about boys, marriage, rings, careers, family… all the important stuff.
12:30 AM: Back home. Full day. I’m all friended out.
The weekend was sort of a Friend Intensive. Friendship Bootcamp. You come out of days like that thinking either, “Thank God I only have to do this every few months” or “That’s what I’m talking about!” Surprise! I was the latter. Friend-search is now reinvigorated.
What does your perfect friendy day look like? Have you ever found yourself so busy with other stuff that you forget why friend-time is so fun in the first place? And is friendy a completely unacceptable adjective?