Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Friendship Squares

Photo Credit:
Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via photopin cc
For my next big birthday (we won’t talk about which number it will be), I always thought it would be super fun to have a huge party. And not just any party. A 90s theme party! We’d play all the awesome 90s music, which would be Snoop, Biggie, Beastie and Green Day heavy. Guests would wear flannel over their flannel, those super high-waisted Rachel Green skirts, and very, very colorful pants. We would spend the night quoting The Fresh Prince of Belair and lamenting the early cancellation of My So Called Life.

Ah. Good times.

It sounds like a fun idea in theory. If I invited all of my friends to the same shin-dig, it would definitely not be the like a party scene from Can’t Hardly Wait. My friends would be factioned off into groups, huddled into their respective corners, only making eye contact with familiar faces.

There would be the “Work Friends from Company A” group and the “Work Friends from Company B” group, and never the two shall meet. There would be the “High School Friends,” the “Friends from College A,” and in her own tiny square would be the one friend I still have from “College B.” Then there would be “Grad School Friends.”

There would be the invaluable “Mommy Friends” I met after Quinn was born, "Grad School Friends," and my “Bloggy Friends.”

All of the sudden this party seems really awkward and complicated and not fun at all, which is why I’ve never actually had a birthday party as an adult. The room would be divided into a grid, each group confining itself to its assigned square, occasionally sending out a scout for beer.

As a feeble attempt to try and mitigate this awkwardness, I would previously identify the best extroverts from each group and ask them to try and infiltrate the other squares. They would be the ones making sure the drinks were flowing and giving people topics to discuss.

The simple solution, one might offer, is to reduce the number of guests to this make-believe party, to just knock out entire squares of people. I agree that would eliminate some of the weird, but it would also eliminate some very important people.

Every person in this complex friendship grid is important to me. Asking me to choose between them would be impossible. 

My High School Friends remind me of where I came from and that so many good times occurred during those rough years.

My friends from College A are a core group of girls I will hold onto forever. No matter how our lives have changed, no matter how much time goes by in between our conversations, I would drop everything and hop on a plane for any one of them.

Transferring to College B when I moved to California was hard. There was no way I could find substitutes for my friends from College A. Plus, I didn’t live on campus, so there were all those shared experiences I wasn’t a part of. But I still keep in close contact with one very dear friend from College B, and she’s not one to stay in a square by herself all night. She would come to the party and have a great time. She might even throw the party because she’s awesome like that.

Work friends are important because they help keep you sane when you’re surrounded by idiots. Soon, shared eye-rolls from across a conference room table turned into lunch dates and Starbucks runs, which turned into drinks after work, which turned into real, true friendships that lasted long after each one moved on professionally. It’s not even accurate to refer to them as work friends anymore.

The Grad School friends are a must because they’re the first group of friends Hubs and I have together, the first group we can say are our friends. 

My Mommy Friends have been my rock for the last 3½ years and are proof that hazing really does work. Our husbands even get along great. The joys and tears of being first time parents have made us inseparable, and it wouldn’t be a party without them.

My Bloggy Friends are proof that online friendships are real friendships whether you actually meet I.R.L. or not. This group of bloggers and I have formed a tribe in which we support and encourage each other as writers, as women, as moms, as professionals, as fellow human beings. I respect the hell outta these ladies, and I am honored to know them.

So yeah, a birthday party with all my friends would be kinda awkward. But this lucky girl would look out at that sea of diverse and loving faces and have one Kick. Ass. Time.

My distinguished tribe-mates all wrote about friendship this week, too! Check out their posts below and share!