Friendship, Decaffeinated

I am detoxing.

One of the studios where I practice yoga leads a seasonal wellness cleanse. I’ve always been both intrigued and skeptical of the cleansing practice, but as it turns out this one isn’t so crazy. It’s mostly clean eating—vegetables, fruit, lean protein, nothing with more than five ingredients—and cuts out dairy, gluten, soy and caffeine. Definitely a change to my diet, but no lemon-maple syrup-cayenne pepper elixirs.

I was on the fence about signing up until I learned that there is a hefty community component to the studio-run wellness program. The two weeks are designed around a support system. We come together for three lectures, plus three yoga classes and a movie night. Ample time to find another BFF contender.

And not that this is a diet program (though maybe it should be), but there’s plenty of research that shows weight loss programs are more successful when you have group support. I figure the same must be true of cleanses. Plus, you have no choice but to be a bit vulnerable in these kinds of programs, which can help foster trust and connection.

So yay! Finally, yoga friends. I’ve wanted to meet fellow yogis—and I do have some new chataranga-loving pals—but actual yoga class is a hard place for picking up chicks. Everyone’s all zen and centered. So this community cleanse is the perfect plan.

Except for one thing. Without caffeine, I’m kind of the worst. I’ve had a headache since Saturday afternoon. I’m tired. My brain is fuzzy and jumbled like a static TV. I’m grumpy.

This is no way to make friends.

There are two personal circumstances that I must always have in control when meeting new people: Hunger and energy.

I’m someone who has been known to cry when she is too hungry. Like actual tears. I know, it’s juvenile and obnoxious. I’m not proud. But when I am starving, I lose some rationale. When I start whimpering, Matt and my mother both know there’s only one thing to say: “We need to get you some food.”

Shove some Chipotle in me and I’m good to go.

And when I’m too tired or haven’t allowed myself a caffeinated beverage in two days, then I can’t focus on anything other than the little man hammering inside my head.

Neither are good first impressions to make with PBFFs.

I know that this headache/exhaustion phase will pass, but for now it has me thinking about circumstances in which it is never good to meet new friends. Situations in which you may act out of character and perhaps turn off a promising pal, so instead you cocoon until your crazy-phase passes.

For me it’s hunger and caffeine-deprivation. For others it’s cramp-filled PMS. I know some people from whom, the minute they get overwhelmed at work, I politely step back until they turn back into Dr. Jekyll.

What about you? Are there times in your life when you know you’re in no shape to meet anyone?


Filed under The Search

20 responses to “Friendship, Decaffeinated

  1. Bravo to you … this sounds like an impressive and worthy endeavor to me. I gave up caffeine once, before going to Africa with my husband, because I thought we wouldn’t be able to get it there. After a week of the worst headaches I’ve ever had (plus shakes, etc … it really was bad) we got there and the porters on Kilimanjaro announced brightly that all we had to drink for seven days was … black tea!
    I’ve never given it up since, though coffee’s the worst kind of addiction for me – it doesn’t actually perk me up, I’m just staving off the headache and fuzziness.
    I bet you are through the worst … hope it gets better soon!

  2. Maureen

    I am thoroughly impressed at your commitment to give up caffeine — way to go! If you’ve come this far, you’re more than halfway there.

    I was glad to see this post. It speaks to me loud and clear. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia (caused by chronic Mono). Since 2005 when I was first diagnosed with active Mono, I have been in no shape to meet friends, or to keep up the friendships I had. I have been fortunate to meet online friends … however, my best online friends (BOFs) are in Germany, Australia and the UK. I’m in Pennsylvania. Sigh. Still, I am so thankful for the internet for allowing me some connection!

  3. Ana

    Ha ha! I am the SAME way with hunger. I’ve stormed out on friends who were dithering too long about where to eat for lunch once in college. By the time they found me, I was halfway through a plate of nachos.
    The other one is sleep. Early sleep-deprivation actually makes me wired & fun, but as it drags on I get really really crabby. I was an anti-social witch the first six months of my son’s life. Only now getting better after 3 months of (mostly) sleeping through the night.
    I’ve never given up anything really, except during pregnancy, I guess its good for self-discipline, but my life & sanity already seem to be on the verge of falling apart—I can’t imagine adding anything else to the mix right now!!!

  4. Lorrie Paige

    The only time when I’m not in shape to meet anyone is when I’m in a hurry. When I’m running late during my day’s schedule. I’m TOTALLY focused and myopic on what I need to hurry and do, so although friend-seeking is still on my mind, I’m too busy to do any searching on those days.

    I’m big on the adage of not putting off until tomorrow what you can do today, because when I do put off, then I have a TON of work to do the next day. So friend-seeking must wait if I get behind in things to do.

  5. Jen

    First- I love this blog. I found it a couple of weeks ago and have really enjoyed reading through the archives. Thanks for detailing your friend search. It’s very timely for me as all but one of my close friends now live far away.

    Today’s topic was also quite timely. I’ve been under a ton of grad school-related stress this fall and realized last week that when I’m completely stressed out, I should not be around people. I’m not fit for socialization at that point. I’m tired, highly emotional, and take absolutely everything literally- i.e. teasing that I might laugh at when well-rested makes me teary and paranoid when I’m stressed. The realization makes me a bit sad since I met someone earlier this fall who seemed like a very cool potential friend and I may have killed it by my stress-insanity. Bummer.

  6. Lorrie Paige

    Oh, one more thing: I must disagree with you on Yoga not being a great place to make friends.

    I don’t know about how your or anyone else’s Yoga class is like, but the one I’m in (My first and only Yoga class; I started several weeks ago), is very laid-back and friendly-focused. Instructor and students have fun. We chat a little, joke and laugh a little while doing Yoga.

    At the end of my last Yoga meet, as I walked out, there were two women discussing going to have lunch and which car should they take, because they wanted to go there in one car, so a friendship was already in the making there.

    Also, I’m becoming very friendly with my instructor; she’s been the closest to me getting a genuine friend in about a year. She’s extremely busy right now getting two Yoga places off the ground, needing to fly to LA to produce a Yoga DVD, just having moved and very soon after, her boyfriend moving in last weekend from out-of-town, so I haven’t asked her out yet until she gets a bit settled and have some friend-seeking time, but I will soon.

    I think it depends on what Yoga class you take. Mine is very small and intimate so I’m sure that’s a big factor too.

  7. BEING HUNGRY IS THE WORST. I definitely need some caloric peace before being turned loose in social situations.

  8. Ana, that bit about the nachos was funny!

    Thanks for the honesty and the laughs today, ladies.

    Hunger and exhaustion: deadly combo. That’s when I don’t even want to be around me.

  9. katieleigh

    I also don’t do well if I’m hungry – I either get crabby, or get super quiet because I’m trying not to be crabby. And if I’m exhausted, well, there’s no telling what I’ll say.

    Glad to know it’s not just me. And good luck with your cleanse!

  10. Kelly

    I’ve recently been given a role at work with much more responsibility( 🙂 ). One of the things I was looking forward to in my new job were my new coworkers, I’d met them before so I knew they were really great.

    But with to my new workload I don’t have time to talk to anybody! Also, due to the demands of my new role I am aware that I often sit scowling at my screen as some new email comes in that I don’t have time to deal with/ don’t fully understand…not very friendable!

    • Congrats on the job front! I’m sure that as you get adjusted to the responsibilities your time will free up and you’ll be able to hang with the new coworkers.

  11. Sarah

    I, too, get very crabby when I’m hungry or tired; my husband has learned to recognize the symptoms and preemptively feed me. I really thought I was super bitchy in college until I started getting enough sleep and suddenly I was a much nice person.

    Erratic behavior when hungry can be a sign of Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS). There’s a website with more information and a self-test:

    When I discovered this information, it helped me understand some things about myself and my husband.

  12. Jess

    I get migraine headaches sometimes, to varying degrees. I never know when one will strike or how bad it will end up being, and I hate canceling plans (because I really dislike when someone cancels on me)! So I’ve gotten together with friends when my head is pounding…and sometimes I’m also nauseous (and in one horrible case, I vomited in a restaurant bathroom). Definitely not good for building friendships.

    • Jess

      PS – I think it’s great that you’re doing the cleanse! People don’t often acknowledge that caffeine is a drug, but it really isn’t good for your body in large quantities, and is addictive (as evidenced by the withdrawal symptoms). Hang in there, you’ll feel better soon! 🙂

  13. Alex

    I enjoyed reading this entry with my morning coffee

  14. I am SOO feeling you right now. I am on a “cleanse,” but it’s a little more dramatic… Because of some terrible food allergies, I’m seeing a naturopathic doctor who has me on a similar diet to what you’re describing… only for twelve weeks!!! I would never, ever be able to do it except for the fact that I’m desperate to cure my food allergies. So… no caffeine, alcohol, gluten, dairy, sugar, etc. I have been living on corn tortillas, nuts, almond milk, hummus, meat, and veggies. Wish I had “friends” doing it with me!

  15. I am absolutely the same with hunger. If I get too hungry I will start crying and I get angry at whomever’s around because they aren’t solving my hunger problems. The worst is when it’s too late to do anything about it because there’s no food in the house and no place that provides food is open.

    I’m also terrible to be around when I’m PMSing. I’m not proud about it and I try to fight it but most of the time I irrationally and completely hate even the people I’m already friends with. I will think mean thoughts about them all day because of some perceived thing they did wrong. Even though the logical part of my brain is telling me that once the PMS passes I’ll realize how ridiculous I’m being for that week or so I just hate everybody.

    And talk about conflicting emotions because even while I’m hating everybody and I have no desire to be around them it makes me even madder if I can’t do something with friends because I feel like they’re ignoring me.

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