Friending For My Sanity

After two years of immersing myself in friendship—both in theory and in practice—you’d think nothing could surprise me. Especially something that I preach on this blog all the time.

And yet, whenever I’m stressed or moody, I’m shocked at how quickly I feel like my over-excited self again in the presence of pals. Take last night. I met a new friend (one of the ladies I met during my Year of Friending) for dinner at what I thought was a hole-in-the-wall noodle restaurant. When I found my friend at the bar, I was a bit on edge—I’d gotten nauseous on the start-and-stop cab ride over, I had more work to do when I got home, and the wait for a seat was supposedly 45 minutes.

Twenty-five minutes later we were seated at our table. I actually said, right when we sat down, “I’m so glad we did this. I’m so happy.” Which I think is what a character in a cheesy rom-com says at the end of a date. Oy.

Twenty minutes after that? I’d not only caught up with my friend, but somehow learned the life story of the couple sitting next to us: She lived in Chicago, he just moved to Cleveland for a two-year job training program. They grew up five minutes away from each other in Ohio, but didn’t meet until they each moved to the Windy City. He knows the space where my brother is getting married, she thought the restaurant had the best gyoza she’d ever had (they always order gyoza).

I’m telling you—if you ever want to practice your friending skills, head to a restaurant with communal dining tables. You’re sharing such intimate space with other diners you can’t help but start chatting.

By the end of dinner I was feeling like myself again.

When I finished my one-date-a-week project, I figured I’d slow down. It was a tough schedule to maintain, especially once I had a handful of pals under my belt. But a year later, I don’t feel like myself unless I go on at least one girl-date a week. I get cranky and off-kilter, like a two-year-old who hasn’t taken her daily nap.

So that’s today’s nugget of self-discovery. I’m not myself unless I’ve had one (preferably two) playdates a week. What’s your magic friend-date number?

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5 responses to “Friending For My Sanity

  1. Karen

    I love to hear when people have good friend they can count on. It’s not easy today to find, make & keep good friendships. Enjoy and good for you !

  2. I think mine is probably a minimum of one friend date a week, but sometimes even that is hard to manage. I notice that I need it more during weeks where I don’t get to my office very much, so I’m wondering if maybe not working in a regular office setting anymore is part of the reason why you crave more friend interaction each week than others may (though obviously the year of friending is probably more to blame than anything).

    • You might be right. I don’t think seeing a friend once a week is that much, but I probably do need it more these days because I spend my days in such solitude. That’s a really good point.

  3. Tracy

    Hi Rachel!
    I just found your blog via “The Happiness Project”. Congratulations on the book – I’m about to order it on Amazon. Making friends as an adult can be crazy-hard – and I so know what you mean about the yoga class thing. (I love going to my yoga classes, but striking up a conversation with a stranger in a yoga room can sometimes be more intimidating than a bar scene) I’m looking forward to reading the book and putting suggestions and strategies into practice. Cheers!

    • Thanks, Tracy, for ordering the book and for popping over from The Happiness Project. I so appreciate it. And yes–yoga is the hardest place to meet friends! And yet it always seems like everyone else knows each other. I don’t know what I’m missing….

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