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?