I love the show Sex and the City. I watched it when we first got cable, then watched it in re-runs when we no longer paid for premium channels. I saw the movies. Yes, there were two, and no, don’t waste your time on the second one (though I do read all the tabloid stories when there is a mere hint of a third!)
What is the lure? Is it the sex? The fashion? The romance? Those things are all nice, sometimes. Some of it is downright gross, (Both the sex and the fashion!) but the best part is Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda as a foursome. They are friendship magic. They are all different personalities yet their friendship is vital and it is the the strongest relationship on the show. Spoiler alert: The best part of the first movie is when Charlotte attacks Big. She loves her friend so much…Charlotte! Sweet, kind, ladylike, Charlotte, hits Big! Now that is true love and I swoon every time I see it. Friendships like that change your life.
I don’t want you to think I am envious or harboring any weird fixations. Like most people, I have met my fair share of folks. Between my own school years, professional life, my kids’ school life, and just day-to-day interactions, I have managed to meet many people. I think many people would consider me friendly enough but my desire to establish deep, abiding friendships is in direct contrast with the introvert screaming in my head to let me run home and get on my couch with a book.
All those situations where it is required that I make small talk and get to know all the inconsequential BS we tell each other when we are first meeting new people is my version of hell. I really do have to practice conversation starters in advance. And I have to physically restrain myself from looking at my watch thirty seven times while we share this nonsense.
Nevertheless, here is the thing, sometimes I meet someone and there is a click or a glimmer that makes it far easier to bear the chitter chatter. Maybe it is a book we both read and liked. Maybe it is watching you deal with a kid melting down and sharing a quick, commiserating laugh. Maybe it is just a general warmth I feel that makes me think, “I could spend more time with you.”
These instances do not prevent me from scurrying out of the awkward let’s-make-small-talk-situation as fast as I can but I may look for you at the next PTO meeting or sporting event. If I find you, I may actually seek you out to say hi. Test the waters…it could have been a fluke last time. But, maybe, we do in fact hit it off a second time. If the groove is still humming, I will ask about grabbing a coffee or arranging a play date for the kids so we can chat a little longer.
Sometimes it turns out you are a nice person but not my kind of person. I am okay with eventually drifting to the mutual wave relationship: polite but distant. However, if we make it past that point, there is shared confidences, and we get to know each other in an authentic fashion then hello, I turn into a human burr. What I mean is I think that generally, I am pretty prickly, but if you get past my natural defenses, I am keeping you.
I have a handful of girlfriends that I have kept through the years. My oldest friend from childhood, her parents and my parents were friends in high school. We were born two months apart. Our stories intersect repeatedly over our lives and I know they will continue to do so for our entire lives. I have one friend from junior high and one from high school that I still see and talk with regularly and frequently; our kids are friends and they are practically family. Three of my college roommates, they are the sisters I chose and while we are busy and time gets away from us, we pick up just where we left off, as though we simply left the room to refill our tea cup (or wineglass as the case may be). One friend married one of my husband’s best friends, which makes me like him even more and I already loved him a lot. There are two I met from my professional life who encourage me constantly and if I don’t see them my inspiration level drops. There are the three I met because of our children and raising children with these women keeps me sane.
Yes, I am lucky. I don’t say it to brag, I say it because life is short and we should all have someone in our corner and I genuinely count these women as my blessings. They each have different things about them that make me cherish the time with them. My one friend is brilliant, she reads voraciously, conversation with her is illuminating and endlessly fascinating. I have another who is so ballsy; she takes charge of the situation and takes no prisoners in just about any situation, from ordering coffee to dealing with other people in lines – don’t even think about messing with her. I have another who is an earth momma and so calm, she makes me relax just being near her. I love them all. I am a better person because of them.
We don’t necessarily talk about sex the way Carrie and company do, we definitely don’t wear shoes the way they do, but I know that these women would come to my rescue and I would for them. They have sat with me when my heart has been broken; they have raised many glasses with me, and yes, held my hair while I “regretted” some of those drinks. They have stood beside me as I took the greatest vow of my life; they have welcomed my children and have helped me embrace both the joys and responsibilities of these events. We compare notes, share recipes, and read each other’s LinkedIn articles. There are no calls too early or too late; there are hardly any boundaries we haven’t crossed in some way between the births and deaths that we have shared with each other. They are my people; they accept me, and I have stuck myself to them; prickers and all.