Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Dear Women, Grab At Friendship

Dear Women,

Once upon a time, my best friend sat in the cubicle to my left and we saw each other at least five sevenths of every week.  Then she took a different awesome job and the cube to my left became inhabited by a bright intern who slightly resembles Ron Weasley.   Kristin and I went from being automatically thrown in together almost every single day by way of our work to...not.  The short story is that we're still friends.   The longer story is that we floundered around for a few months after her exit and hardly saw each other as she settled into her new job and I fielded various waves of sickness in my household during (of course) tax deadlines. Then we decided that royally sucked, that we each needed the other in our life and we had a serious conversation or two in which we decided we needed to grab at friendship.


You see, at our age we're in that funky in-between when we are actually adults but mostly still feel like kids and wander through most days thinking "when did I grow up and how the heck am I this close to turning 30?"  We're past the points in our youth when friendship or at least social interactions were tossed our way left and right, arranged by other folks with not much effort of our own: school, youth group, college groups...   Now we're solidly in that stage of life when the things being thrown at us are mortgages, grocery trips, car repairs and, in my case, many babies.  Lost in all that hubbub of adult life can be one of the very things that is life giving.

Friendship.

How many women out there are blessed to have even one true, close girl friend?

How many women out there are lonely for that type of friendship?

The type of friendship where one shows up in literal pajamas for movie night after putting her many babies to sleep.

The type of friendship where one barges into the other's unoccupied house and leaves homemade cinnamon rolls in the microwave so the dog won't eat them.

The type of friendship that shares honest advice on life, marriage, and car payments and offers the use of their shower when the other has a busted pipe.

The type of friendship that texts ridiculous things back and forth, making each other stifle laughter for the sake of their appearance as calm, studious CPAs.

The type of friendship that goes about ten days without seeing each other and results in a "I haven't seen you in forever."

I've got that. I love it.  I'm doing it.  And you know how?  I'm grabbing at friendship and Kristin is grabbing right back.  We prioritized ourselves and we're succeeding.   We didn't stop at "We should hang out sometime" which a lot of women say to each other and never act on.  We went past that, all the way to "What should we do this week?" because it has become that normal for us to be in each others' lives.

But Anna, you are both so busy with adult life and you with your babies and how the heck do you do it?  How do you find time for friendship?

I put her on my calendar
I literally put my friend into a repeat-every-two-weeks calendar item called "Have you hung out with Kristin?"  I did.  That may appear super lame and make her sound like a chore, equivalent to trash day or bring-diapers-to-daycare day, but that's not the case.  No.  She is equivalent to Pay Day or Date Night on my calendar (both also bi-weekly).

Weekday lunches
We are both working women who are busy bees, but we still eat lunch.  E'ery single day.  Work day lunch meet ups are a great way that we get together and catch up for a bit, even if it's only a quick 30 minute break when we gobble some Chipotle and say see ya later till next time.

Hang out after kids go to bed
My little kids go to bed at 7:30.  That leaves lightyears of evening left..ok fine...at least two hours...let's be realistic, we are in fact busy, tired adults.  Many an evening have I plopped my children in their beds and left my husband to tend to the quiet house while I fetched or was fetched by Kristin to go grab a drink, or a dessert, or a movie.   Other times I drive myself the two miles to her house for Netflix plus brownies plus sweatpants.  Other times she drives herself to my house for Fixer Upper plus sorting six trash bags of hand-me-down kid clothes.

Low expectations
You can tell we are such socialites and the things we do to hang out are sooooo FABulous.  Baha, yeah right.  Most of our hangouts involve Chipotle, random adult beverages, sugar, and a TV screen.  So fabulous, lemme tell ya.  We keep the bar low.  The point is to hang out and share life together, not win Socialites Of The Year.  (If that were a thing, barf.)

No strict agenda
We mostly fly by the seat of our pants.  Just because I have a calendar reminder every two weeks doesn't mean we hang out on that day every two weeks.  Sometimes it's weekly, sometimes we go a while without seeing each other. Sometimes it's lunch, sometimes it's an evening outing, sometimes we eat too much, sometimes we talk until past our bedtime, and soon we'll go shopping to find me an Adoption Day dress. We're all over the place and don't box ourselves in.

Our husbands support our friendship
Our guys know that this is important to us so they help make room for it on both sides.  Trent keeps kids sometimes, will shoo me out the door, tell me to take my time and even pipe up with "you haven't seen Kristin in a while" if that is indeed the case.

Ladies, this can be done.  Do you have a little baby seed of a friendship that needs some nurturing to really flourish?  Grab at it. Ask your friend to grab right back. Have a super honest conversation with each other and decide to be super grabby.  Be intentional, be purposeful, ask your husband or significant other to help you create space for friendship.  It can be done and you will be so grateful for it.

Go get grabby!

Sincerely,
Anna

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