Over the past year and a half I’ve made a lot of new friends. This we already know. When you launch a friend search in the manner that I did—picking up friends wherever you can find them (that makes it sound like my friends were yesterday’s garbage, left on the curb in case someone needed a used beat-up sofa. I assure you it wasn’t like that)—you’ll likely end up with a lovely hodgepodge. My new friends are an eclectic mix of ladies (and two men!) who I connected with at book club and improv, through set ups and blind emails. This is all great, of course. I know I shouldn’t complain. I wanted friends and I got them.
While recognizing how thrilled I am to have so many friends, I just have to say this: I miss having a group.
I won’t say clique, as I know it has horrible connotations that make us all think of Regina George. Or maybe Heathers, depending on your pop culture decade of choice. But back when I lived in New York, my friends were more or less all friends with each other. There was the college gang and the high school gang, and those groups intermingled and there was plenty of crossover. It made making plans pretty easy. More often than not some combination of people from those groups would end up together at dinner or a bar or a friend’s apartment.
In my new life, I have a bunch of different friends. Some have formed small friend groups themselves, like my cooking club or coworkers. Others are one-off friendships and the only time I see those friends are when we make specific plans to meet at this restaurant on this day at this time. There’s never an easy way to organize a group event, because so few of my new friends are friends with each other.
I really really like all my new potential BFFs. There are none that I secretly wish I could kick to the curb or let the friendship fizzle away. But I just wish there was a way to see everyone at once. To email “the gang” and say “Let’s all go to Webster Wine Bar tonight!” I want my own McSorley’s. My own Max. My own Peach Pit!
But here’s the thing: I’m not even sure “the gang” is something that exists in real adult life? It might be a myth ingrained in me by the likes of Brenda, Kelly and Donna. Or, perhaps it exists for people who still live in the city where they grew up? Or where all their college friends are? The friend-groups I know in Chicago are always made up of either high school friends or college friends.
I know I’m lucky to have made this collection of pals all over my new hometown. But when I watch my favorite flock comedies or try to make plans on a Saturday night and want to see a lot of people at once, I do wish I had a crew of my own.
Do you have a group of friends? Or do friend-groups, the kind you can go out with on a Saturday night, inevitably disintegrate as you get older? Because people move away, have kids, and make more friends outside the group? Are cliques limited to high school and college?