I was mulling over how to make this post happen when I had a texting conversation with a new friend last week. It seemed like the perfect intro:
- New friend: Let’s do happy hour
- Me: Cool sounds good!
- New friend: Perfect! Do you have a happy hour spot you like going to?
- Me: Not really. I work in Arlington but live in DC so I can really go anywhere. Where are you coming from?
- New friend: I live in Arlington but I’m up for DC!
- Me: No, Arlington is easy for me! What’s your spot?
- New friend: Actually, for HH I usually go to DC, but I’m sure Clarendon or Ballston has something!
- Me: LOL this is very first date-esque, next time we’ll just be like “Hey! Meet you at this place at this time.”
- New friend: Hahahah I know!
Neither of us wanted to make the other uncomfortable. Neither of us wanted to suggest a place that the other would hate. I’m always afraid that I’ll suggest a place, and to be polite she would agree, but would be disappointed in the choice. Or even worse, if the choice was inconvenient! Thankfully, we’re in our late twenties and can just call it out – “Hi, we’re acting like we’re going on a first date. Let’s just pick a place!” By the end of the conversation we had picked a place and a time and agreed that we were both looking forward to “our first date.”
This new friend is part of a group that My Lauren Ann now affectionately calls, “The WAGs” aka The Wives and Girlfriends of the men in my feyonce’s company. He works for an amazing company that encourages close relationships among the staff, which is predominately men (and by predominately, I mean that there are maybe 8 women out of 150 in the office). His company also encourages the same closeness among the significant others. They encourage it by organizing happy hours, sending us all to Mexico, and creating group chats and email chains. I’m slowly working my way into the group. I can focus my attention to why I want to be part of the group for these 2 main reasons: 1) It will only help my feyonce. When we go to HHs and on trips, if I am friendly with the women, he can be off with the guys. He can be forming those relationships that they all need to have in order to be successful in the company and 2) I really like the women I’ve met! It’s nice to be around women my age, who are either newly engaged or newly married, and live in the same environment that I do on a regular basis. Meaning, this company is all-encompassing. We all know what it’s like to have his phone go off 30 times (no joke) during dinner. We all know what it’s like to never know when he’s going to get home. We all know what it’s like to have him come home after 11pm multiple nights in row, and what it’s like to have a feyonce or husband who is unavailable for 6+ hours at a time to talk. We seem to be in similar phases of life and have a lot of common ground. It’s nice getting to know them for who they are and not just who they are married to.
It’s funny because you don’t necessarily think that past a certain age you will be faced with making new friends. Making friends at 26 is easier in some ways, and harder in others, than it was when I was in middle school, high school, or college. It’s easier because I am secure in who I am. My life won’t be over if someone doesn’t like me, which is how you feel when you’re younger. I have a little less #FOMO and a little more, #immadowhatiwant, thanks. I think that type to self-security and confidence is what attracts people to you. It’s cliche but it’s true, you just have to be yourself. Anyone who has survived middle school, high school, and college can sniff out a phony in an instant. A phony doesn’t make friends well past a certain age because basically, ain’t no body got time for dat. The WAGs have not quite seen the entire Sass picture, not because I am hiding her, but because I understand my place at this time. Coming in too strong seems juvenile and creepy, but not opening up enough seems bitchy and standoff-ish. Perfecting the perfect amount of Sass for a new friendship is something I feel pretty good about doing. In time, I will feel comfortable enough to let it all go, and in the meantime, there’s always alcohol 🙂
So ironically enough, it’s a little harder to make friends now for the same reason as it is easier. Sass, what the heck are you talking about? Well in middle school, high school, and college, the easiest way to make friends is to conform. You find out what the group likes, doesn’t like, etc, you adapt, and say that you feel the same way! Conforming gives you instant friends, not best friends or meaningful friends, but you’ve got em! In this case, I’m a little too old for that. I’m also hoping that the relationships do develop into great friends! If my feyonce stays with this company as long as he intends, these could be women that I am around A LOT. So the best case scenario is that I’m around them a lot, and also genuinely have solid friendships with them. In order to do that, I cannot conform. We all have to like each other for who we are.
I don’t mean to over think this (HA!), but I have been thinking about friendship a lot recently. I was telling my feyonce a week or so ago that I feel an insane pressure to see the many friends that I have. I know that may sound obnoxious but, I don’t have one big group of friends, which makes it more difficult. Instead, I have individuals or small groups that don’t really mix. For example, two nights ago I had dinner with 2 women that I have become close with post-college, and we always go to dinner the 3 of us. I have another group that I am seeing later this week to see a movie, because that’s what we always do. I have a friend that I went to high school with and then we both went to school in DC, and now we both live in the same neighborhood. I see her every couple of months for a drink on H Street because that’s what we do. I have another friend that I went to college with and she lives in DC and so we try to see each other too. Maybe we get dinner or go to a work out class, because that’s what we do. And then I have work friends. These are women that I adore, and do not get to see on a regular basis any longer, that I’d like to try to see more. And on top of that, I’m trying to make friends with the WAGs. And on top of that, I’m still trying to get home more often to see my OG Crew in Jersey. It’s a lot. I’m thankful to have these women in my life, but sometimes it means that my calendar is full 4-5 days a week. That doesn’t leave much time for yoga, my feyonce, Bravo, or SassarellaSays.com.
My feyonce asked me once why I don’t combine different groups together and truthfully, some of them knowingly don’t want to to mix. Ultimately though, I know that my conversations with each of them will be more meaningful if it is “just us.” If I mix women who don’t know each other very well, I won’t get to heart of truly what’s new. If someone is, for example, having a relationship crisis, she is not going to tell me about it in front of strangers. Does that make sense? I would rather be a brat and complain that I have too many gatherings on my social calendar than combine groups and have surface level conversations. In time I’m sure they would get to know each other but again, unfortunately, I ain’t got time for dat. I see them once a month, maybe once every couple of months, or maybe only twice a year, and I don’t have time for the pleasantries. I want to know the down and dirty details of their lives so that I can go about the next month, 2 months, or 6 months, knowing that I know what’s really up with them #girlworld
So what is the solution? I’m not willing to change how I get together with these women, with regards to the different groups. So maybe I try to make the outings different – maybe combine my work out with my friend time? Or maybe meet at a coffee house and write while she reads? I don’t know! Believe me, I know that there are worse problems to have, but sometimes I just want to say no to plans, not because I already made them with someone else, and not because I don’t care about the friendship, but because I want to binge watch Bravo and make spaghetti squash at home. I said almost this exact sentence to my mom and she comforted me by saying, “You probably haven’t even met some of your lifelong friends yet. That happens when you have kids.” Which is just great, Mom, so in addition to these groups, I have to have kids and I have to make time for the PTA friends, the mommy blogger friends, and the car pool mom friends? I.can’t.even.
In the meantime, I guess I’m just going to have to be super busy, like super popular, and like really pretty all the time (in my best Mean Girls voice). To all my friends and WAGs, I love you, b!tches #LYLAS #BFF4EAE