This post can also be seen on Huffington Post.
Meeting friends: was it always like dating?
A few weeks ago, I was cyberstalking a local yoga studio’s Instagram page. I plan on going to yoga teacher training there in March (assuming I’m accepted), and I spotted a post about the current teacher training program going on. I get excited about this sort of thing because it’s basically a glimpse into my future, and when I spotted a comment below the caption from a girl named Leah talking about how she was excited to train next spring (the same class I will be in! what a coincidence!), I basically mapped out our friendship in my head.
Sort of like a crazy girl on a first date.
Coming on too strong like my husband always accuses me of doing, I requested to follow her private account and sent her a message something along the lines of, “Do you want to go to yoga teacher training? Because I want to go to yoga teacher training. Did we just become best friends?”
And the rest is history.
All jokes aside, she responded to me when she saw the message a couple weeks later, we started chatting, and we exchanged all the necessary first friendship date questions–how long have you been in the area? do you have any kids? what are your hobbies? are you a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, a work-from-home mom? what do you do in your spare time? have you been tested?
Kidding about that last one, but not about the rest.
Dom and I have joked for years that meeting friends in adulthood is much like dating, and it’s even worse when you’re married. You have to find out if they are married too, and will your spouses like each other? What if my husband is a car person and your husband is a sports person? What if our kids don’t get along? What if there is a huge age gap between them and there’s no reasonable way we can hang out? What if there’s a huge age gap between us and it makes things weird? What if I like yoga and sarcasm and wine and eating until I can’t feel my face…and you just…don’t?
Fortunately for my and Leah’s friendship, we have a lot in common–even more than most of the friends I’ve known for years–but not all potential friendships are so lucky.
Since moving to Fort Bragg, we’ve met so many new people, some who will probably be lifelong friends and others who definitely won’t. But after so many years and so many friendships, Dom and I often wonder what will come of them. Who are our friends of convenience and who are we friends with because of all the amazing things we have in common? Which friends lift us up? Who do we hang on to simply because it’s comfortable or because it’s easy or because we have so much history?
A lot of these questions remind me a lot of past relationships and remind me exactly why I’m so happy to not be a part of the millennial dating pool. Why I’m so glad Tinder isn’t part of my relationship forecast. They also remind me a lot of my friend Anamarie, with whom I’ve been friends for years, but neither Dom or I ever actually met her husband until they visited us last July while we were both pregnant and probably extra annoying/demanding of food and attention. Dom was SO nervous for them to visit, probably because he thought Kevin would suck and it would make for a long trip. Plus, the only things they knew about each other were through the two of us. Anamarie and I are incredibly close and have been for years now, but it all goes back to friendship dating–if we are close and our husbands hated each other, how would this affect our friendship?
Thankfully, everyone got along swimmingly, even when we needed chicken nuggets at 10:30pm and the guys had to do a McDonald’s run, but it could’ve been a really awkward, really long weekend.
But with local and new friends, it’s all about those first questions. That first encounter. Your first “friendship date” and whether or not it goes well. Will there be a second date? A third? Where do you meet new friends? What do you do for your first outing? There may be even more factors than in a regular relationship, simply because there are more players. In addition to the two of you getting along, your kids and partners also have to get along, and your schedules have to be organized enough to make time for each other in the first place.
Much like regular dating, which I fortunately haven’t done in years, it’s exhausting.
But thankfully, like a good outcome of a good relationship, it’s worth it meeting friends and ending up with a family away from family–especially one you’ve vetted well and know will hang around.
Or maybe I should just join Bumble’s BFF and have the work done for me.